How You Can Feel Totally Empty Even if You Have it All

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Personal Development

I am again aboard the Queen of Cowichan on the 10:10 to Nanaimo. I thought I had approached the passenger deck well before most had exited their vehicles, but apparently, this sailing had a few more walk-ons than normal, as the desks I would normally exploit were all occupied by others.

Has the 10:10 to Nanaimo grown in infamy? Because of my letters? Nah. But it’s fun to think I may have piqued a few curiosities. And this sailing is a little more like the first, with a few creatures of the night peeking out of their hiding holes and even opting to graze in my vicinity.

Fortunately (actually, I don’t know how fortunate this is), there are some woefully uncomfortable stools near electrical outlets, so I’m not forced to give up my writing habit (not that I would have anyway – I would have found another way).

***

My mission to empty my storage was successful on almost every level. I only required the assistance of one gifted organizer and one burly man (the organizer’s husband) to get the lion’s share of the work done in less than two hours. It was not a strenuous two hours either, though I can thank myself for staying consistent with exercise.

I was initially wondering whether I’d need more help, and who would be there to meet me at a reasonable hour to complete the task, but the team of three turned out to be a true power trio.

It seems, however, that even in situations where all the traffic lights magically turn green at exactly the right moment, things never go 100% as planned.

Case in point – we had to drive 31 minutes out of the way to the nearest landfill to do away with that cursed furniture. Of course, that meant more than 31 minutes back to the U-Haul corral, and those orange-wearing slicksters are sticklers for extra mileage since that’s where a good chunk of their change is made (besides insurance, I am told).

(But maybe there’s a good business lesson there.)

Costs were incurred, but I knew before beginning this mission that I would be able to recoup my costs (and even come out on top), by selling a couple of my guitars or unneeded electronics.

Plus, I freed up over $2,100 per year in storage fees, so the immediate costs are offset by future savings (even if I did end up spending about half of what I would normally spend on a move to get this project out of the way).

***

I feel like I understand Robin Williams a little better. I’m not Robin, and I have never occupied his body let alone his mind. I never met him while he was alive, and I never spoke with the man. But I can understand how having it all could still leave someone utterly depressed.

I don’t have it all, yet I don’t consider my accomplishments insignificant. I have usually reinforced this point by quoting glory days Bulls role-player Steve Kerr – “I scraped and clawed for everything I’ve got,” and even that lot could fit comfortably in a cardboard box.

It feels trite, even disrespectful, to say that I did not receive the attention, recognition, and love that I needed from my parents, but in the depths of my being it rings true.

I am not saying that my parents did not love me. I know they did, to the nth degree! I am not saying that they abused, mistreated, abandoned, or neglected me. They didn’t!

No part of me believes they should be held in contempt for their actions if they were ever forced to give an account.

I’m strictly speaking of my experience, in my world, how things occurred to me, as a sensitive child needing attention, recognition, and love.

The result is a gaping hole I cannot fill. I have attempted to do so with most things one can name, especially work, but also food, music, video games, and addictions more generally. And it’s entirely possible I’ll try more ways before this fight is over.

I know full well that even if I do manifest the things I want – a beautiful, 8,000 square-foot home, a model-gorgeous wife, a six-figure business, a kick-ass band that tours the world – that no ambition, no dream, no goal fulfilled can offer permanent relief. It’s an exercise in futility!

But what can one do except try? To balloon the size of their dreams, to wake up every day with delusions of grandeur, to become fully vulnerable once more to everything it will mean to embrace and chase their desires?

I don’t know – I am asking myself as much as I am asking rhetoric.

***

I am recognizing that most relationships, projects, businesses, and even life itself, seem to follow the same trajectory – a bell curve.

After an initial burst of excitement, a project gains momentum, continues to grow, and eventually reaches its peak. Then, if left untended to, it will begin a sure descent into oblivion, even if gradual.

This curve can unfold over months, years, or even decades, so it’s easier to observe in hindsight. It’s difficult if not impossible to pre-empt.

The only way to change the trajectory of anything set into motion, to prevent its peaking and ultimate descent, is to reinvest in the business continually. Usually, though, there is some hesitancy when it comes time to pour more time, energy, and resources into the project. Namely, not enough time, not enough energy, and/or not enough resources.

The only way to change the trajectory of anything set into motion, to prevent its peaking and ultimate descent, is to reinvest. Click To Tweet

But if you beat the odds and somehow manage to keep reinvesting, the curve can continue to chart a hockey-stick growth path. If you don’t, well you already know… a parachute dive into hell (without a parachute).

From this, I gather two things:

  • When a karmic loop has closed, there is no turning back. When it’s done, it’s done, and it’s time to move on, even if it means starting from scratch. This can be an exhilarating process if you let it be.
  • If a project means the world to you, keep reinvesting in it, even if it hurts. Specifically, reinvest in the success of your partners, as Karmic Management suggests – employees, vendors, customers, and ultimately the world.

The reason I’m starting from scratch is because of the former – a karmic loop closed. But it’s an opportunity – an opportunity for Kaizen.

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