After about 6 weeks of no sugar, my mind is becoming clearer. I have less anxiety and have been surprisingly free of the ups and downs of my normal depressive state. It shouldn’t be surprising since I know my depression is a boomerang to my anxiety. Get too anxious for too long, and my hormonal capacity crashes into a puddle of despair.
My food intake has become simpler. I am no longer driven by the intense cravings associated with a regular intake of sugar. I find myself forgetting to eat at times. Hunger feels real and insistent when it comes. Without the constant begging for food, my brain can focus on other things much more meaningful.
I read one book this week. No, I DEVOURED one book this week and have started another. This Much Country is the memoir of a woman who moved to wintery Alaska in the wake of a painful divorce to take care of sled dogs. A lark to try to get through the worst of her personal storm became a new way of life. I found myself longing for a life outside of the mainstream – one focused on nature and the love of animals and my fellow humans. If only I had the clarity I have now in my youth.
I grew up focused on what would make me money. There are advantages to that, but I left my own nature underdeveloped and have spent most of my life trying to make a living instead of trying to build a life. I suppose that’s the truth for most of us, but the people I know who would die before giving up their dreams have somehow managed to pull off making a living as well. The bargain I made to focus on making a living first has never paid off enough to allow me to shift my focus to following my dreams. Today, it feels like a gigantic loss.
I wanted to be a journalist. I was discouraged because it was a male’s domain and because I was told I wouldn’t make much money. Both of those may have been true, but I know lots of journalists who love their work and are still working. The downside is most of them have struggled with relationships and “normalcy” because of the intensity of the job and the schedule, but honestly I’ve struggled with relationships and “normalcy” anyway. Maybe I was tailor-made for that career.
The clarity of midlife is a mixed bag. It seems everyday something makes more sense than it did a decade ago. Family secrets are revealed. Cultural patterns are brought into the light confirming that what I had experienced was not a nuance but a norm. My soul pierces through the shield I have built to protect and enable my shortcomings. I feel empowered that I could see the truth all along and grief-stricken that all is not what it seemed. I am grappling to hold both at the same time.
When I do the math, I have somewhere between 20-35 years left in my lifespan unless I get hit by a bus when I walk out of this Starbucks. In that case, I will have approximately 15 minutes. That’s the rub, isn’t it? I want to plan for the future and my long life but I know that if I waste too much time planning I may miss the beauty of my last 15 minutes of life. Again, the question populates of how I hold both at the same time.
I have more clarity but with clarity comes more complexity. How I wish the road before me was more clear. Do I chuck it all and seek out my writing dream? Do I forget about retirement and focus on enjoying the last time I have in order to trust the Universe will take care of me? Why can’t I have the trust that my other friends have had to throw the dice and let the chips fall where they may? How do I let go of the illusion of security enough to chase the illusion of self-satisfaction? If the future is just one illusion or another, how do I center myself in today to make it the most fulfilling day I can have?
How do you manage this complexity in your life? Are you feeling more clarity?