by Jon Sullivan - 2023-01-12 - Jonism

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Piggybacking on my last post. With great adventures comes great confusion.

I'm starting to remember why being a hermit and avoiding people was such an effective solution to all my problems. I don't communicate well. I don't listen well. People expect things I have no idea about. Being my real honest self seems to upset people. I misinterpret others. Others misinterpret me. I feel the need to constantly over think things. I make incorrect assumptions. What I want doesn't line up with what others want. And do I even know what I want? Am I wrong? Is everyone else wrong? Was being a hermit the right choice all along? Or was it the problem all along?

Being a hermit made it all easy. But it also felt like a happy but pointless, empty, and lonely life. I changed..... I got to the point where it was no longer an option. So I charged ahead with the opposite - A huge life full of people and events and adventures and engagement and hugs and conversation. A leap of faith in myself. And now it's all feeling a bit overwhelming. I made a post a few days ago about control. So we're back to that I guess. My life, in many ways, is out of control. I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. It was the plan. The plan seems to be working. I'm happy. Even very happy. Wonderful things are happening to me and around me. Maybe going slower would have been prudent, but obviously I have no skill at being prudent. And going slow has never made things any easier. So.... lack of control is the plan.

I used to have complete control. Being completely selfish made it all easier. I literally knew the future because there were no choices. If you don't open the door the future can't come in. But making that my life led to a dead end I wasn't comfortable with. I suppose there is always the hybrid solution - Adventure constantly, socialize rarely. Balance. Or something. But it turns out just saying "I'm living my best life" isn't an automatic guarantee it happens. You still have to do the work. You can have all the joy on tap, but there will still be lessons to learn. New Jon equals new rules. I've opened the door to the future.

It comes back to control again. My Oregon life, by design, is out of control. Amor fati as my pole star. So if I'm going to go against Stoic best practice and fret about the future, confusion is going to dominate, since control of the future is an illusion. I'm handling the present moment just fine. As I have all the previous present moments. And when the future becomes the present I'll handle it with the same grace and virtue I've used in the past. I control the future by knowing how to respond with virtue in the present. The obstacle will become the way. It will be fine. I know this with 100% certainty. But apparently, it seems, I have control issues. Maybe I need to go back and read more Epictetus. Relearn to automatically sort between what really is within my control and what is not.

I got to Oregon, to New Jon, three months ago. Not long enough to lock down who I am now and what my best life is. But we're at the first barrier - control. Will I cling to an illusion of control and balk when confusion threatens? Or will I let the confusion drift past, since I am the present and confusion is only the illusion of the future? Drift past, as I know I'm ready for any moment. I've practiced. And to practice what you fear is to gain control and act fearlessly. I have no control over a confusing future. But I have infinite control over a virtuous present.

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." - Mark Twain

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