Is it abnormal for one’s life trajectory to stall? I hope not. Because I’m feeling stymied, and I don’t know why. “Unsourced” feelings and emotions can be very worrisome. I wake up in the morning, slowly open my eyes, start to take a nice long stretch under the covers, and then, out of nowhere, a nasty bolt of anxiety shoots through me. Why? Nothing bad has happened. I’m in good health. I love my work. But the anxiety bolt inserts unwelcome, weighty thoughts into my consciousness. They zigzag around my head, saying “Hey, Claudia, your life is the same as it was a year ago. And it will be the same a year from now if you remain on this course”. Ick. That’s not good, is it?
I asked a dear friend recently how he envisioned himself ten years in the future. Without missing a beat, he confidently answered that he never thinks in those terms. Because it is unrealistic, pointless, and, in some respects, crippling. He’s right. I need a tutorial in that brand of thinking, because what I have instead is “rut-phobia”. I’ve always been this way. So it’s possible that there’s nothing wrong at all with my life’s trajectory, only my perception of it.
But I am smart enough (and old enough!) to know that our own thoughts can be our worst enemies, that torment comes from within, and that discontent is often a detrimental, even paralyzing, emotion. But striving is fine, right? And “change is good”, so they say. I can’t figure it out. I guess, like everyone else, I just want to be happy. If only it weren’t so complicated . . . . or is it?
This is In Werner’s Rowing Boat, 1917, by Swedish painter Anders Zorn: