Answers? Maybe.

Things I’ve learned in the last 48 hours:

  1. All but two of you people can not follow instructions (and one of those two kind of cheats.)
  2. More people feel similarly to how I feel than I realized.
  3. Those questions were deeper and more stirring than I imagined them to be.

I read my last two blog posts to my therapist yesterday.  Part of what prompted me writing them was thinking about how I feel about my life at this point and what may or may not be the point of continuing to go to therapy.  I felt like, at least in part, those posts answered some of the questions that I’ve been considering and that I imagine Deb might be considering, as well.

When I read her the questions her eyes got really big and she said, “Wow!  Those are some big questions.  Have you gotten any responses?”

“Yes,” I told her, “One person responded right before I left to come here.  Which is disappointing because at this point, I know the post has been read ten times.”

The truth is I thought, however naively, that those questions would be easy for people to answer.  I thought most of the people who read that post would be able to whip out a few sentences and explain the meaning of their lives to me.  I don’t honestly know if I thought everyone would have a wonderful, beautiful, meaningful story to tell that would confirm my suspicion that my life doesn’t mean anything, or if I thought everyone would have a story similar to mine that would help me find some sort of comfort in this meaningless, day to day grind.  Whatever I thought, I expected to have my comments section filled up with replies to my questions and my pleas for assistance.

The truth is Jody, my first respondent, nearly took the words out of my mouth.  Jody says:

“I get up because I have to. I get up because I am awake. I have nothing that makes me bound from my bed in happiness or joy or fear or desire. I get up because that is what we do.”

“You know these questions make me feel like I have nothing going for me.”

“Hell, I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like a waste of space. That I will be one of those people when gone no one misses.”

Terri’s answers leaned a little more in the other direction, relating that what gets her out of bed in the morning is a job she enjoys, with people she likes and feeling valued in her work.  I envy that for sure.

Terri cheated a little.  I specifically asked that you not answer with “my kids” and that’s what she did, but after reading her answer, I understand why:

“I don’t know yet. I really don’t know. The easy answer is my kids. My kids are the focus right now. Raise them. Help them be successful. Help them take flight and hopefully help them not to make the same mistakes I made. What scares the hell out of me is who I am and what is my purpose when they’re grown and on their own. I was barely old enough to start wondering about my purpose before they came along, so I had to put those thoughts off for the past 21 years. A couple more years and I’ll have to face that question for real.”

I’m surprised really that only two people responded to my little “interview” and even more surprised that I didn’t get even one uber-peppy, my-life-is-all-rainbows-and-butterflies-wonderful responses.

My answers, which I did not want to share in that post, are far more doom and gloom:

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Fear.  I get out of bed because I’m afraid not to.  I’m afraid to lose my job and not have a pay check.  I’m afraid to lose my income and not be able to pay my rent and my car payment and my bills and have my life be turned upside down to suck even more than it already does because I’m homeless and broke.  I don’t get out of bed because I can’t wait to get to work.  I don’t get out of bed because there are such great things and wonderful people waiting for me outside my front door that I can hardly wait to get going.  I get out of bed – late – because if I don’t, things are going to go from bad to worse.  And that’s a really sucky reason.

What do you believe is your purpose in life?  What is your reason for living?

I haven’t got the slightest inkling what my purpose is.  There really isn’t even anything more to say about that.  I have no idea what may be my reason for living.

What do you live for?  What keeps you going?

My answer is the same.  It isn’t for any kind of fulfillment or personal satisfaction.  I don’t have any of that.  I don’t get any satisfaction, whatsoever, from my job.  Aside from the paycheck every other week, which never seems to go far enough, my job gives me nothing.  I don’t like the people I work with; I don’t like the customers I serve; I don’t even like the field I’m in and yet, I have no inkling of what I could do instead that would provide any of that satisfaction.

I don’t have children, nor do I want them.  I really thought, though, that being a Big Brother would be something that would give me some of that sense of accomplishment or fulfillment; I thought it would give me some satisfaction.  It doesn’t.  I like Lil’B a lot and for the most part we have fun when we hang out, but if something happened and I couldn’t be his Big Brother any more, I really wouldn’t be bothered by it.  In fact, it would be a bit of a relief.

So while it does seem to be somewhat of a cop-out answer, what keeps me going is the fact that I am alive.  I do wake up every morning, like it or not, and therefore, I have to keep going… like it or not.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except to say that clearly I’m not the only person in my world who struggles with these questions.  I suppose that’s comforting in a way, although, knowing how very much it sucks, I do feel badly for the other people in the same boat.

