(graphic credit: Corey Mohler)
On Existential Angst
Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber. ―Kurt Vonnegut
This week I was visited by an old acquaintance. Fortunately, we don’t spend too much time together, but when he arrives, it seems that all else stops until his departure. I’m speaking of, of course, Existential Angst.
It is his custom to arrive unbidden, and to depart thus. So when he appeared in my bed early in the morning, I took some time to try to figure out just what, or who, had invited this unsolicited guest. Could it have been that penultimate (I do love that word) episode of Downton Abbey where Mary committed a reprehensible wickedness, yet went on to find happiness, at least in the short-term, right in that same episode, and just happened to have a wedding dress in her closet to boot? Perhaps her foul behavior triggered some of my own familial issues, issues that I thought, hoped, were long-resolved.
So, where to turn? Always, to books. This time to Alexander McCall Smith and Isabel Dalhousie, whose philosophical musings customarily help, or at least did before she too found happiness all too easily. And then Ann Lamott is a solace, but I did like her better when she was less sure of God, struggling with both her life and beliefs. I need questioners, doubters to lean on, to go to, for who better to understand a questioner, a doubter?
At any rate, said Existential Angst seems to have departed for more fecund territory. And I wish him both well and good-riddance. I don’t know why he decided to exit after such an abbreviated visit, though I am grateful (having hung on to gratitude as my lifeline throughout). So I have gone back to the Y, to the hyper-chlorinated pool, back to my keyboard and novel-in-progress, back to a sort of life-rhythm (a lot of hyphens here, I see). And for the time being, I have pushed nihilism to the rear, and I can see a patch of blue. At least for now. Although I did just spy him in the driveway, waiting.
Another Sunday, www.cynthiastrauff.com