As I stared out my window, I witnessed something disturbing.
My neighbor who I’ve known for 15 years went out to his car, popped the trunk, grabbed a beer, opened it, then started drinking before he even got back in the house.
At 2 PM.
It seems mundane. It seems somewhat harmless, right?
But that’s not the first time I saw this. Last month I saw him stand by his trashcan outside swallowing a beer and sucking smoke like a vacuum cleaner from a cigarette.
The past few years I’ve witnessed this man descend deeper and deeper into alcoholism from my window. How do I know? Well, it’s a common thing to see him during the 60 seconds I spend looking out my window every day.
His life seems pretty nice. A great house, two kids, a nice spouse, all of that stuff. It’s the quintessential American dream, isn’t it?
It looks perfect on the outside, but beneath the surface there’s pain and avoidance and drinking and numbing and stress. I look at this man, a man I respect, and wonder why in the hell would I want what he has?
Why do I want a family? Why do I want kids? Why do I even want to get married?
Why would I want all that if it’s just going to push me over the edge into alcoholism and anxiety?
I’m happy I saw what I saw. I’m happy the image of a man I respected was shattered. I want to know the truth of life and how painful it really is.
People Do Things They Never Should’ve Done All The Time
Shazam! is a hell of a movie. I had a great time watching it, but one of the storylines about the main character’s childhood is actually quite dark.
Spoilers here, but we find out later in the movie that the main character’s mother left him in a carnival on purpose when he was a child. Sheesh. That shit was depressing.
As a kid growing up in a great home I always figured parents loved their kids and never regretted having them. I was naive.
The truth is the stress of having children can drive a lot of people insane. It can also make them wish their own kids had never been born.
Whenever my cousin brings over her 5-year-old child I want to go hide under my bed. I can barely deal with him for an hour. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the parent. Putting up with a child for 17–18 hours of a day only to wake up and do it all again tomorrow?
I’m going to sound like a jerk here, but PASS.
Do I really want all that stuff? The older I get the more I see my loved ones marry people they never should’ve married. Then they live unhappily and spend every day regretting their decision years later.
It’s right in front of us. All of this pain is right there in front of our faces to see.
And why does this happen? Because society tells us this is what we should do. I’m 27 and I feel like I should’ve been married four years ago, even though that would’ve been a horrible decision for me personally.
Obviously this isn’t the case for everybody. Many get married and have kids and are quite happy with their lives. But I’m noticing the darkness more and more the older I get.
Everybody has a dark secret that they’d never want anyone to hear. I have plenty of them. We don’t want other people to think we’re bad people. So we carry on depressed and stressed and anxious and use alcohol or drugs to numb that shit instead of facing the fact that we’re unhappy and need a change.
What’s the point here?
The point here is that what they tell you will make you happy won’t actually make you happy.
Your insecurities will make you do a bunch of really stupid crap.
Afraid of being lonely? Get married to the next warm body who shows interest in you.
Afraid of dying alone? Maybe go have kids or something, I don’t know.
Do a bunch of stuff to treat the symptoms instead of dealing with the root problem.
You’re insecure and afraid and lonely and full of fear.
So now what? Go get a partner. Go drink. Go have children. Go stay inside your own country your whole life and never give any of the barbarians outside of it a chance.
I’m just as guilty of this as anybody. I’m not preaching here. I’m telling you what I’m seeing in both others and in myself.
I tend to run away from my problems instead of face them head on. That means I lack courage. I’m no different from my neighbor who goes outside and drinks to numb his pain.
I am no different.
There is pain all around you, and it’ll do you some good to recognize it and ruminate on it. The world is a broken place full of broken people, and if you don’t pay attention to them, you’ll end up one of them yourself.