This is manifestly par for the course, but I recently found myself starting to retreat into my head again in an attempt to process a wide range of feelings. That isn’t to say these are particularly hurtful or negative feelings—you know, about relationships and intimacy and insecurity—just that they’re very intense and demand some attention.
While retreating into a shell often works out (perhaps after some turmoil), there are times when I concede that I just can’t do it alone. I lack the life-experience and a certain width in my world-view to truly grasp and work through the happenings around me. So, on occasion, I do the next obvious thing: turn to the people I’m close to and try talking to them about it. Unfortunately this hurts just as often as it helps.
Therefore, I’ve found myself trying something different these past weeks: turning to popular culture to see current society’s take on affairs. I figured maybe I’ll then realise I’m not so special. Maybe my experiences aren’t actually so out of the norm. Maybe all the ecstasy and turmoil I supposedly go through every day are just regular moments in an average person’s life.
This has led me to voraciously consume a lot of media: the quirky wit of Woody Allen’s movies, the blatant awkwardness of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the pithy realism of Marc Maron’s comedy, the intellectual frankness of Noam Chomsky’s writing. (Why is it that older Jewish guys seem to have a monopoly on neurotic, egocentric cynicism?) And maybe I’m cherry-picking my sources, but their observations seem to suggest that what I’m going through isn’t so abnormal. It is just that life isn’t always easy, and expects some degree of openness to change; not everyone has this. Honesty and intimacy in relationships doesn’t come for free; not everyone is willing to put in the effort. People know that they should pay attention to their heads, but listen only to their hearts at important moments. In short, it is clear that life isn’t perfect.
All I need to realise, I suppose, is that being happy comes when you decide to look beyond the imperfections and appreciate life for what it is.