There is a line in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition that has stuck with me for years. The context isn’t all that crucial except to know the hero has just taken a long flight.
She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien’s theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.
Sadly I am not jet lagged, as that would imply international travel which is a context I doubt I’ll have for at least a few more months. But I’m finding soul delay can happen even without jet lag. The separation between one’s body and one’s soul is a rich emotional issue. For the past week or two I feel like I’ve been reeling from a gap between my soul and my body. It came on suddenly, despite all the disparate causes been easy to see coming and not remotely surprising.
The dawning realization that I may not be stuck forever with a chronic illness hasn’t been the unmitigated joy I anticipated. In fact, it’s been fairly miserable realizing that the convenient excuse to keep me from workaholism won’t be an available crutch forever. I’m assessing all the things I take for granted in my life and their myriad benefits and it’s not pretty. It turns out even the most joyful possible goal attainments come with a host of introspection.
And that generally means you can’t lie to yourself. It actually feels a little bit like attaining wealth overnight. All those excuses you used to have about how you’d just pursue the life of your dreams if not for financial limitations? Some of them turn out to be lies you’ve been telling yourself for years. And then how do you feel? It turns out much of your circumstances were self imposed.
Which isn’t to say that I’m finding out I need to make drastic life changes and that I’ve been living a lie. That would actually be easy! It’s more that the sum of dozens of self limiting beliefs need to be assessed, turned over for utility, and discarded or repurposed. Why was I a founder? Why am I married? Why do I pursue attention? All of these are little bits of honesty that are giving me soul delay. Because finding out what I actually want, without the benefit of a circumstance preventing me from achieving my desires, is going to require reconciliation between my soul and my reality.
So right now I feel a kind of emotional jet lag. After intensive work and a significant amount of willpower I am getting what I wanted. I’m getting my health back. But I’m still reeling in my soul from the journey. The cortisol spiked adrenaline of the effort is wearing off. I need to recover from my recovery. My soul needs to reel itself in. But I don’t know when it’s arriving at baggage claim. And I’m so very tired from the effort. So even if I have arrived it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. I hope I can be patient with myself while I wait. It’s been two years so I figure what is another few months?