Tuesday, October 18th, 2022:
As I stepped out my front door this morning, a cool rush of air brushed against my cheek. I reached over to my dusty, neglected coat rack and grabbed my soft gray hoodie. The fabric exuded an ashy, earthy oder of campfire smoke. The smell brought back memories of a cold, dreary night. I recollected the last time I wore this coat as I shuffled my way across the pavement to my truck.
The key slid into the ignition, and the cold engine came to life with a fiery roar. I was enveloped in nostalgia. The morning dew and gasoline smell permeated my nostrils like a perfume of petroleum and petrichor. I remember writing on a day like this. I remember writing on this day exactly. I remember waxing poetic about the changing seasons and the cool weather. I remember the anxiety I felt settling into a new job. I remember the ambition. I remember the regret.
I made my morning commute in silence. I thought about who I was. I thought about who I’d become. I remembered the pain. I remembered the loneliness. I remembered yearning for something more. And here I am… three years later, and I have yet to address anything I had written about. I’m not mentally sound, I’m not in love, and I’m not anything I said I would be. I’m still just this broken mess of a human being… I think I’m starting to be alright with that.
I worry about my students during these weeks away from them. I’m sure they don’t concern themselves with thoughts of me, but I can’t resist my intrusive thoughts about them. Are they eating well? Are they staying out of trouble? Are they smiling and laughing, or crying and anxious? Do they have what they need? Even if these thoughts are one-sided, I can’t escape them. I imagine their faces. I suppose what they are feeling; I wish they understood how much I care. I wish I understood why I care so much…
As I pulled into the parking lot, the morning sun was cresting over the horizon. An errant sunbeam pierced through the cloudy veil, illuminating the path in front of me. Sometimes I feel like I am being guided… not by God, fate, or even my mind. My intuition guides me, and patterns show me the way. I recognize the subtle cues that I detect around me. The predictable patterns are all reiterations of past events. The changing weather. The feeling of nostalgia. The repeating, perpetual, predictable cycles prompt me to consider my own emotions. Am I just as predictable as the seasons? Do my feelings shift on a subliminal cue? Will I ever outgrow my childish thoughts?
I can ruminate and pontificate about these thoughts all day and never produce an answer. I can soar with my fantasies and daydreams or drown in my cynicism. There is no in-between. There is no dry ground to plant my feet. Two simple takeaways from how I am feeling today:
- Everything is on a loop. Everything is a broken record. Everything repeats eternally. There may even be more versions of people just like me. Maybe I’m not so unique after all.
- I am still in love with the world. I love everything about it and everyone in it. I love the honesty, I love the brutality, I love the victories and the humiliation, and I love the sadness and the loneliness. I love me, and I love you, and I love being.