Swing

Days roll along seeming quite innocuous, in which I busy myself with work or entertainment. Then comes a day when I feel much lower, as if I have some keen insight into the true nature of my existence, rather than a pretend view that all is merry. My outlook can so quickly transform from one of positive hope to one of inexpressible loss. The passage of time seems to be the metronome by which I track myself. When much younger I naturally thought very little about time coming to an end. A summer at the age of six seemed to last as long as about ten of my later years. I would play so hard and feel so alive, and when I fell asleep I would not stir in the middle of the night, but pop out of bed quite fresh in the morning and jump wholeheartedly into the magic spell of each day.

Now before I get out of bed I feel like I must first think through my to-do list and make sure nothing distasteful lies in today’s path that might want to make me remain in bed. Then when I first sit up I feel a need to take inventory of my physical body to make sure nothing hurts and that everything is still working in some reasonably good order. A peek in the mirror at a drawn-out face reminds me to make an effort to smile, just to see if I still can, just to see if the act of smiling agrees with my true inner nature. Some days I detect a huge mismatch and my face feels as though it were painted on.

Most days I can find enough resilience within to overcome any moodiness. Other days I have to question whether I am alive or only robotically tuned to act like a human being. I suspect others about me often experiencing something similar. Some have such a sour disposition about them at all times, whereas mine seldom lasts more than a day or two before I bounce back with a new energy. When I become self-conscious and reflect on my life, what I have done with it and what I have failed to do, I see that I have not lived up to my own ideals. I have managed to fool myself into believing for an entire life time that I am really quite successful, but on some of those more dour days I feel as if my life never really got started, that I am still struggling to make something of myself at a time when all is too late, when time is too short.

I seem to then cloak myself in a web of isolation, or maybe it is mere pity. I justify all the reasons for why I am where I am in life, then turn my aim on life itself and say that nothing really matters anyhow because nobody gets out alive, and I ask myself why I should think of myself as anything special. Why should I be more deserving of special privileges, abilities, or skills than any of those around me? And if I have nothing special about me, why should I feel this compulsion to do more than what I have done with the time I have already spent so frivolously? I feel convinced that others are being polite in lying to me when they tell that I’m doing just fine, that I’m living a wonderful life.

Having observed a few mood swings over the years and thinking about them after they have occurred, I think I might have learned a thing or two about myself. I will swing around one day and feel so good about myself and about living, and then stop to wonder why the sudden switch in attitude. Whatever wonderful process took place in my mind or in my soul to lift my spirits, I would like to be able to bottle that magic and have it within reach for whenever I may need it next.

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