Sometimes I forget how much my life has changed over the last 10 years. I have to take the time and deliberately look back to see how far I have come. I am no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck and scrambling to stay one step ahead of the bills. I still have debts, but they are less now, and manageable as I pay them down. I realize that I no longer have to seek outlets to get away from everyday life and the challenges it presents. My interest in politics is still as keen as ever, but I know now that I used that as a reason to avoid everyday issues for a long time.
It was a year ago that Hal and I decided that we were going to move to a smaller place and focus on ourselves for a change. We were going to save more money and focus on each other and The Stooges. It seemed like a huge decision at the time, and it was, but it was the first step in taking back control of our lives. As I look back to that decision, it was one of the best that we have ever made. We are happier now because we have gained control over the things that we were struggling against.
It was so easy to lose myself in the grand struggle against injustice, but at the same time, I was also running away from my own problems. I understand that I cannot change the world single-handed, but I also don’t feel the same need to artificially inject things into my life to get me through the day. I was running away from life rather than embracing it, and those times I missed will never come again. I found little joy in my life outside of Hal and The Stooges, they were my fortress against the outside world.
Things are better now. I feel I can breathe again. I have slowly regained control over my life and the stuff in it. I no longer live in dread of things, I look forward to them. I no longer feel like I am just surviving. The key to achieving this freedom was, ironically, isolating myself in no small degree from things that I used to worry about. I have discovered the patterns that made me unhappy, and I can now take the necessary steps to eliminate them.
Instead of always focusing on the negative, I have to make the conscious effort to look on the bright side. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because we are all creatures of habit, be they good or bad. Rather than engaging in a futile struggle to find the next windmill to joust to prove my own self-worth, I need to find a more worthy opponent to challenge me. My core beliefs have not changed, but my outlook has, and I approach the things I care about from a more positive angle.
Anger and resentment and jealousy and fear are no longer in control of my life. I am not entirely free of those negative emotions, but I am in control of them, and it is a beautiful feeling.
Isolating myself does not mean completely cutting myself off from the world, it means that I now approach the world from a more complete perspective that I control for a change.