The timer on an eBay auction can be my worst enemy. It sits there, saying “You’re almost out of time!” as if whatever item is available will never be seen anywhere ever again. This is the key to the promised land, and if you miss it now, you will regret it. And it’s really funny how frequently I buy into that idea and feel that regret. It’s a trap for me; one that I slip into all the time.
It’s because I don’t know what to do with regret. If I’m going to be honest here, and if I’m going to continue writing this post with wherever it might end up, I have to admit my biggest fear in the world. And no, my biggest fear is not having to call a stranger on the phone or a surprise cockroach charging me, even though those things cause me the greatest amounts of anxiety.
I am terrified of looking back years from now and realizing I misused my time. Terrified that when I’m gone, I’ll leave no trace of who I was.
Some people like to use the phrase “It keeps me up at night” to discuss when something worries them. The other day, this thought actually woke me up in the morning, starting my day with great concern about how I normally start my day. I may wake up and use the time before going to work to enjoy a little video game time or just lying around relaxing before the tasks of the day-to-day rear their ugly heads. Starting slowly because the day will escalate. But I woke up this particular day worried that if I didn’t start my day going, I would never end up anywhere.
As you can imagine, that set a horrible tone for the entire day. The internet, in all its infinite wisdom, will tell me that somebody with my personality type is prone to thinking there is always something better out there. It’s a funny, obscure promise that we buy into. This job may be good, but I bet it’s not my true calling. This relationship may be good, but I bet I can have a deeper connection with some mysterious unknown stranger somewhere out in the world. Those are the types of crazy thoughts we tend to have.
There’s a lot out there in the world. A lot of cool places to see, and a lot of amazing people with great stories out there to hear and tell and participate in. Maybe people like me are very aware of of this fact and we drive ourselves crazy trying to experience it all. We are experiential people. I am an experiential person. The moments I remember most in my life are the truly unique experiences, unique things I’ve eaten, unique locations I’ve witnessed. And there is an overwhelming desire to experience it all entirely all at once until I am too overwhelmed to continue. I want to be overwhelmed.
There came a moment in the day where the thought of leaving and living in Scotland seemed like the best idea. It might be. Edinburgh seemed like a wonderful place, but how would I know? I spent very little time there. But the neurotic ideas that everything in my life should and must change instantly creep up every now and then because I’m worried that there is something bigger, brighter, and better out there.
All of it is nonsensical, of course, because the days where I have had the best memories were the days where I wasn’t worried about what I might be doing or where I might be in a year from then. They weren’t days where I worried about whether there was something bigger, brighter, and better out there in front of me. They weren’t the days where I woke up in that worried state of mind.
They were days where I woke up looking forward to that day and that day alone. Embracing exactly where I am and what I’m doing, hoping to milk every last bit of life out of it. Not worried about tomorrow, because today has enough worries itself. Enough worries, enough life, enough experience.
Today. Today can be overwhelming. Overwhelming in all the right ways.