While the questions were intended to be for my edification, I can’t help feeling badly for asking them now that I realize how tough they are.  I hope no one was harmed by reading those questions and being forced to consider them.  I don’t know why I didn’t realize how tough they would be.

I don’t really know where to go from here.  I am reaching for a conclusion, both for my state of mind, and for this post.  It seems, however, like the truth is there is no conclusion… yet.

Interview

The song says, “Gotta put it all behind you, ‘cause life goes on.”  My response was, “’Life goes on?’  What life?  I struggle a lot with this one and it’s actually prompted what will probably be tomorrow’s post if I can get it together in time,” and then I mulled it over for a while.  Obviously, it wasn’t “tomorrow’s” post, but it is next so close enough.  I decided to conduct a little interview with you, the reader.  There were a few questions I wanted to ask in an effort to gain a better understanding, to try and change my own perspective about this thought, “Life goes on.”

Five specific questions came to mind.  What gets you out of bed in the morning?  What do you believe is your purpose in life?  What is your reason for living?  What do you live for?  What keeps you going?  I wanted to ask these questions of my readers, but I wanted to ask them without having to answer them myself.  So I mulled some more.

I realized that if I posted this list of questions without delving into it myself, people would make some assumptions about what’s behind the questions.  People would, perhaps not so much answer the questions as try to offer me encouragement, or solutions, or hope against whatever they presumed my motivation for asking might have been.  But here’s the thing.  I’m not sure I know the answers to the questions for myself and that’s the reason I’m asking.

Yes, I want to compare myself to your answers, but I don’t want to compare myself to your answers.  That sentence, of course, makes no sense to anyone but me.  See, a very stereotypical depressive behavior is comparing oneself:  Oh, he’s better looking than I am.  She makes more money than I do.  I wish my hair looked like his. And all that does is lead to a more and more harmful image of oneself and reinforce the negativity in their already troubled mind.  That is not what I’m trying to do here.

I thought about these questions and what my own answers might be and perhaps I’ll share them later.  I don’t want to share them now, because I don’t want my answers to influence yours and I don’t want to reinforce your potential need to “encourage” me.  That’s not what I’m looking for here.

The truth is I’ve been feeling a little better in some respects the last few days and I realized, sometime last night or this morning, what I believe is the reason why.  It is difficult to explain.  See, depression, among many other ugly little problems, is the lack of hope – wait… No it’s not.  Depression is a sense of hopelessness… It doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference, but there must be…  I’ve lived most of my life with a sense of hopelessness, and yet, I always had hope.  I always hoped for more, for something better.  I always believed that things had to get better.  The thing is that all that hope and all that believing there is something better, has just let me down over and over again.  And now, I don’t really have any hope for things to get better.  I don’t really believe that it will get any better than this and I don’t really feel hopeless exactly.

What I realized last night or this morning is that I’ve stopped “planning” and, I suppose on some level, started “accepting”.  I’ve stopped thinking about what life is going to be like “when such and such happens”.  I suppose in a way that kind of planning is the same as comparing; comparing my life now, to this vision of what my life could be if… It seems like that is a good thing, and yet, without planning, I’m not sure what I’m aiming for.

Anyway, I decided to ask these questions of you because I wanted to get another perspective, to get out of my own head a little, and maybe get a better glimpse at reality.

And I’ll admit that there is another, ulterior motive that plays a small part, a very small part.  There are still a lot more people reading this blog than ever actually comment on it.  And that’s fine.  I don’t comment on every single blog post I read.  Sometimes I think I should, but I don’t always have anything to say, or feel like I have anything to say that really adds value to what I’ve just read.

But I’m asking, if you’re reading this post, if you’ve gotten this far, please answer the questions, even if you never have and never will again comment on my blog.  If you don’t feel comfortable answering the questions in a comment, then please, send them to me in an e-mail to Riggledo at gmail dot com.  I promise to keep it confidential.

So the questions are:

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  (Not your alarm, but your motivation.)

What do you believe is your purpose in life?  What is your reason for living?

What do you live for?  What keeps you going?

I know that many of you would answer “My kids” to at least one of those questions and I’m not suggesting that kids aren’t a valid answer, but kids are secondary.  Kids come later in life, by choice (usually) and, well…  “Kids” is just too easy an answer.  I’m asking you to dig deeper than that.  I want to know what it is about your life that makes life worthwhile for you, not for someone else.

I also know that these questions kind of point to each other so don’t feel like you have to give me a hundred word essay under each of those questions (though you’re welcome to), just tell me your story.  Tell me what makes your life worth living each and every day.  I hope you’ll all do my little interview.  I’m looking forward to your answers…

Please?  I’ll be your best friend… 😉