I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately. I don’t know if it’s the idea that my writing career is on the verge of something big and I have to wait on an editor who has my story perched lightly, I suspect, near the bottom of his to-do list. A to-do list that is probably two or three pages single-spaced long.
It could be the fact that for the first time in a long time I find myself lonely, unfulfilled by work alone and in need of some human contact. Dating was never easy for me and if I hadn’t at the least given up on the prospect of love I’d resigned myself to the fact that now, this time and place, it just the right moment and when the right moment came I’d know it. Moments have come and moments have gone, I’ve held the gaze of many a cute waitress and have even talked to some of them but for some reason some fault of maybe my own or something else I have never had it in me to make a definitive move.
Still, I’ve been able to move along, slowly yes, but I’m moving. I’m taking steps I never would have before but it’s still not enough. It’s never enough and I know that if I keep pushing I’m going to damage something, maybe irreparably.
Stress has come and gone from my life, depression, mania, delusions, the entire gambit. I’ve seen the dark spaces of life and I’ve still kept walking.
What happens when you hit a wall though? What happens when you’ve done everything you can do and now there are forces beyond your control that are blocking your entrance into the life you wish you had?
I’ve pushed the stone to the top of the hill but I can feel the soft wet ground beneath my feet and they’re starting to slip and I know that if I let this stone roll back down, it will roll, and I will run and if I can get back down to the bottom first, I will be out of breath, and will rest, and lay my back against the stone, and watch the stars as I fall asleep. Tomorrow though, I know I will start rolling that stone up the hill again because at this point I have no idea what else to do with my life.
There’s a peace in knowing you took the time to build ledges on the hill though. Stoppers that if encountered with a rolling stone will stop it’s force a quarter of the way, a third of the way and half way down that hill.
It’s not the end of the world if your feet slip. It’s not like your accomplishments thus far have been for naught. They are the ledges and the ledges are strong and true.
At the top though, when your feet start to slip you easily let those doubts slip into your head again and you think maybe this is futile. Maybe I don’t have it in me to push the stone up the hill again, even if it stops a quarter of the way down. Maybe I should move on to another stone, another hill that although different, I like just a little bit more. And yes that other hill may be higher and the stone may be heavier but maybe I have it in me to enjoy the pushing as much as I enjoy not pushing. Maybe the pushing on that other hill will be more suited to my preferences and my character.
Right now though, you’re exhausted. You don’t have it in you to push either stone and you know that and you’re standing there trying to catch your breath looking at both the slick grass at the top of the first hill and the much larger hill on the other side of things and you just don’t want to do it anymore.
It’s ok to breathe. It’s ok to take a break and try to refocus every now and then.
No one’s going to fault you for taking a moment to yourself.
It’s an overwhelming task to push any stone up a hill let alone multiple stones up multiple hills. I’m not ashamed to say that that’s why I think they invented alcohol.
A beer or a glass of wine as you’re sitting on a ledge with your back against a stone that you may or may not feel like pushing up the rest of the hill tomorrow is a joy.
All said, stress is all around. We have hundreds of stones that we push in our lives and we have hundreds of hills that we’ve conquered. But right here, and right now this one feels like the biggest.
With time though, you will push it to the top and that gates will open and you’ll watch with joy as it rolls to the bottom of the other side. You’ll run after it cheering, and your friends will cheer, and your family will cheer, and then you’ll get to the bottom and look up and there will be Everest.