It’s the middle of the night, or rather, the earliest portion of the morning, and here I am, awake for no particular reason. It feels as though it’s not something I can control.
In fact, the entirety of my life right now is colored by that sense—the sense and experience of feeling and being helpless, of having to face whatever comes without any particular input into it or ability to affect it.
There was a time, years ago, when my parents told me that life had become to small for me. That opinion led them to endorse my departure to graduate school.
Now, it feels as though the opposite is true. I’ve been humbled; life has become too large for me. If only I could go back to those days as a young twenty-something during which little was earned but there was little to pay for, there was little to do but little of it really mattered.
I miss the freedom, which I once despised, to wake up in the morning and do nothing in particular, then to meander into the mountains with car and camera to pal around with nature for a while before returning to the city merely to stroll amongst the people and buildings until it was dark, followed by an evening watching and being tittilated by the news on CNN without ever really being impacted by it.
When I was young I felt as though nothing that I did mattered and this frustrated me; I wanted what I did to matter, and I wanted myself to matter. Now older, I feel as though what I do and who I am and become matter far too much and for too many people. I’m tired of the responsibility of mattering. I want to not matter once again.
Youth wasted on the young &c.
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I head into the school year after the coming weekend keenly aware of the ways in which life with my children is changing forever as they now both begin to go off to school, and of the ways in which life is likely in coming years, in a divorced household in an economically insecure society, to become something beyond any recognition to my self today.
Nothing lasts; nothing is durable in our world today. It is all very liquid indeed.
Point being that I am overtaken already by an anticipatory kind of nostaliga and am trying to savor and to feel grateful for the years that my children and I have had together in their early childhoods, particularly this summer, this last summer of early childhood and (why do I feel this?) last summer in which the vestiges of an old life still obtained.
Yes, I have the sense that things can and will change—that the consequences of divorce did not and have not played out just yet. There were stressful times at first, but we have been in a period of calm now for some months. I am constantly beset by the intuition, growing every day, that this has been the calm before the storm. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that I anticipate a raging thunderstorm, necessarily, but more a gentle but insistent rain that comes and stays and dwells with us until everything we have known is eventually washed away and only that which is entirely different, even if verdant and renewed, remains.
The disappearance of the old necessarily follows from and in fact is the arrival of the new, and in our dispensation every moment the new arrives in all its terrible glory.
Much of me would like nothing more at this point than for life to simply hum along as it has over the last year or so, but that is not how life works. Not in this epoch and not in this land. Reality—our reality, here and now—exists to destroy itself, to not continue to exist in the same way tomorrow. That is its one and only purpose—to negate itself. That is our most cherished cultural value—that reality should always and forever wholly negate itself, moment by moment, day by day.
The reality of the summer we have just had has been, in retrospect, sweet and whole and meaningful and intimate. Despite fractured family, we have had some semblance of normal family life, the kids and I. It is bittersweet to see school beginning again and to wonder whether there will ever be another summer like the two that we have just had.
I suspect not, but only for moments at a time, because I can’t keep it up without losing my shit.