It sounds melodramatic, but I haven’t been really excited about anything in about eight and a half years. I’ve accomplished some pretty big things, seen some grand sights, and visited places I’ve never been to before, but none of these got me excited. What they did was make me anxious. I used to get some pretty intense anticipatory anxiety, where the thought of any upcoming event made me nervous. If it was a social outing, I would worry about coming across weird and being the social dunce. If it was a trip, I’d worry about my spinal issues flaring up or coping with depleted energy levels. If it was something as simple as a new task, I’d worry about missing the obvious or making a stupid mistake. In each case, the anxiety would push me into a self-preservation response of zoning out (as was the case at my wedding). This has gradually decreased over the years, but when every experience has worry and stress attached to it, excitement is quickly overshadowed. Like I said, I haven’t been really excited in about eight and a half years.
But I’m starting to get excited now.
What’s changed that I am actually excited, and what am I excited about? To be honest, I can’t even really explain it. I’ve experienced so much growth and so many new sensations lately that I can’t even trace them back to what sparked this transformation. I mean, I can tell you the insecurities that once ruled my thought life have been largely evicted, that exploring new and different interests has broadened my scope of life immensely, and that my self-image has gone from hazy polaroid to razor-sharp HD. But I think those are still the manifestations of something internal that switched, something I noticed and felt instinctively, but was quickly buried beneath the ensuing avalanche of progress and growth. Whatever it is, I like it.
Instead of being on edge all the time, I feel like I’m on the edge of something grand, an opportunity not afforded to many. Until now, I was reacting to my accident. Post-trauma stress, psychological issues, cognitive impairments, and physical limitations governed everything I could (and couldn’t) do. However, these elements have faded dramatically, especially in the last couple months, and their influence has dwindled accordingly. What I’m left with now is the opportunity to make a life the way I want to make it. I can make myself the way I want to be. It’s a fresh start, a second chance, a New Year’s resolution.
I recognize now, as I’m writing this, that perhaps the biggest hindrance in coming to this understanding was the persistent thought that I was incapable of making a smart or responsible decision. This fear of making a costly mistake or poor choice pushed me into a dormant existence, until, for whatever reason, I erupted in a fury of “irresponsibility“, and chose to do something simply because I wanted to – responsibility and logic be damned.
And from this solitary act came an immutable truth: that my life doesn’t make me, I make my life – starting now.