Unfinished Business

Unfinished business
Unfinished business

Life is good.

Well, at least not terribly unpleasant or painful. It’s quietly humming along, filled with inconsequential, petty annoyances, lightly seasoned with contentment and a pinch of occasional laughter. And that’s something, I’m fully aware, to be immensely thankful for, because it could be so, so much worse.

Life is good until one day it’s not. And then, if I’ve still got some luck in reserve, it’ll get good again. And then one day yet again, it’s not so good anymore, and worsening, and it won’t ever get good again. I’m not saying any of this to be depressing or morose (who, me?), but because it’s a valuable thing for me to remember and I need to keep reminding myself. It puts things in perspective. This is not a ground breaking thought, just something that I need to say out loud, or some reasonable facsimile of “out loud”.

I spend too much time and energy thinking about things that are unimportant, too much time and energy doing things I don’t care about, and far too much time and energy being afraid by rote, seemingly trying to inoculate myself from unnamed future calamities by doing barely anything I know I want and need to, like some type of pre-emptive penance. Flying under the radar, cloaked in stealthy blandness and dullness, coasting along. And when life is “good”, I’ll coast for months, years, decades, on those calm winds. But I know what life is like when it’s not good, I remember. But I don’t remember enough; I don’t remember often enough nor deeply enough. Because I keep on thinking about these unimportant things and doing things I don’t care about, over and over and over again. For months, years, decades.

Recently I’ve been thinking about unfinished things. People and things in my life I’ve abandoned and who’ve abandoned me. Things I wanted but didn’t have the courage to get. Things I thought I didn’t want and didn’t have the wisdom and self-knowledge to realize I was losing something by discarding or neglecting them. And I’ve been thinking about habits. Habitual survival, habitual fear. Behaviours and thoughts I don’t generally notice or question because they’ve become so natural, but are obviously so counterproductive, so at odds to what I actually need and value. I learned them from other people. People who don’t value the things that I do and don’t despise the things I do. They interact with, and perceive, the world far differently than I do. I know I’m not the only one on auto pilot, but it gets tiresome not steering.

Unfinished business. The things I’d begun because I felt that they were worth doing, or because they were positive and natural to my nature, only to be abandoned because they were too difficult, or too scary, or too painful. And because I talked myself out of even believing they were worth doing, maybe partly as a way of avoiding dealing with these things that were difficult or scary or painful. But also, I’m thinking now, partly because I allowed other people’s perceptions of what is worthy to affect my own perceptions, without even realizing.

Anyway, I can’t change the past, only the future. We’re all going to leave some things unfinished, whether mundane or momentous. The question is: what exactly do I want to be doing in the days and weeks and months and years leading up to that moment when I’ll have no choice but to irrevocably leave things unfinished?