Everybody's got their own shit to deal with. We've all got problems. I think how we deal with our problems dictates how happy or not we are in our lives. Me, I'm never satisfied with my life. I'm always looking for something, anything, to change it from what it is right now to, well, I really can't say, but better.
Like anyone else, I have good days and I have bad days. I find that the worst thing for me about summer time is that I have too much time on my hands. There's no structure. I don't eat regularly or even well. I'm up at all hours of the night, and I waste a lot of time on my phone or on the pc. On those kinds of days, which usually only happen when I have nothing going on, I live with a cloud hovering in the background of my mind, reminding me that I should be doing this or I should be doing that instead of the nothing that I am doing. But it never affects me enough for me to do anything about it. Before you know it, it's like 5 or 6 in the evening and that's when I go about the one regularized habit that I keep over the summer. I work out, take my daily walk, get some coffee and then lose myself in pc-land until I'm weary and ready for bed sleep. As I drift off I always tell myself that tomorrow's going to be better. Then tomorrow comes.
On those types of days, which happen at least once or twice a week, I'm not dealing with any of my problems, paying a bill, making an appointment, taking care of things. I'm just avoiding them, and being self-destructive at the same time. I smoke too many cigarettes. I'll skip two or even all three meals. I keep phone calls short, sometimes avoiding them altogether. I keep to myself, lost in a world of nothingness, really, and inside I beat myself up for just letting time, precious time, slip away for nothing. For no damned reason but my own avoidance issues.
But that's me. Do I sound like any of you out there? Perhaps, and though it's not a. good way to be, it's not terrible. There are far worse ways I could deal with my issues. I could be drinking or gambling or doing drugs. That doesn't make my avoidance issues any better, it just tells me that maybe changing the way I deal with things is not such a hopeless task. I speak of this now because a recently a good friend of mine, and the way he's dealing with issues, has been causing me to look inwards.
This friend is a good friend who I've known for about five years. He and I have had our ups and downs, like any friends do, but lately we're on a down. This friend is a very isolated soul. He keeps a lot inside, and you can always see, even on his brightest days, that he's got demons he won't share with anyone. Over the course of the past two years, this friend has gone through a lot of changes. Events in his life have caused him to change his living situation and the potential for that being a positive change has all but vanished at this point. I think he's close to bottoming out and I'm afraid for him.
Traveling down, this road
Watching the signs as I go
I think I'll follow, the sun
Isn't everyone just
Traveling down, their own road
Watching the signs as they go
I think I'll follow, my heart
It's a very good place to start
I'm currently teetering on the precipice of a dilemma when it comes to this friend. I'm looking at signs on this particular road, and I don't know which one to follow. I don't know if there is a sun to follow here, but I know my heart is telling me something I don't want to hear. It's giving me a choice, either I dive as deep in as I can to help him, or to I just let him go. The first choice would be the one I'd usually make. It's part of my nature, to want to help people. That's why I'm a teacher, and that's why I think I have a lot of people in my life who appreciate having me around.
The second choice would be the hard one to make. It goes against my nature and would be a difficult detour to take, but maybe it's the right one. I've come to learn in this life that the only person who can really effect change is the the person who will be making the change. No one else can do it for them. There have been events in my friend's life these past couple of years that would have caused most people to wake up and do something about, but they didn't cause any positive change at all. In fact, they've lead to a more gradual change in the other direction.
Through it all I've been there, or at least tried to be there, for him, to make things easier...lending an ear, offering advice, giving refuge when it was needed, and sometimes even just a little company. I'd like to think I helped, but I was just putting little bandages on a bigger cut and not fixing anything at all.
A couple of weeks ago, things came to a head between him and I. He'd been distant the past few months in a way that I'd always known was an avoidance of facing me with something he had done, or not done, that affected me in many ways. He lied to me, which really hurt. I had been very patient to this point, but eventually I had no choice but to confront him with everything I'd been observing. The avoidance had run its course.
I wrote him an email, detailing the many issues we'd been having, and avoiding, and how I thought his way of dealing with his own problems was the source of it. His own demons had changed him in a way that he was indirectly punishing not only himself, but me and really all of the people around him. I shared the hurt I'd been feeling at the way he'd been acting. I reminded him of the dreams and goals he'd always talked about, but never pursued. It was a difficult email to write, a lot of painful stuff to dole out, and it was even more difficult to send. After having the draft for a day, I finally hit the send button.
I believed, or hoped, that this would be his real wake-up call. I had told him in the email that the way he responded could affect our friendship, which I know was a major card I had to play. He knows I am one of the best friends he's ever had and his life is better with me around. I don't want to not be around either, but maybe this is the sign I need to follow.
At first, it seemed that the email had at least some sort of positive affect. He acknowledged all that I said was true, and he made mention of change. But it was something I'd heard before. In the time since, he's messaged me here and there, albeit tentatively. He understands that things are shaky between us, and I've kept our conversations to a minimum to remind him of that. I have seen that his demons have not gone away, though, and I'm afraid that at this point there is nothing I can do. He's made his way towards the abyss and right now only he can pull himself up from that. All I can do is wait, and hope. Ugh, these damned signs! Well, I think I'd better get working on my own...