It’s no accident that the last blog post I wrote was when my dog, Birdie, died. Writing has taken a back seat to many things in the past 4 months, none of them very positive or uplifting. But conveniently, as 2012 wraps up, it appears that there could be some resolution on the horizon to various forms of chaos that have plagued me for some time. I don’t want to jump the gun, of course, so I should assume some of my “issues” will persist into the new year. I guess that’s okay. I’m generally not a huge fan of major changes in life so I wouldn’t want to be entirely free from angst. That could be a little bit too different.
Earlier this year, during a particularly stressful period, someone made the observation that I was feeling a great deal of ambivalence. His observation went something like this: “you’re ambivalent about everything.” Everything? Really? This seemed like a sweeping generalization to me. So I said, meekly, “I wouldn’t say I’m ambivalent about everything.” To which he replied, “Oh, I would.” Well, skipping the defensive, knee-jerk analysis of what exactly his qualifications were in making this proclamation about my feelings about everything, let’s just say I didn’t feel good about this pronouncement. However, upon further examination, I later did, in fact, come to the conclusion that yes, actually, I was ambivalent about a number of things; everything is a bit far-reaching, but maybe, you know, a few things. Several things.
So, in my characteristically obsessive manner, I spent a great deal of time and energy mulling over what my ambivalence meant. As part of that, I had to also spend a great deal of time and energy mulling over exactly what ambivalence means, in and of itself, unrelated to me or my feelings. In the same way that when you look directly at a faintly twinkling star in the night sky it seems to disappear but when you look beside it, it comes back, I found the definition of ambivalence to be extremely elusive. The entire exercise began to dissolve into something that felt more like apathy, which I was beginning to understand all too well as I drove myself crazy with trying to decide what I felt and why. Apathy, as in "fuck it all, I don't care about any of this anymore, you want me to feel certain or definite about something? Ok, I am certain I just don't care."
Huh... it seemed the obsessiveness was not helping.
Fortunately, or unfortunately sometimes, life gets in the way of being able to incessantly ruminate over all of my thoughts and feelings as they pass through my mind and soon I found myself back to just co-existing with all the good and bad, the fun, the turmoil. And recently, I've begun to detect something in my heart that feels like resignation. For example, I am resigned to the fact that my adorable little Birdie is not coming back and in her place, I have a big lunk of a dog named Mandy who needs me and with whom I have fallen totally in love, despite the stress she causes me at times. And I am, for now, resigned to the fact that I am not going to wake up and don my creative writing outfit and prepare of pot of tea to take out to my charming writing shack in the woods where I will produce stunning works of written art. I might someday, but for now, I have been offered a great job that requires me to adhere to someone else's schedule. I can work my hopes and dreams in around the job and that might be incredibly helpful for me right now.
So is resignation a step up from ambivalence? Resignation, I think, implies that one feels at least a little bit certain, definite, resolved, settled, or sure, does it not? These are the words that I found when I looked up the opposite of ambivalence in an effort to define what it is I should be aiming for in my sentiments. The problem with resignation is that it sounds so grumpy, more like sullen acceptance rather than exhilarating certainty that one is making the right decision. But exhilarating certainty is a lot to ask for when it comes to making life choices. I suppose this is where faith comes in to the picture because if you can't trust that life will turn out okay then it seems like your only other choice is anxiety and paralysis and that is no way to go through life.
2013 is ready to unfold, a new year of growth and adventures, fun and pain. I gave up making resolutions several years back so at least I am not ambivalent about what I hope to change or achieve. I am certain I want to be happy. I definitely want to take care of my loved ones. My employment woes have been conveniently resolved for the time being. I feel settled on what is important, like my daughter and dogs, among other things. And I am sure that I am looking forward to the new and unknown. I could change my mind about that, though. I think I'll hang on to some ambivalence, just to cover my bases.
Wishing you all peace in the new year.