Never Good Enough//The Dreamer

It’s been an Alice in Wonderland past couple months. I don’t think I’ve ever been so spaced out for such a long time. I feel like I’ve been walking through a dream world, and even more tired all the time than usual. Everything has seemed so bizarre and detached, like the things that I found meaningful before have stopped and become inverted. My motivation has plummeted and I don’t know how to regain that spark. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back from idealism to realism, or maybe I’m just completely losing it.

By all rights, it’s been a rather productive latter half of 2013, and I probably should be pretty happy:

  • I survived the John Muir Trail, which was absolutely stunning and an amazing hike. I really need to write things up, but knowing me, it might never happen at this point. Highly recommended.
  • I’ve somewhat acclimated to living in San Francisco. Despite the fact that it’s almost always foggy and cold and parking sucks and the 2-hour round-trip weekday commute makes me want to stab myself in the face, I’m slowly warming up to the city and discovering some of its charms and (shall we say) character.
  • I bought a house down in San Diego. It’ll be a rental property, and my dream of being a slumlord is becoming a reality.
  • I got promoted.

And yet, I feel this nagging dissatisfaction, which unlike most times, I think goes way beyond the lack of a girlfriend thing. Hard as I try, everything I do never seems to be good enough for myself. Which, fine: I know I’ll always be my harshest critic, and fundamentally, I think that being complacent is the kiss of death. I can’t help but wonder, though, if life really should be this endless struggle for betterment. Shouldn’t there be a point where we can call it quits and be satisfied with the results of who we are and what we’ve accomplished? Even knowing that there’s the next mountain to climb, can’t we appreciate the view from this one?

At some point in the past, I had a meditative refuge to where I could retreat. I don’t think I have that anymore. I feel perpetually restless. Sleep doesn’t reinvigorate me.

Maybe it’s this ankle that’s been sapping my motivation in ballet. It’s not that I can’t dance, but the soreness and weakness just makes moving so frustrating. It’s only tendonitis, so it could have been a lot worse. But I also feel like I’ve not improved much, if at all, over the past year or so. I told myself that I’d stick with ballet for five years, or would quit when I stopped getting better at it. It seems like the two are coinciding quite neatly right now, and so I wonder — after an especially frustrating rehearsal — whether it’s about time to move on. What do you do when it stops being fun, and yet you can’t quite seem to let it go?

There was this article about how Taylor Swift’s view on love has migrated away from the “daydreamy prince-and-princess place” (link). I think a little part of me died when I read it. A lot of my friends wonder why I like listening to Taylor Swift and other teen-oriented pop, especially given my otherwise rather pessimistic worldview. Notwithstanding that there’s no accounting for taste, I think that I’d much rather live in a world where there exist such dreamers, where people still believe in things like true love, and where there is such a thing as innocence. Even if I can’t be fully convinced of such things, at least others still believe. Isn’t that what life is about, pursuing the stuff of dreams?

Maybe the JMT has affected me more than I thought. After all, the first and lasting impression upon coming back to civilization was that so much of this is so unnecessary. We can live with so much less than what we have; and I’ve never been convinced that, despite all the good that technology supplies, whether any of it makes us any happier. And yet how quickly I returned to business as usual, my quotidian routine.

It’s always been a promise to myself that I wouldn’t get so caught up in the rat race that I would lose sight of my dreams and what really matters. Have I strayed again? Have I gone so far from my true self that I don’t even realize it? Or do I not even know what my true self is to begin with?

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