Sometimes you spend your whole life trying. And because you want to be this thing or that so bad; because you want to live up to all that promise, or because you have simply become a prisoner to your own dreams, locked away in their overwhelming, sinking, subtle grip; you find that you can’t stop.
I realized last night that it was never old age that kills us. It’s our dreams. They say a man lives as long as he has hope, and what is a dream but long-term hope?
I see now that we die incremental, daily deaths. All of us. Every dream we give up is a piece of our lives given up, until one day, we give up the dream to live forever.
One day, you will review your dreams and recall the voices that sometimes shape them, and the contradictions will catch up with you:
You impressed me. You are a disappointment. You’re too old. You’re too young. You’re so perfect. You’re too flawed. This is unacceptable.
You’re a good man. You’re better than this. You’re too lazy. You work too hard. You love yourself too much. You are too selfless and it will hurt you. You are intelligent. You don’t know anything. You need a girlfriend now that you’re broke. You’re not ready. You mean a lot to me. You don’t matter.
Contradictions. But you will see, there is truth in these things. Maybe not justice, but truth. So remind yourself daily:
I am Ashiwel. I am not the present. I am a process. I am an adventure. I am a journey.
And sometimes, you give up old adventures for new journeys. Sometimes you branch off the thoroughfare and beat a new path. Sometimes you start afresh. You begin the slow journey to recovery from emotional bulimia and it changes everything. Friendships lose weight. Love fixates elsewhere. Some dreams atrophy. It changes you, but it grows you.
When I was a child, we had these handheld games called Brick Games where we would play Tetris and Battle Tanks for endless hours. Sometimes, you went on a roll and got a high score. Sometimes, you had a horrible, horrible game. There was a little reset button in the corner you could push to begin again.
Seven months ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I told no one. Instead, I began to grow my hair. Well, I cut it yesterday.
I was pushing reset.