Pining (Stop competing with ghosts)


160427 All-Day Breakfast—Pining—#195

Pining is a mental and physical decline. It means to experience pain and to suffer. It causes you to weaken and waste away.

While pine used to be synonymous for punishment, it has come to mean the torture of being separated from something you love.

You can pine for the past (the good old days), a loved one (your girlfriend), or even a geographical landscape (the mountains).

I often pine for a different sense of self.

You could call this feeling sorry for myself, or even mild depression, but it’s just so much more specific than that.

It’s a specific sadness ascribed to the feeling of making decisions and living with consequences—mourning a past that never was and a future that can never be. It is the feeling of staring into a shrinking pool of possibilities as you grow older. Forks have been taken in the road and there is a soul-ache attached to the not knowing what may have been, who else I could have become.

Of course there’s a word in German that comes close to this: Sehnsucht.

Sehnsucht represents thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences.

I try not to dwell on this emotion, but it come on strong sometimes. Especially when I’m feeling weak and vulnerable, or angry and unlovable.

I wonder if I could have become better, have made better choices, and ended up with a better mindset, a better outlook, a better life.

I’ve often said that envy is my kryptonite. But “better” is my Achilles heel.

My life, my psychological programming, my perspective, my raison d’être, is all predicated on being better.

But then again, here i am.

A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. —Henry David Thoreau

I still exist. And the rest of my decisions still matter, still shape me, still move me forward. Why am I in competition with old ghosts?

The older I get, the less I know and the more I understand.

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