A Haunting

I’m on some beach in San Diego no more than 30 feet from the edge of the tide. This place is like an old friend I’ve forgotten and nearly abandoned in memory. I used to visit the beach what felt like every other week when I was in college, and I can almost see the ghost of my former self, freer, happier and of course, thinner. Back before life dumped all its restraining expectations of work and eventual marriage/parenthood on my shoulders.

I think I was the purest form of myself back then. My life in the past few years has pressured me into a different form, and malleable for fear of everyone’s perceptions, I allowed it. Now I’m this person who regrets waking up each morning because it’s like I’m barely existing, or rather, dying. There’s a huge difference between that and living.

Luckily for me, this weekend I was jolted out of my shitty dying routine for my friend’s bachelorette partay. Don’t get my wrong, there was plenty of dying here too, mostly from far too much alcohol that led to a 2 am beach visit, a lost Nike tennis shoe, the most vicious hangover and altogether amazing times. Don’t worry, we found the shoe two days later.

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I’m so grateful for this weekend that I felt compelled to write about it with my ass still on the sand. I’m scared to leave here. I might never feel this happy and free again.

Yet for some reason, the world tugs at my back, beckoning me into the mundane. The shitty boss, the dishes, the messy ass apartment I’ve created by constantly buying things to try and fill some weird, ever-present void and to satisfy this internal hunger for more than just dying every day.

Have we all become so taken by everyday life that we allow it to consume us? That we let it haunt us in our most sacred and happy places? That the traffic, crappy job and dirty dishes somehow find power over the beach? That the chance to truly enjoy and live in a fucking awesome moment  is slayed by mentally planning out the shit things you have to do this week.

I don’t normally give advice in this book because I truly don’t believe I have answers to anything. But if you can relate to even one sentence in this monologue, promise me that at any chance, you will do something for yourself that truly makes you happy. Not your spouse, not your kids, not your family or friends, and certainly not for the shitty boss. Do it for you. Be abundantly selfish for an hour or even for a full day if you can.

So much of our lives are spent being someone that other people need, a great employee, great spouse, parent or friend. While this adds to the complexity of who we are, a weird thing happens. Bit by bit we lose tiny pieces of who we are. It happens so subtly that we either don’t notice it or we convince ourselves that it’s for the better because we are who someone near and dear to us needs us to be.

You can’t be everything to everyone. Hat hair is ugly. Remember to save a little bit of yourself for you. If you’re not sure who that is, or if you’ve forgotten, go find it. Happy ghost hunting.

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