All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)
I received the above quote this morning in an email from the New York Times, and it struck me how fitting it felt to where I’m at in my life right now. For a long time, my life was extremely unhealthy, and ultimately unsustainable. Yet I had learned to navigate that universe; I had learned to find whatever relief, happiness and passion was to be found in it. The new universe I inhabit is simpler, more bare bones, more honest, more raw…. But it is also excruciatingly, gratingly painful at times. The realities of this world are plain to me now. The truths of our existence get under my skin in a real way. I am no longer running to a bottle of any sort for solace; I’m facing the shit head on. And it’s fucking hard, man.
Echoing the quote–leaving behind even unhealthy behavior has its melancholy. I find myself wondering sometimes, that perhaps it was easier in the past,
not being so aware of my emotions… It was certainly easier to socialize indiscriminately; to get into relationships, to do various things that are expected
of us in this society… Now, I find myself resisting and resenting, kicking and screaming at every turn. Even though I’m more at peace with myself, I am by no means peaceful.
I’m saying goodbye to a lot of dark times, but there were bright and shiny moments scattered throughout. Perhaps that is indeed the hardest thing to come to terms with; that with almost everything in life, there is a distinct ‘both are true.’
The light and the dark coexist, always, in varying degrees. Though I desperately want to, I can’t label things and people, and put them in a box, because reality is more complicated than that. The only thing I know for sure is that I can’t go back. And however much I reflect on it, in the end, my present looks a whole lot better anyway.