C l e a n

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

I�ve been thinking more about the events of my date. It�s 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 didn�t bother me. I was sheltered, comfortable, shielded.

That�s what I don�t have anymore, and when these false memories of my exciting, rockstar old life start tormenting me, I think that�s really what I�m missing. And it�s no wonder that I�m most vulnerable to these fits of nostalgia when I�m in the midst of doing something really difficult, like going on a date.

And here�s another, perhaps even more important, realization. I think I�m holding myself back by constantly referring to my �old life� vs. the �new life.� It�s 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. It�s waiting in a dirty apartment, running out of cigarettes, waiting for me to come back from a beer run. I�m 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, it�s not true. I don�t 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 there�s 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.

prev // next

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