I am in ontological crisis. I seem to remain in ontological crisis. For years now I’ve contemplated my snug position in this state of being. And for years now I’ve assumed it was temporary, that once my life began to “fall into place” this feeling of crisis would recede, never to be felt again. I no longer believe this to be True.
I’m beginning to understand that such a state never really resolves itself for those of us who strive, at even the basest of levels, to live deeply fulfilled and examined lives. It’s difficult because it often feels as though the only consistency is the teeter-tottering of what’s important and necessary for me. Some days I feel as though I don’t need anything more than a creative binge, a good film, or outstanding conversation that runs the gamut from fluff to something more somber and philosophical. Even just learning something new about life, humanity, and the people I love suffices. All of these things, alone and in sum, help me to feel and intuit the truth of whatever life is, and they cost nothing. Other days I require the world, and that costs everything.
It’s tough, too, being of a creative mind. To create something out of nothing–to capture the depth and complexity of an idea, an experience from the mind and transform it into something that is both tangible and abstract at the same time and also perfectly primed to take on the infinite depths and experiences of others–is even more exhausting than it sounds. It is exhausting in a physical but not physical way: blank. empty. exsanguinated.
For my thirtieth birthday I received a copy of my favorite poem (Spelling, by Margaret Atwood) printed on paper that looks as though it has been carved out of the sky on a fair day: kyanite blue with cumulus clouds. I read it almost daily and remember that ‘a word after a word after a word,’ is not just power, but what I love to do. And to know so intimately what I love to do is priceless because it is, perhaps, one of only a few constants in this experience that is mine alone.
The fact that I’ve come to understand this while still underemployed and deeply unsettled about everything that comes with that, not only strengthens this belief, but also assuages some of my present anxiety. Where there’s no strife and struggle, there is no growth. And where there’s examination and contemplation, there will always be strife and struggle.
And so now, I suppose, instead of fighting the pulling, pushing, and gravity of this ride, I’m concentrating now on breathing through it, enjoying it, and no longer calling it crisis, but