Belfast Telegraph

It's time to live life in here and now and stop the waiting

By Nuala McKeever

Dunno about you, but I seem to spend a lot of life waiting for life to begin properly. Waiting for the "when" – When I lose another eight pounds.... When the weather gets better... When I finish all the jobs on this list... When Friday comes... When Monday comes... When my cold goes away... When I go away... When I get home....When I'm relaxed... When I'm less lazy... When I grow up... When I stop prevaricating. At this rate, I reckon I'll be still waiting for my life to begin when I'm on my deathbed.

It's easy to think other people are there already, living the life, content with how things are, because things seem fine over there, in other people land. But when you get over there, into other people's world, it's disappointingly similar to your own.

Something's gotta give here. This living behind a glass wall, detached from what's actually going on right now because I'm too busy waiting for what MIGHT be going on sometime in the future, is just crazy.

Maybe this is part of grief, I don't know. But I reckon this has been a pattern for a long, long time. Waiting for M to come back is just one more thing I'm waiting for. I know that won't happen, so I'm also waiting for that denial to end. Waiting to accept.

You'd think accepting would be simple, easy. Just accept. But, it's a struggle. Struggling to accept – now there's a contradiction in terms.

Resisting. That's maybe a better word for it. In all the waiting for things to be different before really "living", there's a huge resisting of how things are, actually, right now. All this resisting takes up a lot of energy. Even if it's unconscious. In fact, especially if it's unconscious. It's like trying to juggle balls in the air with one hand while carrying on doing normal activities. And not only are you juggling but you're also hiding that juggling from your everyday conscious thinking, and that takes energy too. It's so tiring – no wonder we all get colds around Christmas.

Maybe this resisting how things are, stems from the stories we were reared on. How heaven is a place up there where you go if you're good enough. Heaven isn't here, now, as you are. Oh no! God forbid you should ever relax! You'll never be good enough here, now, as you are. No matter how good you are, Heaven will always be somewhere else.

What a recipe for constant striving and a permanent undercurrent of discontent and guilt. "Must try harder even though no matter how hard I try I can never reach the place I'm trying to get to."

No wonder people give up trying and decide just to park up and party in the lay-by. "If I can never get there," the reasoning goes, "I might as well pretend I'm not trying to get anywhere."

But the destination keeps calling, the dissatisfaction keeps prodding you. "This is not enough. There must be something more."

It's a hard one to reconcile. You gotta commit to keep going with an idea that you're heading towards something but at the same time be aware that your path might change abruptly without warning, so you don't want to get too attached to it. Commitment without attachment.

And you'd best enjoy the view you've got right now, because much as you hope for the slimmer, better you, round the bend, that might never happen and you'll go round the bend waiting to get round the bend.

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