What they don’t tell you about life is that you live through every minute of it. You exist every moment. There is no off switch (that isn’t permanent anyway). And for me, this is excruciating. So often I just want to hit pause, take a step back, recharge, and rejoin where I left off. Instead I spend hours aimless and tuned out in my apartment with some show or another playing in the background. Days and weeks can go by, no progress is made, and the depression is worse. The desperation for a pause button increases and the cycle repeats itself.
I am unremarkable. An average girl, college educated, from a broken middle class family, working artist, with a series of long term partners, cats, and penchant for all things pineapple. I can easily be described as basic though I truly despise that term. My professional reputation is solid and many of my colleagues may describe me as anything but average, but that’s only because I fake it well. My anonymity isn’t because I’m working on some groundbreaking work. I’m likely having a massive crisis of confidence and blankly staring at Law & Order on the television.
I am not writing this to be confessional. I don’t feel the need to chronicle my life to strangers. Yes, I’m writing as if I’m talking to someone because, honestly, that’s what I really need. Someone to talk to. I think more people need that than we understand. In our hyper-connected society we have lost human connection and it killing many of us spiritually and physically.
The sucker punch of this ‘living every moment’ existence is that those moments can be incredibly isolated and lonely. To quote Albert Einstein:
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
In Buddhism this can be called Dukkha, the universal suffering that all people experience that is invariably caused by desire and ego that can be overcome through the eightfold path. Which is another solitary experience. It’s a contradiction for the social animal that we are. (One girl’s opinion) At the end of the day it’s all the same, isolation, depression, severe loneliness, crippling fear of not making something of myself leading to listless hours of nothing. Rinse. Repeat.
And then the sun will be down, I’ll feel the need to leave my house for the first time all day and head to where I know I won’t be alone: the bar.
Local bars are the universal landing ground for people seeking connection to others. It’s the reason that co-workers gather there after a long day, bros use it as trolling grounds, and networking groups use it as a meet-up location where strangers might be involved. Alcohol is social lubrication and a great way to numb the hollow ache of loneliness.