I live what most people would consider a full and fulfilling life. A three-year-long, and counting, teaching gig at a prestigous college. A nice house in the country. A horse to train and ride. Two great dogs. Serious work in photography. The list goes on.
And yet, I feel empty and uninspired, and I struggle each day to do simple things, and mostly, to find purpose. A mission. Something to produce that is larger than I am. Perhaps I’m reaching an age where legacy counts, and yet there is nothing lasting that I have built. What is worse, each time I try to find purpose I run up against a wall. There seems no purpose, and no energy available for any worthy cause, whether doing the dishes or saving the planet.
I am lost in depression’s fog, and despite Zoloft and another pill that I cannot spell, and perhaps don’t want to admit to taking, there seems no door or window to let in a beam of light to follow.
The world in general seems following the same path. (This doesn’t help me one bit.) Global Warming. Rising seas. Acid oceans. Deafened whales. Extinctions. Death. Next door, my neighbor /landlord has a lovely border collie that he keeps in a horse-stall, without affection or companionship. Tippy barks and cries all night. It is not good for sleep.
So the search for some tiny beam of light, something just leaking through the bottom of the door jam or filtering through the curtains, some path to follow that can lead me, lead us, out of a dreary existence that seems destined for another Cormack McCarthy novel, goes on. We (I) have too long dwelt on woe. It would be nice to work on some positive vision. some more evanescent destiny.
I think my greatest block, the thing that keeps the doors chained tightly shut, the light extinguished, is fear more than depression. The idea of taking on the world’s problems, of mounting some degree of criticism, or of finding that new path into the dark woods (Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey) creates a dark, tight knot in my stomach, a reason to back away from action, a reason to embrace the lethal status quo. Depression and fear are the chicken and the egg. Hard to say which comes first. Or last.
It is time to move forward — not yet to slay dragons, but to draw back the window curtain, to peer under the door or through the keyhole, and see what lies beyond as a vision of light. Something small but positive. Something to leave for others, even if it is only a path.