A long-standing plan, cancelled at the very last minute. Nothing in my diary for today.
And now I have to decide – how will I spend my time?
I notice how many internal forces are pulling upon me.
A long to-do list. Perhaps if I can just finish it, everything will be ok.
The lure of busy-work. I could noodle at emails, browse the web, and numb myself while feeling that I’m at least doing something.
A wish to do something that would be nurturing, self-caring, creative or expressive. And a nagging feeling of guilt and shame at choosing that over my obligations to others.
An embarrassment of possibilities (and embarrassment is exactly how it feels). Many choices I could make, and really no good way of discerning which will be most of value. Even choosing the criteria by which to choose is disorienting. What will be most productive? well-rewarded? enjoyable? fulfilling? time-efficient? revitalising? beautiful? What will make the biggest contribution?
I notice how charged my body feels. It’s difficult to settle. This terribly small dilemma – how to spend a day – is caught up with so many narratives and expectations, many of which I’m not sure are even really mine. I could easily spend the whole day in this state, caught between conflicting inner stories and inner longings.
I think this is angst, the mood about which I wrote yesterday. A moment when instead of being absorbed in the world, fully engaged simply in responding to whatever comes, the horizons of the world – its limits – become clear. And the groundlessness of any of the decisions I might make about this singular day become clear too.
And in that realisation is a path onwards. Because angst is reminding me, quite precisely, how things are. That the particular way I respond to this now-open day is just one of a million ways to be, each with its own rewards and its own limits. That there is no way of knowing.
And when I remember that, I can laugh a little at my seriousness and my conviction that I have to get it right. And I can remember that there’s boldness and aliveness simply in deciding, even when there’s no way of being sure that the decision is a good one, or having any real idea how it will turn out.