Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saying Impolite Things About the Future

Dear John,
 
I discovered something disquieting this morning. I was getting ready to go to church, and realized that I was just as stressed as I've been on mornings that I was getting ready for work. It seems that it isn't the job that I've been stressed about. That's reassuring in one way, but that partial diagnosis gets me no closer to a cure. I have a few thoughts, though, that I want to bounce off of you.
 
I've spent the last two years in a bit of a cocoon. I've had a job and enough money that allowed me to be sheltered and begin to heal. Now I'm out of the cocoon, fully in the real world, completely alone, with full adult responsibilities. And it's a jolt. I'm doing lots of things for the first time. I've never been an adult on my own before, by myself, with nobody to share responsibilities and decisions with. I haven't had a regular job for a regular company for eighteen years, and haven't worked full-time for twenty-five years. I've worked in one career since I was twenty, and now I'm starting a new one at fifty-eight. I've never had complete responsibility for taking care of a house by myself. But the big factor is that being out of the cocoon means there is nothing between me and the future.
 
It's likely that this terrible anxiety comes from looking at the future. You know I've been only taking little peeks at it for these two years, just enough to make necessary plans and be sure the bills got paid on time. Now I've started a new part of my life and suddenly the future is here, right in my face - I've fallen down the rabbit hole and landed in my future.
 
I've spent two years adjusting to life without you. Now I have to face the rest of my life, still without you. I'm doing a terrible job of explaining this - I'm trying to put an emotional reality into words, and it isn't working very well. I hope you have some clue what I mean. Looking at my life now, knowing that this may be my life for the rest of my life, feels a bit like waking up in a horror movie - you know, the ones where everything looks normal but underneath there's something terribly wrong, really sick and twisted, about it. This life looks fine - a good job, enough income to pay the bills, my house and the animals and the church, Jen and the girls - but the heart of it is missing. Without you, it's just a parody of my life, empty and meaningless and twisted.
 
I suppose looking into a future like that would get to anybody. So what's my solution? Turn off my head, keep doing without thinking or feeling? I don't know how to turn off my mind. Try to find meaning somewhere? I've been doing that for the last two years without success. The only workable alternative seems to be getting my head out of the future. Besides doing the necessary financial planning, I need to keep my mind in the present and let the future take care of itself. I can't do much about it, anyway.
 
I could use your help with this, and your prayers. You were always so good at letting go of things you couldn't do anything about and relaxing in the present. If you have suggestions, or just comfort and encouragement, please come visit tonight. Or you could just get this Skype thing worked out. I need your love and wisdom right now, any way you can get it to me!
 
Missing you,
Joan.

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