Monday, January 21, 2008

Wistfulness

Occasionally, there's a weekend where I don't have much to do and I spend a day at home. I wake up late, spend the morning in my pajamas before taking a shower sometime early in the afternoon, and eat a late breakfast. I do some homework, or maybe go for a short bikeride. I'll think about calling a friend and seeing if they want to do something that evening, but usually decide that I'm happy to have the time to catch up on doing things by myself. Sometimes I read.

Every day this happens, there's a brief moment where I look around me and realize that the sun has gone down. And then I realize that it's no longer afternoon, that evening has started, and the day is starting to come to a close. And every time this happens, I suffer a short, profound feeling of loneliness and loss; a feeling that the day has been needlessly wasted and is forever gone.

And then something catches my attention, and I forget, and it's evening, and everything's fine.

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful post.

    (I think this is what it's going to feel like when I'm about to die. And then I'll die. And everything will be fine.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know that feeling exactly. I have the same sensation when I read friends' travelogues and realize that I don't think about traveling to exotic locals hardly ever. I don't know how they do it - saving money from a low-paying job to spend a month bumming around India or Europe or South America. But then I too get distracted, usually by the creature comforts that are eating up all my moneys.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel that way all of the time. But, then I my life is actually pretty damn neat. And imagine if you never had days like that... Imagine if you always had to do something. How hectic.

    Trim your bonsai ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments. I didn't really mean to be writing a metaphor for death, but I'm glad it works that way.

    Mostly, this is a weird little quirk that I've had for years, but only really been able to verbalize recently. I don't know if it came across in the post, but I really wanted to emphasize how profoundly overwhelming the experience is, albeit transitory.

    I don't think it has to do with fear of wasting my time or even regret; it's just sadness at the realization that I've used up one of the remaining days of my life.

    Or, I'm just crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. PS Anonymous, who are you? You don't have to tell me, of course (and certainly not publicly) -- I'm just always curious who's reading my blog. Of course, you're probably not going to check the comment section again, so I'll never actually know. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you've just summed up my life, and I think that's going to make me cry.

    Isn't anonymity the weirdest thing? I wonder who will care about this a year from now? I feel so tantalized by the possibility of voyeurism with the whole blogging experience, but it does feel a little... unsettling at times.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anon was me! Partly just a reflexive impulse to not be associated w/ anything, ever, and partly 'cuz I wanted to see if you'd guess it was me (my cynicism so true to form it's verging on self-parody).

    I just spent a few hours looking at 20 years of annotated snapshots from the Buddhist community where I grew up. Watching everyone grow older -- watching an entire community of youthful hippies and their kids slowly grow old, potential giving way to what-actually-happened -- left me with an awful sense of life as nothing more than a mural. A collection of days, wasted and otherwise. A design. A tapestry. The complement of your afternoon feeling, I think.

    (But I'm obsessed with time running out. I spend a lot of time obsessing over it; I'll probably spend a lot of time regretting the time spent obsessing, too.)

    (P.S. More posts feelings, please!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. ummm... I feel childish to say that I didn't think it was a metaphor at all. just like when I was surprised that Narnia is a Christian allegory or that Oz is about the gold standard or something.

    sydney's comment was SOO confusing at first and I thought I had clicked the who/whom post (which is also beautiful and kind of about dieing) but that didn't help my confusion.

    anyways...

    I'm always sad when the sun goes down because I know it's going to get colder. no metaphor intended.
    k

    ReplyDelete
  9. Erin: You were one of my guesses, but I try not to out anonymous people online unless they give their (implicit) consent.

    My family takes pictures of all of the cousins at all of our family reunions. So we have about 20 years or so worth of photographic evidence of us aging. Mostly just provokes nostalgia in me, but it's an interesting record to go through.

    I'll see what I can do about more heartfelt, introspective posts. No promises. I have these kinds of thoughts a lot, I guess, but it's rare that I feel like I can effectively verbalize them.

    Kori: my freshman year of high school, I wrote a book report on Animal Farm as extra credit for my history class. I turned it in, and my teacher said "You know this is supposed to be an allegory to the Russian Revolution, right?" "Oh," I said.

    They weren't intended to be metaphors, so don't feel childish! Feel superior! You cut through the bullshit and saw the posts for what they really were!

    ReplyDelete
  10. kori: far be it from me to suggest allegory or even metaphor! Joseph's microscopic afternoon feeling simply struck a chord and reminded me of a macroscopic entire-life feeling.

    Though it's probably foolish to attack an entire literary device, I've never been fond of allegory. Narnia & Oz are best appreciated on a superficial (quote unquote), child-like level, in my opinion. Allergory is just literary bait-and-switch -- the author sells you on the surface story, and then tries to send you home with a deeper meaning. How unfair!

    Mr Seph: Words can fall short, but silence falls even shorter. The shortest falling, ever, failing, ever after, always. So write more anyway. Right? Right.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "The shortest falling, ever, failing, ever after, always." I have no idea what the fuck that even means...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, how far we've come from "thanks for your comments." What-oh-whatever happened to civility in discourse??

    Anyway, I was just paraphrasing Yoda. Or maybe it was a rebuttal.

    ReplyDelete