The button comes to life as I press down, shining in a dim ugly yellow. I stare up at the digital display above the door as the number decreases. I wait for the number to match the number posted on the wall. My waiting mind fill with anticipation and hopes for an empty space to open in front of me. For a chance to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet on a hectic day like today.
“So do you really have something to do?” I asked her as we walked in front of the group. There is something thrilling about having a private conversation in a group setting, mysterious and kind of exciting, like an open secret.
I’ve always described myself as a rational human being. I enjoy knowing that my decisions are based in facts and figures. I weigh the rewards and consequences, before I make a decision. I try to see the whole picture before diving into any situation. Even when it comes to emotional issues. I’ve always felt that as long as I stick with rational principles, the emotional will sort itself out. Despite its connotation, rationality is actually a very spiritual ideal. Karma, for example, is a very rational idea. I believe that as long as you are spreading good, good will come to you. And that’s how I try to treat life in general.
One area of life this has never worked for me is in relationship. I always plant seeds of goodness, but the plant never seem to last. Even when I try to plant flowers, I get trees instead. I’ve never been able to reconcile this disconnect between rationality and emotional side of relationship. I’ve had feelings for others that are never reciprocated and this is not really rational. I understand that as a fact of life, there is no reason that anyone SHOULD reciprocate my feelings. And that’s one side of rationality that I cannot reconcile with my emotional side of feeling.
Emotions is uncontrollable. It’s infectious and contagious. I’ve never liked the feeling of when I have a crush. I don’t like the heart-beating faster (feels like a heart attack), I don’t like the guessing and the games, I don’t like feeling like I’m losing control. Rationality becomes that friend that gives too much advice, the friend that you know cares the most about you but you don’t ever listen to.
I’ve always felt that rationality is my childhood blanket, a place of comfort for me to retreat to when the world around me is crazy. A place where I feel superior because it’s my ultimate guiding principle, especially in a world where there is little guiding principle in people’s life. It’s predictable, because there is always one better choice and one worse choice.
But I’ve been brought up to recognize comfort as the enemy of progress. No pain, no gain. No risk, no reward. I can sleep when I die. The feeling of restlessness is a constant in my life. I am constantly reevaluating the current status of my life and think of ways to improve it. And this is the same when it comes to relationship. I am constantly feeling like I don’t put myself out there enough. I’ve always felt compelled to shed my security blanket and dive head in.
So far, I’ve been hitting the bottom of the pool, and every time I come back to rationality harder than ever. Maybe this is one of those posts where I come back to rationality. Maybe I’m just tired of games.
My friend recently introduced me to Thought Catalog, a blog(?) with many talented writers contributing on a variety of topics. The piece that got me addicted is Let’s Run Away by Gaby Dunn. It’s about running away with the person that you love. But not in an elope sort of way but an “disappear like the girl who got pregnant in my middle school class” sort of way.
As a single guy I can’t really relate with running away with the person that you love. But I loved the idea of just “disappearing”. Not move to a different city, not anywhere in the “real world”. I am so consumed by the American/Western culture and what is expected of us, that when I think of being adventurous I think of moving to New York. I never really stopped to think would I being doing something actually adventurous or just moving to a different place but doing the same thing I’m doing right now.
If I want a real adventure, would I have the courage to actually go somewhere where making money is not the top priority. Would I be able to live in a place where people aren’t surviving by sitting in an office and staring at computer screens but actually doing something with their hands putting in the labor to survive. In Lets Run Away, Dunn describes the observation she’s making as an outsider into the world we live in. We are spending a good third (at least those of us lucky enough to only work 8 hour days) of our lives sitting somewhere staring at a screen. We do this so much that during the weekend we’re too tired to do anything else but just get drunk and stare at a different screen.
We’re all stuck in this prison. This imaginary prison that we all agree exists. We stay there, we slave away, we follow the rules, we pretend that we’re better off. We give birth to a new generation of prisoners, we make sure they follow the rules, then we wait, and wait, and wait till Death comes and collects us.
When I was working in California, I saw the bars to my prison and I couldn’t stop thinking about whether this is where I’d be for the rest of my life. That’s why I ran away. Do I think I’m at a better place? Maybe. But this time I know, I’m not finished running, and one day maybe I’ll finally be able to escape.
So recently, I went from an unemployed freelancer to a guy with three jobs. Two of them in retail, at two wildly popular retailers that will surely get hit with tons of shoppers looking for last minute gifts. All of this happening within the span of two weeks.