Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Stress of Pure Joy

Bad things in my personal life don't stress me out. In Emergency mode, all of the organizational prowess and practical know-how which normally lie dormant under layers and layers of apathy and self indulgence come rushing to the forefront and I fucking get shit done. Stress is not useful during actual hardship and I have never understood how allowing oneself to worry about potential issues which might arise in the future is in any way helpful. There either is something to be done or there isn't, and worrying about it does not count as proactive behavior. I know it isn't so easy for everyone to compartmentalize their stress, but this is how it is for me.

What do stress me out, however, are very positive experiences. I'm capable of enjoying myself during times of joy and merriment, but once I have returned to the still calm of my own consciousness I cannot stop myself from worrying endlessly that I have not properly enjoyed myself, or that I wasn't paying close enough attention to remember the experience well, or that I might never be able to have that much fun ever again because this was the end of my good luck in life (this one is rare, but the thought has crossed my mind). In theory I consider positive experiences to be collectible, and I've had enough to know that there are probably more coming, but there is always a little voice in my head a little while after something good happens peeping "but I want THAT one back. I MISS it!" as if I had the option of going back and just living in that one experience forever.

What characterizes most truly joyful experiences is that they are times in which I am entirely outside of myself and feeling a genuine connection with others. Not all fun times get to this place. Sometimes I have thinky fun where I am enjoying myself but not quite able to switch off the introspective lens due to either the nature of the conversation, my mood, or the fact that I am doing whatever activity it is by myself. I do feel very happy and content when I am exploring or enjoying a quiet lunch while reading but I don't feel truly joyful. This mellow type of happiness doesn't ever cause me any stress. This is probably a good sign because it means I don't fear solitude. However, despite being comfortable being alone, I genuinely enjoy the company of others as well as any activity that reminds me that life is something to be participated in, not just observed and analyzed. Some of the most joyful moments of my life have been the following:
- Conversations with someone I recently met when we both JUST realized we have something in common that we are both very excited to talk about
-Slightly drunken nights out with friends with whom anything and everything is on the table for discussion
-Singing in front of a crowd when I feel like its going really well
-Strutting down the street in really kickass weather to a particularly grooving' soundtrack (I know this is a solitary act, but the right music always makes me feel like being a part of humanity isn't such a terrible thing after all).
-Soccer games when my team is playing well (win or lose)
-Nice moments in relationships which highlight how this romantic Buddy System most humans have worked out for ourselves in a pretty sweet deal. The best of these types of moments are immune to sully regardless of how the relationship turns out. I have at least a few from each one I've been in.

I know I'm pointing out the obvious here, but the warm embrace of others is both comforting and exciting, and having to step back inside oneself after such an experience will always be somewhat sobering. I know some people who seem to spend most of their time in this warm, interconnected space **(I'm aware that there is no way for me to actually KNOW what kind of space anyone else spends their time in considering I'm not sure if anyone else actually views their own social behavior in these terms anyway and its possible that I am over thinking this)**.  I am not the best at striking up conversations from nothing and It takes me a while to get to that comfortable space with most people, so I am willing to admit that just because someone is better at it than I am doesn't mean that they are worse at existing alone inside themselves and use others to escape from themselves. But I kind of need to believe that just a little in order to account for myself.

I like to think that maybe since these fuzzy, exuberant experiences are somewhat rare for me, the high I get off of them is a little bit higher than that of someone who goes there more frequently. The danger in my scenario is that I will accumulate less friends in the long run, and eventually if we part ways one by one I might find myself alone. That's one of those possibilities that I refuse to worry about now, though. For now I just need to learn how let the joy of good experiences linger long enough to cancel out the naysaying voices in my head. Maybe I need to meditate? Do yoga? Today I ate quinoa with peppers and tofu, and although I was basically DISGUSTED with myself, I guess this means that anything is possible.

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