When I first arrived in Bali I could only describe myself as high-strung. I was constantly in state of anxiety, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
The past few years I’ve steadily ascended a peak that I thought I wanted – to be fair I think it was what my previous self has wanted – but after getting to the peak I had altitude sickness.
Being in Bali is like trying to make a slow descent. I keep looking back, wondering if I could have stayed at the peak, but I knew the decision to descend has been set in motion much earlier than I knew.
It is a painful process, the attempt to murder one’s former existence. I thought breaking up with people was hard, but it seems harder breaking up with my former self. There was so much I’d invested, there was so much other people had invested. I don’t know what to do with my former dreams – disown them, deny them, honor them? Do I process my former self as a farce, as evidence that I didn’t know myself well enough, or do I accept that it is simply one cycle that has ended and I must start a new one, no matter how much I actually miss being on my old one?
Sometimes, love is just not enough, the song goes. It is not enough, be it people, cities or careers. One’s calling, or one’s natural self is difficult not to heed. My new self started cannibalizing my old self before I even knew what was happening.
After more than 3 weeks in Bali I have settled into some strange, foreign rhythm. I stopped looking for things to do, I am now able to endure an entire afternoon on the beach without feeling fidgety. My emotions have stablized after scraping the depths of my darkness last week. I am no longer psychosomatically anxious about the future because at this point, I don’t really see one, to be honest. Chronic pain forces one to be present in the moment.
I am resigned. That it is not really within my control what happens. In some ways resignation has liberated me. I am beyond despair because it doesn’t change anything.
That said, it has just been 3 weeks. I admit that it is unrealistic to expect myself to be jumping with life (I was never jumping with life anyway) after 9 months of dysfunctional health. My eyes are still dry, pain and red, but I think my heart has stopped swinging from 50 to 120 beats per second. I was forced to quit coffee after a spate of nauseating migraine last week, and I am inclined to continue without it, because there is only so much I can self-sabotage my adrenals. I miss the mental aliveness after a cup of good coffee, but I can throw that into that growing bucket of all the things I have missed about my former life.
It is like missing former long-term romantic relationships. Sometimes it is just nobody’s fault except it is not the right fit and we know we have to end it, but it doesn’t remove what we miss, and may continue to miss, for as long as our existences last.
I am still moving downward, and perhaps when I finally hit the bottom, I may finally find the mobility to move sideways, instead of constantly looking upward or downward. Being among the clouds may be beautiful, but I miss being able to freely seek more ground.