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Fantasy

by thehusk

There are people who appear to have what I want. I wonder if it keeps them from being miserable. How could you have something that good and not be glad to be alive? But of course people are screwed up in all kinds of complicated ways.

Seeing my desires appear to be real is both compelling and tortuous. It breaks through the layer of resigned depression to remind me ‘yeah, this was what life was supposed to be about.’ But then follows the recognition ‘this is not for you.’

There’s just enough false hope left though to keep me coming back to the fantasy. It’s not like it’s logically impossible for me to be in that position. Just overwhelmingly unlikely. Maybe when I was younger. If I’d been braver, more charismatic, more socially functional. If my health had been a bit better.

But still, I can’t categorically say it’s off the table. It feels tantalizingly real. Just beyond my grasp. The things I’d need to do to even have a chance of making it my reality are too massive. And I’m not prepared to make those sacrifices. To accept those compromises. I’m not willing to totally reshape who I am, just for a small shot at that desire. As valuable as it seems, I suppose it just doesn’t feel worth it. Supposing I did the huge amount of work necessary, and got the huge amount of luck required. I still doubt I’d really be happy with it. Because it would be so compromised, and I’d still be carrying so much mental baggage with me.

But that kind of leaves me with the question of what the hell I’m still doing here. If I’m essentially accepting that the things that make life seem worthwhile are beyond me, then I’m just waiting for death. And maybe that’s better for my family, because they’re spared my loss. But it’s hard to actually live with, day to day. Accepting that you’re just going through the motions, running down the clock. So inevitably I fall back into the fantasy, so I can pretend for a while that life could feel meaningful. And then it hurts all the more when that fantasy is punctured by reminder of my pathetic reality.

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7 comments

a1957 5/23/2020 - 5:25 pm

So much I can relate to here. Where to start? I now have every thing I wanted. I do. but even as the ink was drying on the last deal to complete my material desires my therapy appointment was but days away. We can be happy and sad, blessed and cursed, all at the same time. I do not regret what I did to get these things, but, there are still those traumas I recall and process. Yes I have relaxed in my home, in my surroundings, with those I love and felt the pain of a long ago scene and prayed to go that instant. Such a both/and existence , rather than the either/or world my head gravitates to.

Yes I do think of myself running down the clock too.

thehusk 5/23/2020 - 7:25 pm

It’s a shame if you’ve put the work in to still not be able to fully enjoy it ๐Ÿ™

a1957 5/23/2020 - 11:17 pm

That’s a good way to phrase it. It will be interesting to see how much more the load of the past can be lightened.

muspelhem 5/26/2020 - 11:15 am

I have recently looked into Buddhism a little bit, for the first time. And from what I understand, it claims that life is unsatisfactoriness.

So basically, even if we get what we want, we will quickly get used to it, start taking it for granted, and be back to square one.

Also, from an evolutionary perspective, we haven’t really evolved to be satisfied for long. It’s like if you just had sex once and were happy ever after, you would stop trying to have sex, and your genes would be outcompeted by the genes of someone who kept on having sex.

There’s a course about it on Coursera.

thehusk 5/26/2020 - 12:52 pm

Yes. I find it very hard to accept. I suppose because it means giving up on traditional ideas of satisfaction and fulfillment, which are very deeply wired.

If you accept that no matter what you do, you will essentially have the same experience of dissatisfaction, why do anything? Why not kill yourself, or bring all life to an end? If nothing is really good, but some things are just less bad.

It seems like a plausible interpretation of reality. I just can’t seem to bring myself to accept it long term.

muspelhem 5/26/2020 - 5:19 pm

I’m kind of stalled in the course at the moment, but I’m not sure that is what Buddhism ultimately concludes. AFAIK it advocates a middle ground between indulgence and self-restraint, and is of course big on meditation, but also, I believe, on compassion. Anyway, it’s just one of many approaches.

thehusk 5/26/2020 - 5:48 pm

Yes, you’re right, I remember a big focus on ‘the middle path’ when I covered it at school. I just never understood the logic behind it. If they’re right that pursuit of worldly goals leads ultimately back to where you started, then why bother? Why not just spend all your time meditating/searching for enlightenment? Or blissed out in a state of Nirvana. Or just end your life.

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