C l e a n

Not drinking.
Watershed // Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004

Iíve been thinking more about the events of my date. Itís turned into a watershed of sorts.

In the last entry I said that I felt my old, drinking life was more interesting and enticing than my new, sober life. I do sometimes feel that way, but I can usually recognize it as false nostalgia.

But my old life did really trump the new in one important way: it was so much easier. I never made any difficult decisions. I never met anyone new or did anything hard. I never took any risks. That is, I never took any emotional risks, while ignoring all the physical risks I was taking. I rarely felt emotional discomfort. Things didnít bother me. I was sheltered, comfortable, shielded.

Thatís what I donít have anymore, and when these false memories of my exciting, rockstar old life start tormenting me, I think thatís really what Iím missing. And itís no wonder that Iím most vulnerable to these fits of nostalgia when Iím in the midst of doing something really difficult, like going on a date.

And hereís another, perhaps even more important, realization. I think Iím holding myself back by constantly referring to my ďold lifeĒ vs. the ďnew life.Ē Itís dangerous because, by setting up this duality and separating the old from the new, I encourage myself to believe that my old life is still out there, still existing, still available to me. Itís waiting in a dirty apartment, running out of cigarettes, waiting for me to come back from a beer run. Iím constantly tormenting myself with the idea that I could jump back into my old life at any time, that it would close around me seamlessly with all its comforts, as if I had never changed.

Well, itís not true. I donít have that choice. There is no old life, and no new life. There is one life, and part of it is in the past, lost, gone, unreachable. I guess thereís more mourning to be done. It seems to go on and on.

I wrote before about how people believe they are happier when they have choices, but research has shown that having choices actually breeds dissatisfaction. This is a prime example. Because I imagined that I had the choice to return to the old, I saw all kinds of flaws in the new. But there is only one life, and no going back.

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recently:
Visitation - Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2004
Tired of This - Monday, Jul. 12, 2004
Watershed - Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004
First Date - Friday, Apr. 23, 2004
Online Dating - Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004