Like the New Year, birthdays by nature tend to suggest introspection.
Last year I was recovering from emergency surgery, a repair of an intestinal blockage from an adhesion. I can recall that the sole goal I had for the year to come was to regain my health. It took me almost a year, but I can confidently say I have achieved that aspiration. I ran seven miles today, and am entered in my first race ever, which will take place in two days, at night under the gates in central park. I am excited and proud about this.
Sadly this is not the prevalent mood of my recollections. I have realized that in many ways I am not happy with the person I have become. Over the past week or two I have been getting a strong feeling that I have become closed, cold, judgmental, and most importantly, unconcerned with other's troubles and tribulations.
The more I have become aware of these changes in myself, the more I try to speculate where these feelings came from. The changes have been so subtle it is hard to trace them back to their origins. They could come from when I allowed a good friend to take a job under me, to help him out, and then he betrayed me. He refused to do his job, and blamed me, which left me tortured to the point where I could not sleep. Eventually he left the company. Or it could have been the fact that I later had to fire his replacement for completely lying about his experiences and abilities when applying for the job. Or the fact that throughout this entire experience I was going through two more emergency room visits, discovery of a 7cm hernia and the subsequent repair thereof. Or maybe it is a response to the constant pressure from my superiors to succeed according to their goals and aspirations. Or it could be the fact that at some point I have let my concern for my fiscal security to blind my need to change my work situation, that somewhere I became more materialistic. Or it could be that I have become frustrated calming the dramas in my friends’ lives that are incredibly superficial and superfluous.
All I know is somewhere I lost the ability to feel sorry for anyone else but myself, I have lost my ability to empathize. Somewhere in all of my drama from last year I have become obsessed with my own misery. I go through the motions of listening to others and giving them advice, but have been faking true sympathy.
I have to focus and re-teach myself to listen to others again. This should include me volunteering some time to help those less fortunate than myself, because heaven knows there are many. More importantly, I need to look into whether or not I can transfer the skills I have into a job that does more for people, which goes farther away from the money-producing machine. While exciting and flattering to see myself succeed in this world, I don't believe it is necessarily worth my soul. I truly miss myself.
Looking out my window it is snowing, and a couple of inches have accumulated. It is white, quiet, still. I could look at is as symbolism to a fresh start. Or a blanket of cold that will eventually give birth to green and flower blossoms again. Or just appreciate it for what it is in the moment: Pretty.
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