One Year Later: The Lowest, Depressing Point

Post #4 in a Series of Posts on my Travels and Life, more information here: Writing a Short book on my Two Years with RV

Running low on time today due to moving and got a cold. Going to post a quick one. It screws up the chronology somewhat since I’m skipping ahead 7 months. But, those were an uneventful 7 months.

Days Before My First RV Trip
July 2011

A year after leaving Washington DC, I reflected on my life and saw myself rather lacking. I had come back home with grand expectations of everything I would accomplish in the next year. But, looking back over my successes, I found the only thing noteworthy I had accomplished was buying a RV which could equally be seen as a huge mistake.

I sent out a rather depressing email to my close friends. I was suffering that mental disease of twenty something angst of not knowing who I am and not knowing what to do. The perceived pressure that I could be doing so much more was crushing me.

Excepts from my email below. It’s a bit meta in that it references a previous email that had occurred a year before this one. The previous email evaluated that previous year which in turn referenced another previous email from the beginning of that year.

One year. One year ago, I moved back to Delaware after my two years in DC.

I cannot believe it has been a year. I have so little to show for it. Reading over the email I sent a year, I’m struck by these lines:

Lately, I keep seeing myself quitting my job and just traveling around, living life on the razor’s edge.
……
While in Newark, I want to continue training and developing. Yoga classes, martial arts classes, dance classes, acting/improv, toastmasters, etc. I don’t know, I could list off dozens. I enjoy learning and expanding as a human being. I also don’t get any sense of growth or meaning from my job so I seek it outside….
This next year is THE YEAR. I don’t expect to necessarily accomplish everything. In fact, subconsciously, I expect some epic, huge failures to occur that will challenge my sanity. But I will run off to the mountain monasteries if I’m still living this same type of life next year.

I’m not sure why I’m filled with such grief lately. Especially as I’m on the verge of finally starting my RV dream. But I’m unhappy. Most of all I’m disappointed with myself. Despite the passing of a year, the same thoughts are in my head. Although I tried with great, initial interest and inspiration, I’ve succeeded in so very little. Or, if anything, I’ve gone backwards. The same questions, the same anxieties, the same yearnings.

I’m not running off to the mountains, but I am running away on the road. I’m not sure I experienced any huge failures. But a slow series of setbacks and disappointments perhaps. Exercise, cash savings, yoga, meditation, family, food, internet business, RV. None of them shaped up as I hoped.

With the exception of my job, I’ve detached myself from all allegiances. It feels like I stand alone now. And perhaps that explains my inability to advance. As Jesus wandered the desert, and Buddha sat under his bodhi tree, I thought I would come out of this stronger and better. But I knowingly willed this upon myself. I thought isolation would bring focus and determination instead of apathy and loneliness.

My plans? In the short term, I will visit old friends across the East Coast. Make sure this RV is livable and capable of doing my job on the road. At least having the excuse that I’m spending time with friends and therefore have reliable internet…

I can’t stay around here during the winter or summer. And I would love to see the natural beauties in the West.

*I take a break to eat dinner with my parents, and I realize the source of all my grief.*

It’s a hopelessness. Hopelessness, the precursor to depression. Victor Frankl said that man can suffer anything as long as there’s a reason, a hope, a meaning. But I have traveled my different paths and constantly found only an ending whether self-afflicted or external or both. I’ve reached the end of my tenure of my time in Delaware and feel I’m leaving worse than I started.

My dreams are dying. My hopes are fleeting. Back in college, I used to think that hope was a thing for weak individuals. Frankl’s belief in hope I thought was something only for a man in such desperate circumstances. I would instead cherish something more tangible like strength. But now that I’m weathered down, perhaps hope is one of the foundational layers upon which all else falls upon. Hope as in faith. Faith that my life matters. Faith that my actions carry meaning and purpose. Maybe, I’ve lost faith in myself. I have freedom without meaning. What is freedom without actual consequences? No freedom at all.

Not a happy email. In hindsight, my expectations were unrealistic. But, at the beginning, I really did believe. I think that’s true for most people at the start of any grand journey though. You need some extraordinary, unrealistic faith and optimism initially to even dream big.

But, just a few days after writing that email, I have a great weekend seeing old friends and map out my plan to depart south for Orlando, Florida. My first RV trip.

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