Scrolling through Instagram as a brief reprieve from the mocking stillness of my already mountainous pile of readings to complete by next week, one of Esther Perel’s posts invited us to consider our resolutions this year in terms of promises we may need to break, or ending commitments that no longer serve us. It’s a refreshing take, I think. She suggests that we start to do this through the poetry of David Whyte, and I just happen to keep this screen shot of his poem Finesterre on my phone. I had come to know of him through his interview on the program On Being (linked to his episode). It is excellent, and I recommend it highly–and, as always, the unedited conversations are in my mind superior to the produced versions.
I think the line that captures my state of mind the most, and what I am experiencing most fundamentally now are the words ‘no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass/except to call an end to the way you had come.’ It feels like more than a turning point; rather, a much greater endeavor, the forging of an entirely new path. And this includes cutting many things away that perhaps once did serve me, but now no longer do. Broad things like control and resentment (the heaviness of resentment… what a weight), but also narrower and smaller, specific things, like understanding that my wife will never figure out how to correctly load the dishwasher. I’m working on it. It still drives me crazy.
I think that there are a ton of people my age around me right now that are going through the same feelings and emotions of change that I am, and there is an important decision to be made: Do you hold on to and perhaps dig in to all of the things and words and deeds that you think have defined you, made you who you are, and maybe even stagnated you? Or, do you say, that’s all done, those stories aren’t relevant to me anymore–those stories weren’t even mine!–and let them go in order to build yourself in your own ideal, and in your own vision of success and wonder? Walking into shadows will always be hard work.