I was talking to my therapist about the ways I've been moving slowly toward starting an honest-to-god dog-walking business and while I was telling her, I noted the flat, bored tone in my voice and I knew she'd take notice too. And she did.
She wanted to know what it was that was keeping me from feeling excited about it all and I thought and thought and thought. All I could dredge up was "I have no idea".
I tried to think of an example of something I was excited about, that lit me up and I couldn't think of anything at the time. I figured (and so did she) that maybe the dog walking thing just wasn't really what I wanted to do.
She asked me if I liked walking dogs.
She asked me if there was anything I didn't like about it.
I still couldn't access any excitement. For that venture or any other.
And I wondered, what DOES make me really excited? What really lights me up?
My lifelong passion has been animals. They light me up.
I love to sing in a choir.
I can draw and paint and feel very much in "the zone" when I'm doing it.
I love to read.
But as a purpose? A reason for living? True drive and passion for a project of some sort? Nothing feels quite right. Nothing really gets me jumping out of bed in the morning ready to tackle a goal.
Did that die with Dave? Will it come back? Do I just wait around for some sort of inspiration?
Why don't I even know what it is I really want to do?
I feel restless and frustrated.
There isn't much I really want to do.
Except to feel the way I used to, when he was alive. Like I had direction.
I'm not suicidal or even deeply depressed. It's getting easier to be alone, overall. I'm sleeping and eating okay and laugh easily again, despite bouts of grief. I even enjoy quiet nights at home with take out and a movie when I used to dread them. There are many things I'm doing and trying as I learn about myself as a single person. I'm slowly meeting new people and spending time with old friends. I have fun travel plans in the works. I don't feel hopeless, I just feel passionless. Purposeless.
But I think part of it is that I compare too much. I compare myself to people who seem to have satisfying occupations and find myself lacking. I tell myself stories that I'm lacking because I don't trot off to a formal job each day all filled with industry and good work ethic. Or because I'm not going to school to get another degree.
I'm not contributing or busy or industrious enough somehow, and I feel aimless.
There's that story-telling again. The stories I tell myself are almost always wrong or at least misled. I am contributing, it's just not in the way I used to. I used to KILL myself to perform as close to perfectly as I could at my job. Did that make me a better person? Did having that kind of (slightly nutty) drive make me worthy? More worthy than I am now?
I can also understand logically that I'm still healing and that all my energy is going toward that kind of growth so I don't have much left over for a great work ethic and a "go get-em" attitude.
Understanding all of that doesn't completely stop the feelings I've been having though. I still wonder when the hell the purpose will come back and what that purpose will be. I still wonder if my brain will come back online again and if it will always be altered by this trauma. I still wonder if I'll be able to support myself long-term. I still wonder if I'm ever going to feel grounded and certain again.
I know though, that the one certainty is that we can't see around the bend. We can just take the next step we think is right. As I look back on this time, I'm sure I will see how much I grew and how much I actually accomplished and how every little "next right step" took me in the direction I needed to go.
It's just hard to ignore the feeling that I'm missing some integral part of me now. It's like I lost my internal compass and now I'm just aimless, wandering, lost. Again though, the things I tell myself! I'm not "lost".
Lost and wandering are two different things, right? I'm wandering around as I learn about myself, this new self. I'll find my way. I am finding my way, I'm just too close to see the big picture.
So much easier said than felt, though, huh?