Existential Vacuum

I see snow

 

I see snow.

You probably see winter. Blizzards. White out conditions. Accidents. Slippery roads. Fast and dangerous drivers weaving in and out of traffic.

I see snow.

But I’m not blind to what you see.

I drive the same roads. In the same weather conditions. With the same time constraints, and I get lapped, by the same reckless drivers.

But I choose and want to gaze at the snow.

The fluffy, beautiful, falling snow.

But it wasn’t always like this.

There was a time, a long period of time too, when I was unable to be comfortable with myself, and refused to let go of the many stories, which I falsely invented about myself. Stories that held me back, like quicksand. That demanded way too much of my life, and left me completely exhausted.

There was a time when I resembled the walking dead. A time when I was not alive.

I did not know happiness. Or understood that I was not determined by my environment.

I became a human being that has learned artfully how to bend, to bend low, and bend often, but no longer a creature, that could not help himself and break.

And so, I now see the snow.

I see one snow flake anxiously following another, in very rapid succession and purpose. Falling on trees, on the cold pavement, or on anything and everything in its sights.

Relentless. Unapologetic. Unconcerned with what we think of it.

Unforgiving.

I see snow.

I hope you do too.

Many of us become stuck in what the psychiatrist, Dr. Viktor Frankl called, the existential vacuum.

We become trapped in a dense darkness. Not a suicidal type of darkness, an emotionally painful darkness, but the type of darkness that confounds many brilliant astronomers. The darkness of space and time, where nothing exists, and nothing happens.

All of us. Without exception.

At some point, inevitably, absolutely, and sometimes, a few times over, we face this existential vacuum, despite our stubbornness.

When we are born we are given this task, to figure out why we are here. To figure out what being alive is all about.

We are on a quest to figure out what makes life worthwhile.

What makes her meaningful.

Perhaps we are here to see the snow. Or ignore it, and see instead, the havoc that snow gets blamed for.

Boredom.

That is the true indicator, you are smack in the middle of an existential vacuum.

Boredom.

You have nothing to do. Or you have so much to do, that you can do nothing.

You have no time for yourself or for anything that matters.

You’ll do it later, of course. When you have more money. More time. When you retire. When your kids grow up. When your husband changes. When they elect a new president.

You are satisfied to live a life of exhaustion. Numbing repetition. Confusion and full of anxiety.

You’ve settled for a life without excitement.

A life with traffic accidents, but a life without snow.

When was the last time you let a snowflake land on your hand and gazed at it like a child?

Saw the stars? Visited your grandmother who is imprisoned with dementia? Were kind to your ex-wife? Or were understanding of the pressures your children’s face at school?

When was the last time you were truly excited about something? Couldn’t sleep because you couldn’t wait to get up and get going in the morning?

Ate meals to fuel your body, instead of to simply pleasure and soothe your mind?

I see snow.

Do you?

I see things that I missed for decades.

I am excited about living again, to the point that I’m worried I will burst.

I hope you don’t have to wait that long, to get excited too.

I hope you get to see what for so long, choose not to see.

I hope you let go.

And see the snow.