It would be absolutely fantastic to float in the vacuums of space, but it is also absolutely fantastic to feel a spring breeze with the warmth of the sun on your face, down here on Earth.
I have proved that I can be happy in this existence, but I am suddenly feeling that this is no longer viable. I have peers to share laughs with, and a place to call home, and for the moment I am making ends meet. What is it about allowing myself to enjoy this freedom that makes me feel that I don’t deserve it? I haven’t done enough to feel this good. I haven’t sacrificed my time and energy into obtaining a doctorate whilst holding three jobs, fathering a child, and coaching a team for the local climbing club. What is it about my life that keeps me searching for the affirmation that I deserve to be here? I have suffered a great deal as a result of child onset Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and now Crohn’s Disease. I have had to let go of many dreams over the years to make way for the inevitable collapse of my mental capacity. What is it about allowing myself to feel good that makes me think I should feel guilty? Perhaps it is because I feel I do not deserve blind happiness, and therefore, as an unworthy participant of this life, I am ashamed that I was able to experience it at all.
The very existence of the human race is fascinating. The mere ingenuity of engineering can be an astonishing spectacle (I am currently judging myself for not following this career path), yet Earth itself is the most fascinating engineering feat of all, and mankind was not behind its creation. Then why do I feel I am unworthy of life? Does this lack of self-worth come from religion? Social norms? What would I need to do to feel valuable? I can feel my sense of contentment slipping away. My mind urges me to writhe around to find a better reason to exist, as if my current situation has somehow ceased to be enough of a reason.I know I cannot be the only one with these feelings. This way of thinking may be why so many of us achieve extraordinary things. These measures of success leave us wanting for more; ever the next adventure, so that we may keep ourselves convinced that we deserve to be here. I have been trying to reconcile this desire to be something extraordinary with the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to be something ordinary, because being ordinary is still being, and that in itself is grand.
My shame for contentment could be due to social reasons, or it could be due to my neurosis. I feel that contentment is not generally accepted by many people, myself included, because that would make things like shopping or planning trips unnecessary. Feeling satisfactory in our lives would force us to enjoy the present, rather than have us look upon what might come tomorrow. The few who are genuinely content within their lives are often viewed as repulsive to the rest of us discontented fools; as if the majority cannot fathom this way of being, even when they yearn for inner peace themselves. I do not require anyone else’s permission than my own to live this way, to be contented. Whether as significant as a scientist or as vastly under-appreciated as a janitor, we are each a unique experience, and I am learning to allow myself to be this experience.