Not an island

Sometimes there are events that make you stop and take stock of everything.

Such things come without warning, hit you like a brick & leave you breathless when you consider their scope and impact for the future.

I can’t go into detail – but it’s been a tough last few days and I’m left thinking deeply about how precious everything in life is.

This sudden and unexpected time has manifested itself in an unusually quiet and reflective Davey, who for the most part has been unable to fully vocalise his feelings to those around him and has been left wondering what things all mean and what is really important.

I‘ve always known that it’s not material possessions or money – and it’s people that are important – but I’m confronted with yet another realisation related to my life changes.

That is that now more than ever I have had to confront how vulnerable and exposed I feel – because in the past I never felt like there was anything to lose.

When I lived a life of self destructive solitude there was nothing about my (probably extremely selfish) existence that made me feel like I was going to lose anything or anyone.

Oddly I often viewed my (very likely) early demise as a benefit to others rather than a potential loss and I was absolutely certain that it was me that would have a catastrophic health event and exit in a pine box before anyone else.

In my twisted view of the world this made everything better instead of worse.

I would leave my house to my brother and if I was no longer on the planet it would mean that my family would be financially more secure, free of worry (related to me) and able to just get on with life.

I felt that (because it was almost certainly me that would be dying first) I had no fear of loss or that the people I cared about would leave me without warning.

How selfish was I?

How would they have felt?

Now I look back at my thought process I feel like travelling back in time and kicking myself squarely in the man globes.

I was an idiot – and I didn’t realise at the time what was really going on in my mind.

Truthfully I thought that my lack of worry regarding losing people was because I was a hard person, and that unlike my peers I didn’t care as much (if at all).

Furthermore I was convinced that I had something that had somehow ‘broken’ inside me.

The side of my personality that sat up at night worrying whether someone came home or not just didn’t seem to exist.

Others stressed this way but I did not – and I considered myself as someone that had an absence of the ‘normal’ emotional bonds that families typically shared.

I just expected everyone to be ok and I expected myself to not be ok. I never thought it would be otherwise.

Life has a funny way of re-educating you though, and one of the side effects of living a healthier life is that the balance of probabilities has shifted.

I’m now no longer automatically the one that will leave everyone else behind when I die.

It may be the other way around…

This means that over the last few years I’ve realised that I’ve begun to look at people in my life with a different perspective – and that this phenomenon has become particularly acute when I look to my partner.

It’s daft – because we spend a lot of time exercising together, we’re both health conscious and we look after eachother as best we can. We know pretty much all there is to know about each other’s medical backgrounds and there’s nothing (as far as I know) that we don’t share.

She’s probably going to be hugging me, making me laugh, and poking me in the ribs to annoy me for many years to come – and I dearly hope that I’m around to do the same back to her.

I wonder if this happens to other people that lose a lot of weight?

I suppose it must do.

Believing that your life expectancy will be so much shorter than other people’s informs a certain way of thinking (usually a cavalier one) and it touches every single thought process in your life.

You don’t realise how far the web of self delusion stretches or see the blind spots that you’ve created until you suddenly have to confront them.

I guess I’m not alone though – and you don’t have to lose a ton of weight to suddenly be faced with the frailty of human existence – or to be occasionally consumed with a fear of loss when you care deeply about someone.

It’s crazy how much things have changed.

I used to be so certain that I was an island – in need of no one and capable of endless solitude.

Now I know the truth – because I see with 20/20 vision that back then I was only half a human being.

The other half was disconnected, roaming the earth, also not knowing that they were incomplete until we randomly met on top of a hill.

Now we’re part of a whole – and I know with certainty (and have done for quite some time) that my future happiness (and possibly even sadness) is contingent upon their continued presence and health.

I lost the ability long ago to step back from her – and neither would I want to because she means everything to me and I need her in my life.

She just smiled and stroked my beard when I looked sad last night, and put her hand on my shoulder as I sat quietly looking at the wall.

The wall was blank and uncomplicated.

It didn’t have an opinion and I couldn’t lose it.

It would just be there day after day without any form of complication, just like it was the day before and the day before that.

Later that evening I eventually sank into her arms – and that’s where I fell asleep, thinking that if I could stop the world, and prevent the clocks from ever moving forward then I would.

Today however is another day.

The world turns, people are born, people die and we all get a tiny bit older. It will all end eventually – and there’s nothing we can do to prevent that.

All we can do is cherish what we’ve got, look after the people that we care about and live a good life, free from negativity or conflict and filled to the brim with love for others.

Davey

6 comments

  1. Hi Davey. Find myself re-reading this at 2.30am and realising I’m in exactly the same boat. My partner fell down the stairs yesterday morning after I’d left for work. She scraped her face and badly bruised her shoulder. And I find myself worrying ‘what if…?’ That realisation that for the first time in my life, I have someone whose absence would destroy me has left me feeling helpless and has reignited some of my old worries. Will I fall off the wagon? Will I somehow ruin all my hard work in a self destructive streak and undo everything or how far could I go before catching myself on? I also find myself worrying for you and others whose stories I sought out to help me make sense of what I was going through. That feeling of putting yourself out there, as I’m doing currently means I’ve made connections and will make connections with people I’m not even fully aware of yet. I’m not sure how comfortable I am yet in that. I’ve committed to throwing myself out of my comfort zone and living these new experiences, but I’m not fully aware of the toll they’ll have on me and on those I care about. As ever, I find your words explain a lot of what I’m going through currently and resonate in experiences not many people go through and bring some element of comfort. I hope this finds you and everyone well. My best wishes to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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