Depleted. That is my word for 2020.
After an eventful year, the net effect of this year has depleted my resources physically, and especially emotionally. Even a colourful life such as the one I’ve managed to create for myself could not have prepared me for the year that has passed.
I discovered new levels of intensity of the best of what this world offered, and the worst. It was as if the higher the peak of the summit, the better the view of what was unreachable. This, if nothing else, was the beautifully wrapped gift of this year that I’d sooner forget than cherish.
But a selective memory is one thing that I’ve been denied. The trials of life have always been experienced in full colour, with gentle hues serving as nothing more than the frayed edges of the darker shades of destruction that preceded it. Each time, leaving me more depleted than before.
That brings me to my favourite phrase for 2020. It doesn’t matter. Despite the best efforts that I brought to bear on achieving some of the most important milestones of my life, I was reminded each time that it doesn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was what I was able to contribute towards the uplifting and healing of others. I guess that’s the burden of having a resilient spirit. Many find in that reason to take without any concern about depleting your resources. Especially your emotional resources.
Perhaps that source of emotional resilience is the true alchemy of our souls. The ability to create beauty and tenacity through sheer will, despite having no reason, nor love, with which to create it. We create our own.
This realisation has perhaps caused me to stumble upon yet another obvious truth that escapes too many. It is our creation of something from nothing, like the ability to love after having been through horror, or finding inner peace in the midst of turmoil, combined with the same from another, that offers us the semblance of companionship and the love connection of soul mates, when that effort is met in equal parts and with similar conviction. It is not the result of such a meeting, but in fact the meeting of two such results that creates a beautiful completeness about life. When one withdraws, the meeting is tarnished, and the promise of home once more denied.
The reasons for withdrawing are many, most of which are fickle exaggerations of the assumptions of a tired soul. But the resulting abandonment faced by the other holds within it just one true value. That is, the reminder that despite the best intentions or efforts, true love can be fleeting if misplaced ideals are honoured while reality is discarded.
There are some who appear in tune with the flow of joy in life, and then there are those like me, still struggling to find that flow at all. But not finding it doesn’t prevent us from stirring up the alchemy of the soul. That endless source of wonderment and inspiration, to see what is possible, despite repeated blows to the heart by what turned out to be impossible.
This year has reminded me of one singular profound truth about who I am. I have never been the sum of a carefully nurtured gift. Yet, I have prevailed. I have never been the product of a caring society, yet I contribute. Most of all, I have never been the recipient of an unconditional love, yet I love deeply. The alchemist within me is still breathing, sometimes laboured, but still breathing. And this has been the source of the greatest wonderment and the deepest cuts that I’ve encountered in my troubled existence on this earth.
But it’s a troubling existence that has left others more uneasy than it has ever left me questioning the purpose of life. It is my stubborn subscription to the value of not being defined by the actions of others towards me that has allowed me to maintain a semblance of sanity in my life. But sanity is subjective. And, I guess, so is purpose. My need to be of positive consequence in every setting that I encounter has been hardwired into my soul long before my first conscious thought was spawned. It is this need that drives my subscription to what I believe to be the purpose of life.
‘It doesn’t matter’ therefore doesn’t apply to my efforts towards others. But, instead, it confirms that no matter the responses I get, both good and bad, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feed this yearning to be true to myself before I am true to anyone else.
Hence, I find myself contemplating my circumstances at the end of yet another trip around the sun. After having experienced the most beautiful moments and the darkest of horrors this year, sometimes at the same hands, I find myself still firmly attached to that rope that has kept me resilient and purposeful all my life. That is, a rope that tethers me to the divine, while the darkness of the troubled souls of this world continue to nip at my heels hoping to trip me up in their efforts for me to join their ranks of bitterness.
It doesn’t matter. It never has. The only thing that ever mattered was me being able to live with the decisions that I’ve made towards others, even when their decisions towards me dishonoured the memory and commitment that they once shared. Despite this path being lonely, there is no companionship to be found in denying myself to appease the insecurity of another. Perhaps it is this conviction that feeds my resilience, or perhaps it is my inborn resilience that makes such convictions possible. Whatever came first doesn’t matter, as long as what goes last remains true to the convictions that I claim to uphold.
Anything less will be hypocritical. And that is a despicably slippery slope indeed.