“I think I was a bird in another life; maybe that’s why I’m prone to flight”
Carousel by Rubble Bucket
Sometimes I really frustrate myself.
When I was going through my divorce – following the loss of a job and my grandfather – all I wanted was for my life to get back to normal. I wanted stability. I craved a singular place to call home, a stable job with a salary and benefits, and a sense of knowing what to expect. I longed for a trusting relationship that I could fall into with comfort, where I knew I’d be loved and cherished, and where I knew I could love and cherish another person again, too. I just wanted to know that things were going to be okay, and that there wouldn’t be any more surprises to knock me over again.
These days, I (mostly) have all of those things I craved: a full-time job with salary and benefits, a temporary-but-stable place to call home (even if it’s with family for now), a seat in a graduate-level program to pursue the career I’ve dreamed of for several years, and a boyfriend of 8 months who is level-headed, responsible, and drama-free.
I have almost everything I want(ed). I don’t anticipate any big curveballs coming my way. I have a reliable, rent-free place to live as long as I need it, and a job that continues to prove itself to be one of the best opportunities I’ve had to-date, and boyfriend who says he loves me, and who is content to sit around and watch Netflix with me if I don’t feel like going out.
So, then, why the fuck am I feeling so restless? Why does my brain have to daydream about packing my car to the brim, driving somewhere I’ve never been before – Cincinnati, New Orleans, Portland, Richmond – and just starting all over again from scratch?
Why am I not okay with just staying put, even if only for a little bit? Why do I feel so flighty all of the damn time?
This isn’t something unique to my sobriety either. I’ve felt this way for almost as long as I can remember, about a variety of different things in my life. I’m your stereotypical “grass is greener” type of gal and I’ve got no idea how to not be that way. I expect more of myself and of others than is possible, and even when I know it’s not possible, I get overly frustrated when the let-down occurs.
A new sort of manifestation of this grass-is-greener mentality is an alarming sense of commitment phobia. Yes, I’ll admit it: I have commitment issues. They’re probably a result of my divorce and the whirlwind of romantic and professional chaos that followed, and it scares me a bit because I feel myself being pulled in two polar-opposite directions. Do I stay where I am, learn to accept life as it is, and force myself to settle with way things are, or do I pull a drastic move and attempt to re-invent myself for the millionth time, potentially leaving my fragile wooden bridges exposed to the open fire of impulsiveness?
Could I sound any more dramatic?
I know it’s black-and-white thinking when I put it like that. I know it’s entirely possible to fuel my need for novelty while remaining present in the nuances of a daily routine. It’s just that sometimes, I can’t help but daydream of starting over every few years. I fantasize about throwing my life in the fire and emerging anew. I know doing that won’t solve any of my problems with loneliness, or dissatisfaction, or depression, or disconnection from my family and community. It would only mask those issues for a short while as I acclimate to a new environment. And soon enough, that little monster of discontent would come creeping back in…so I guess now is the time to realize simply taking flight isn’t going to make it go away.
In a way, that’s sort of what alcohol did for me. It allowed me to fly away for a little bit when I felt like I was trying to swim against the currents, without actually letting me take any risks. It made it seem more realistic to daydream of a fantastic life, rather than appreciating the one I have right now, or takings steps toward getting the one I truly desire. It kept me from holding myself accountable for dreams lost – rather, it told me that those things I wanted were too far out-of-reach anyway. It promised to comfort me when I felt restless or irritable. It shushed me when things felt unfair, told me it would help me feel okay again. It never did.
Now, without that crutch to numb my dissatisfaction, I’m stuck at the crossroads of leaping into the rabbit hole of not-knowingness, or continuing on the steady path of my current life until I get true footing. The frustrating part is that I know no matter which decision I make, I will always wonder what the other might’ve held for me.
And so here I go, suspended for one more day, not drinking, but not knowing what else I should do. Maybe I’ll find out eventually. Until then…cheers to day 38 alcohol free. What a ride it’s been.