Recently I’ve been feeling somewhat dissatisfied, disaffected, disengaged and unmotivated, and at the same time mildly anxious–about my health, my future, my career, the direction the country is headed under this administration and the likelihood of four more years of eroded civil liberties, loss of trust and respect in the international arena, and growing authoritarianism and unilateralism–though not overwhelmingly anxious about any one thing in particular. My sleep lately has been troubled and fitful, punctuated by dark and ominous dreams, dreams of death, destruction, violence and storms.
Is this just my mid-life crisis? In the past year both my dad and my grandfather have died; is that double-shot of coming face-to-face with mortality primarily fueling this existential drama? Or maybe the 20th-year Harvard reunion I decided to forego, but whose passage nonetheless left me feeling like a failure, in the realization that I’ve accomplished nothing worthwhile; created nothing of lasting beauty or significance in the intervening two decades; neither discovered nor exercised any useful talent or skill; only rarely having made or sustained any true connections with other human beings; and even, despite years and years of soul-searching, introspection and self-examination, actually understanding less and less about who I am and what in the hell I’m doing?
Believing as I do that this is all we get, why have I done nothing better with my time and my life? And yet, even in this moment of rare recognition of the uselessness of this kind of self-indulgence, it’s still all I seemingly can manage.