For the last few days, I have felt strange. And no, it has nothing do with the 35 homemade cinnamon cookies (Nonna’s recipe) I’ve had since Tuesday morning. Those things are a delight. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to sit at my laptop and play the keyboard like a piano.
Relax about the cookies, though. They’re small.
The other night, I was reading a book while sitting in a rocking chair that is older than I am. It’s something I do before blogging and/or sleeping. But if I’m being honest, I only read one chapter at a time and sometimes go 5-7 days without opening the book.
So, yeah. Sign me up for your book club, as long as you meet once a year and have catering.
Anyways, I finished the chapter and closed the book. And then I just sat there, paralyzed. It was as if someone took over my body and wouldn’t let me move, blink, or twirl my arms like a helicopter.
Eventually, my head was able to move and I just looked around my room and wondered where the time had gone and how moments in my life felt like they weren’t even mine anymore.
I felt like I was in a stranger’s bedroom, staring at their trophies, their pictures, and their collection of books and magazines from 2006. I felt separated from my possessions and accomplishments, as if none of them mattered anymore.
I don’t know how long I sat there before standing up to go to the washroom. When I turned on the sink, I just stood there watching the water run. It took me a few seconds to realize, “Hey, that water goes on your hands”.
My stream of consciousness was lost in the stream of water.
I don’t really live within the confines of “time” anymore.
It’s either the weekend, or it’s a weekday. I’m awake, or I’m asleep. It’s time to eat, or it isn’t. The sporting event has started, or it hasn’t.
There is no 10:23am. There is no 3:31pm. There is no 9:47pm. There is no 2:06am.
Those are just temporary numbers on a clock that are gone before we even realize they were there.
And maybe that’s why, as I looked around my room, I felt disconnected from myself. Because when I do the math in my head, I realize how many years have passed since certain events occurred.
I can’t help but imagine the person I was back then and who I surrounded myself with, and how the world was. So when I compare it to the present day, I find myself wishing I was still living in the past – inside those photographs and trophies – because it seemed so much better.
For those of you who were wondering whatever became of me watching The Office, I’m happy to report that I finished all nine seasons a couple of weeks ago, and actually loved it. Trust me, I’m more surprised than you are.
On the last episode of the series, there was a line that really hit me. I had heard and seen it before, but it got to me this time around.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve already lived my best and happiest years; if my life peaked too soon. I know, it’s absolutely ludicirous for me to say that as a 25-year-old, and a lot of you are probably reading this and dying to be in my shoes.
Or maybe you’ve pulled out a wooden spoon and put my name on it.
Here’s one of the things I think about when I think of “the good old days”.
The first time I was ever really honest on this blog was in September 2013, when I wrote about missing school. Even then, it wasn’t “school” that I truly missed. It was the every day life and the people I was with.
In the four years since I graduated, I’ve only been back on campus, twice. There are many reasons for that – geographical proximity being the main one.
But another one is, I just want to leave the memories alone. I don’t want to go back and go through the whole, “Oh, this is where this happened. And this is where I dropped my pasta on the sidewalk. And this is where I met so and so.”
I just want to leave it alone because it’ll never be what it was, and I don’t want to tarnish the memories I have.
That place was home. I don’t want to be a visitor inside my own house. Not now, at least.
Don’t feel sorry for me, or think that I’m dwelling on the past. I came to terms with graduating, a long time ago. This was merely an example.
When I think of the best version of myself, and the best time of my life, I think of those four years at school. It set the bar so high that I’m afraid I’ll never reach that level again.
And the same goes for other times in my life that I can classify as “the good old days”.
So when I think about the present and future, everything just feels “meh” in comparison.
Maybe it’s because I don’t know what my purpose in life is yet, or how I’m supposed to make a living off of it.
Maybe my purpose in life is to make people laugh, while trying to figure out who makes me laugh. That feels a bit empty though, doesn’t it?
It bothers me sometimes, knowing that we can be defined, so simply, by a job title, rather than who we are as a person.
We give labels to everyone. This is (insert name) and they are a (insert occupation).
That’s all people want to know. “What do you do?” or “What do you do in your spare time?”
What the hell is spare time? I didn’t know we got any.
These questions started back when we were a kid and they asked us to write down who/where we wanted to be in ten years. Everyone always gave the most idealistic answer.
No one wrote, “I want to be lost and confused. In my spare time, I want to dip crackers into peanut butter.”
We couldn’t write that. We needed to be somebody. We needed to have a title. Something to put after our name.
I mean, I’ve been blogging for three and a half years. You, your dog, the mailman, and the guy messing up orders in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru would call me a “writer.”
I hesitate to call myself a writer.
I’ll be honest with you and myself, I’ve pumped out some incredible content on this blog since 2013, whether people have realized it or not. So if I wanted to call myself a “writer”, I would be more than justified.
Yet I don’t. Because it doesn’t make me feel any better than saying, “I’m Paul and I have a blog.”
Little Larry – who picks his nose at snack time – in the Grade 4 classroom ten minutes away, can call himself a writer. I’m sure he writes things.
My point being, anyone can be a writer. But no one can be Paul (insert my last name here), except me.
Side Story: Sometimes I’ll see reporters or writers get cute with their Twitter bio and call themselves a, “Storyteller.” If I’m honest, that makes me sick.
You know what my Twitter bio says? “Used to like relish”.
We’re all storytellers. Some might fall under the “gossiper” umbrella, but they’re storytellers nonetheless.
Before I get too far off track, I want to circle back and mention one last thing.
Last week, I got an email from a person at WordPress asking me for my 2017 Digital Diet, which would be shared on WordPress Discover. If you read my blog post yesterday, you know what I’m talking about.
I had been featured three times before, by WordPress, and to me, this way my fourth time. Yet, I lacked the same excitement that I had the first three times. (Ask Barb!) Don’t get me wrong, I’m honoured they asked me, and for a good 5 – 10 minutes, I was freaking out.
But after that wore off, I just wanted to tell someone about it. You know, share my excitement. I quickly realized that I didn’t know who to tell.
In the past, I knew exactly who to tell first. On top of that, I would’ve posted about it on Facebook; I didn’t say a word on Facebook this time.
I didn’t know who to text or message online. Eventually I told some blogger friends because I figured they’d understand more than my friends who don’t blog. In the end, I only told one non-blogger friend about being “featured”.
My post yesterday – I wasn’t even sure I was going to do it. I convinced myself that it wasn’t really important, but I shared it with you because I had nothing else to write about and, honestly, I love waking up to a phone that’s exploding with email notifications. It makes me feel somewhat important.
Go back and read through the subtle humour in my post yesterday, and you’ll see that I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
What was this post about? I have no clue. Normally, I wrap up these kind of posts with a lesson. I don’t think I have one. Maybe the entire post was a lesson. You decide.
I will say this, though – I realized today that 2008 was nine years ago and that just about made me put down cinnamon cookie #28. At that point, I realized I needed to say something.
These were just words I needed to get out.
Sort of like water from a faucet.