2023 started as hopeful. Like every turn of a new calendar year, it ushered in a spark of hope that our normal will be slightly different than the previous 365 days.
Muddling through January into March has shown me that the hopes I have for change feel stagnant, empty. Nothing feels good enough to even try.
My experience is not unique. I know many out there who are knee-deep in the muck of life, just trying to find a 360-degree view where they can pause and truly think about what it is the fuck they are in doing.
Our world does not pause. As The Weepies once wrote, “the world spins madly on”.
We spin and spin until we burn out. Pausing feels like failure in a society built upon productivity, industrialism, and 2-day shipping.
In a society built on “I want it now!”, I have the feeling of “I want out!”
I am exhausted from feeling numb. Replacing one habit with another only to discover this new, “improved” habit is just another form of dissociation. All the meditation in the world cannot stop my busy brain from unearthing more problems, more unresolved trauma and more self-criticism than I can bear.
I know this chapter of my life will assist in my growth as a strange human living on a floating rock, but I can’t help but wonder: Where did the joy go?
I felt more ease to living life before a global pandemic shredded the very fabric of our existence. I felt less fear, less anxiety and less existential dread.
There was such joy in having a Sunday matcha at a local coffee shop with friends. Now, I feel anxiety everywhere I go. The fear-fueled news stories of the pandemic still deeply embedded in my memory.
These times have not been forgotten, but my brain is in overload. It doesn’t know where to begin to even process the events of the last 3 years. So, I take a trip down Dissociation Avenue and just keep walking.
I don’t really know where I am headed but I know I have to keep going. To keep walking until I find the joy that left so long ago.