Comfortably Numb

Do you remember what it felt like when you fell in love for the first time? The feeling of nervous anticipation of your first kiss? Or the vulnerable uncertainty as you lost your virginity? The pain of your first broken heart?

In our youth, our emotions were uncensored. Pure. Everything felt raw, like an exposed nerve. Emotions surged through our veins, inside us a fire burned brilliantly. Everything seemed…intense. Life was meaningful.

We loved without hesitation. Dreamed without doubt. Trusted without question.

The child is grown, The dream is gone. I have become comfortably  numb. ~ Pink Floyd

What’s happened to us?

Our lives used to be filled with purpose and urgency, but now they’re filled with expectations and obligations. The fire inside us that once burned so brilliantly is nearly extinguished, little more than a flicker. “Welcome to the Real World,” we’re told…and we listen, accepting our lives for the way they are, stifling our dreams in exchange for a life that’s “real.”

Occasionally the embers from the fire of our youth are churned, and we’re reminded of our former selves; so vibrant, so idealistic, and so filled with hope for the future. But those thoughts are quickly silenced.

“Life’s complicated.” “Things are different now.” “We’re responsible.”

And our lives really aren’t that bad. Maybe they’re not quite what we’d hoped they’d be, but they’re comfortable. And we’re comfortably numb, indifferent to the lives of quiet desperation we lead.

So we’ve resigned ourselves to jobs we hate, but don’t leave because it’s “not practical” to quit just because we aren’t happy. We’re more responsible than that. Paying the mortgage and feeding our families takes priority. Besides, we’re really only mildly annoyed with our job. We’ll survive.

And we silently submit, sacrificing our happiness for a paycheck.

The passion in our relationship has slowly eroded away, until one morning we wake up wondering what the hell happened. We used to be so in love, but now it feels like we’re simply sharing space. “That’s normal,” they say. “The passion is bound to disappear.” Maybe they’re right. Maybe the passion can’t last forever.

And so we surrender, hopeless that romance will ever return to our relationship.

Our dreams are quietly abandoned as our lives become engorged with responsibilities. We have obligations to fulfill, deadlines to meet, and commitments to follow through on. There’s no time to chase our dreams. “Be practical,” we tell ourselves, and our dreams are replaced with practicality.

Except things don’t have to be this way.

If you hate your job, look for a new one until you find work that’s meaningful. Once you’ve found that, quit your old job. If you’ve lost the passion in your relationship and want it back, be passionate. Let no flat surface be immune to your sexual revelry. Fuck like you’re getting paid. And don’t abandon your dreams. They’re what gives life purpose. Find time to chase them, no matter how “impractical” they might seem. The longer you wait, the less time you have.

It’s time to rekindle the fire in your life…to find the intensity you once had.

Don’t waste your life being comfortably numb.

4 thoughts on “Comfortably Numb

  1. This post is the definition of irony for me. My youth was quite censored and guided by the expectations of my parents. I didn’t dream. I didn’t adventure. I lived a checklist driven life. Got a good job. Married the first nice Jewish boy who told me he loved me. Had a kid. American Dream my ass. At 45 I’m single, debt free, untethered, with half a mil in the bank and more set aside for 65+. I am ready to cannon into my next adventure purposeless and purposeful. Your blog is a daily read for me – a good anchor and a great inspiration. Thank you.

  2. I think about this quite often, actually. The way you just don’t quite see things the same way you did when you were younger. Everything was so shiny and new and SO urgent. There was so much possibility when I was 16-22ish. I can’t decide if it had to do with experiencing things for the first time or with the way my young brain handled things. I think there’s a lot to be said for the way the chemicals in our brains deal with this stuff, (not that I know anything about it really). I don’t think it’s just a matter of getting used to how things are, so much as you physically become an adult, gain perspective, and re-prioritize. I don’t run around looking for the instant rush anymore. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’m able to make plans and wait for a payoff.

    I am also able to look back at my choices and make some realizations about myself. Namely, does my job really suck right now or do I just have difficulty enjoying what I have? I’m torn between the realization that my schedule and pay are better than they ever were, but that the job itself isn’t as rewarding as I’d like it to be. Is that the job’s fault or my fault for not turning the situation into something more rewarding? I can’t really tell. From past experience I know that I am a searcher and have trouble enjoying the here & now, so I am working harder to make things work even when I don’t find them instantly gratifying.

    Also, fuck like you’re getting paid? haha, no thanks. I’ll pass on the emotionless, dead-eyed sex that people have when they’re getting paid for it.

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