aka the tragedy of the forks
i remember i once told my wife that she has to focus less on ‘what if’ and more on ‘what is’.
it was great advice, really. i’m not sure if it helped her, but as part of a more extensive and expanded conversation it seemed like it did.
as usual, i am horrible at following my own advice.
i spend so much of my time obsessing over the past. i can’t stop. of course there are the usual anxiety symptoms like being unable to forget that one time i accidentally called someone ‘annoying’ and meant ‘sarcastic’ and couldn’t order my thoughts quickly enough to apologise or retract so i just never spoke to that person again.
or the time my then-current girlfriend emotionally blackmailed me into verbally tearing shreds off one of my then-closest friends. she forced me to use all sorts of secrets and desires that my friend had told me in confidence against said friend.
there’s more of that sort of thing, but that isn’t what this topic is about. this topic is about choices and chances. i cannot stop thinking about what in my life might be different if i had taken whichever choice i didn’t take.
like what if i had tried harder at university? or, maybe to be more fair to myself, what if i didn’t have the golden trio of adhd, depression and anxiety?
but, of course, that’s part of a larger ‘what if’. what if i had been ‘normal’ from the start? i believe the word these days is ‘neurotypical’. what if i didn’t constantly have 5 things happening at once in my brain? what if i did actually have social skills when i was a teenager? would i have been more liked? would i have not felt so alone and isolated?
would i maybe not have tried to kill myself twice? (i’d be curious to see how much damage i did to my liver. i never did go to the hospital afterwards.)
there are bigger questions again. what if i had been born the opposite sex? would i have coped better with the challenges i faced? would i have felt more equipped in social situations? would i feel more fulfilled? would i like myself more?
or would i still be having these stupid conversations with myself?
would i be happier if i’d be born rich, or would i still be trying to make sense of my identity except i’d need to add ‘unearned benefit and privilege’ to the list of things to chew through?
there are people who have exactly what (i think) i want. smart, attractive, wealthy people who seem to float through life. who have the time to pursue hobbies and desires because their circumstances allow them to.
mine do not.
it does however seem like the default position for everyone is misery of some kind. all we need for proof of that is the long list of smart, attractive, wealthy people who have killed themselves.
which begs the question, am i just destined to feel this way?
i have a wife and a family. i wouldn’t trade them for the world (literally). i have a house to go to after work (albeit i’m paying some other random guy several hundreds of dollars a week for the privilege but that’s another topic).
i feel like i shouldn’t feel this way. like i’m somehow grieving for lives, versions of myself, that never existed. that i never got the chance to be.
and now it’s too late to find out if i could have been. it’s been too late for a long, long time.
maybe that’s why i’m always vaguely sad. my existence right now necessitates the implied death of thousands of other versions of myself.
when’s the funeral?