The ‘when’ is different than the ‘almost’ because of one very specific thing. And that’s that an ‘almost’ has a period at the end of the metaphorical sentence, where as a ‘when’ doesn’t have a definite anything. It could be a question mark, an ellipsis. But more often than not, a when is followed by trailing off. It’s followed by nothing solid. Nothing concrete. Just nothing.
There’s nothing after a ‘when’ because a ‘when’ is really just a placeholder. A way to put yourself into a purgatory that means you don’t actually have to do…well…anything. You just sit there talking about whens and how different things will be when you find them.
I’ve always been consumed by the whens in life. The things I want to do but for whatever reason, don’t. The whens are the things keeping me up at night, setting off my heart with anxiety, creating insecurities and doubts, lingering feelings of inadequacy. The whens leave me feeling incomplete. Less than. Undeserving.
When you spend your days, your months, your years, your life consumed with the whens, the things that feel unfinished, it’s incredibly difficult to understand why anyone would ever look at you and see something complete.
See something, someone, that’s enough.
All I’ve ever really wanted to feel, to be, is like I’m enough. But the difficult thing about enoughs is like whens, they aren’t definable. Is enough even achievable? Or is it some unobtainable goal I put at the other side of some sort of treadmill and kind of just know that I’ll never get there?
And maybe that’s the key here.
When you live your life filled with whens and a constant, unquenchable search for enoughs, you’re never going to be truly satisfied.
You’re never going to be truly happy.
I’ll post that topless picture to Instagram when I lose 10 more pounds.
I’ll ask him out when my abs are more defined.
I’ll go back to Austin when I have more money.
I’ll say I’m sorry when she unblocks me on Twitter.
I’ll buy the new couch when I get a new apartment.
I’ll ask for that promotion when I’ve hit X goal.
I’ll tell her she hurt me when some more time has passed.
I’ll ask if he cares about me when he’s officially moved.
I’ll be hotter, I’ll be happier, I’ll be more successful, I’ll be better when.
After a proverbial lifetime of waiting for whens, of looking for enoughs, I think it’s safe to say that I’m exhausted. I’m starting to feel like the reality is, we’re always going to have to settle somewhere, for something, as someone. And those holes, those gaps, those places where I’m feel I’m lacking, I wish they’d somehow get quieter. I wish someone could tell me the easy way of learning to stop looking for the when, and instead finding the how.
Because that’s the thing about obsessing over the possible, the probabal. The couldbes and the wants and the incompletes.
When you’re obsessed over things that don’t have a definitive, you’re probably still always going to feeling unsatisfied.
But let’s be real. Even knowing that is probably not going to stop me from constantly thinking about how much better things would be if I could just get to the when.
The ‘when’ is different than the ‘almost’ because of one specific thing. And really, that’s quite simply that an ‘almost’ was probably a ‘when’ at one point.
I don’t really have the answer for how to stop obsessing over possibility and start focusing on the practical. Maybe it’s something you learn to do after you’ve unlocked something else. Maybe it’s something you only are allowed to understand after you achieve some sort of self-actualization.
Maybe it’s something you only get to learn when…