…and I’m sayin’ a prayer for all the desperate hearts tonight.
No really, I think it’s amazing how different my life is from how it was 3, 6, 10 (take your pick) years ago, from how I might have guessed it would be, and from the lives of many of my peers. I don’t consider that divergence as inherently good or bad, it’s just a thought that I find compelling.
I forgot if I’ve used the intoxication analogy in this journal before, though I probably have at some point. Anyway, I occasionally compare certain life situations, experiences and emotions to the state of drunkenness. As a gross simplification, booze makes me (and, it seems, many/most people) “feel more”. It heightens mood changes, exaggerates both the highs and the lows. I can think of many times, mostly between 2005-11, when I felt such strength of emotion that it seemed equivalent to deep inebriation.
Conversely, a lot of things about my current situation in life remind me of sobriety. In a literal sense, yes, I’m unimpaired as I write this and probably spend more time stone-cold sober than I did in certain past “lifetimes”. My deeper message, though, is that there’s less emotionality, fewer dramatic highs and lows. One could argue that the past 2.5 years have been one near-continuous low, but one could also make the case for the same era as, if not a high per se, at least a “higher than it could have been”. Perhaps a plateau is the most accurate description.
I’ve certainly been knocked way down off the high horse I rode during several stretches of my twenties, but at least on the good days, I can accept and be grateful for the fact that I’ve even made it to this point. I went through some horribly down periods in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I don’t feel good at all about some of the ways I got myself through the lows. I could have used my reassignment to Clovis as an excuse to go off the handle in any of several ways. However, although my behavior hasn’t been unfailingly above reproach even since then, I mostly took the involuntary “new beginning” as a sign that I needed to respect myself and respect others to a greater degree than I had been. A few years ago, I was reckless and I hurt people. Now, there’s not really anyone I can hurt. There are correspondingly no breathtaking highs, no plummeting lows, no intoxicating illusions. I’m on a nice little plateau…or maybe it’s a flat island. My own little island plateau.