Heightened awareness – for whatever reason – is strangely disconcerting.
No, I’m wrong.
Awareness is merely what it is.
It’s what it can make you aware of that can be disconcerting. Perhaps depressing.
Obviously and commonly enough, with a heightened awareness of one’s mortality comes a sense of urgency. Do it now – whatever it is. Don’t put things off until tomorrow because your tomorrow might never come.
I’m aware of that and that’s fine – even if it can be hard to live by in a practical, day-to-day way. And feeling like I have to hurry all the time is a consequence that can be damaging.
But what’s nagging me now is an awareness of my recent past. It means I’m forever learning of my failures since the crash.
The dreadful roll-call of failed intentions.
The failures over the first few weeks and months, as I first started getting better, weren’t a reality for me. As I became more aware of what I at first hadn’t been able to do but now could – that was all positive. That felt like progress. They were big steps, big advances. I was aware enough of myself to know that.
That I didn’t know I was failing time and time again in other areas meant that it didn’t bring me down. Or if it did, these were more-or-less momentary slumps.
But as time passed so the steep progress levelled out. Inevitably the failures then loomed.
Yes, initially I could rationalise them. Failures were still depressing, but at least I knew why I was failing.
But that’s talking about the past. The brutal truth is that now, years later, my failures still catch me out. I will find something – a written note or something; some plan, some intention – and I find I’ve totally failed at it.
These failed intentions might still be old goals, but they are relatively recent. I’m failing at goals I still have.
And so I can’t avoid the lasting worry. The lasting legacy. I was damaged enough that I didn’t know I was failing in the first few months after my crash. I was damaged enough to find more recent failures that I’d forgotten about, perhaps even been unaware of. So how can I know what other things I’m failing at now – right now, as I write?
How can I assess myself?
And how are others assessing me? What do people think? Is there a gulf between what they think and what they say?
Am I still adding to the dreadful roll-call of failed intentions?
All I can do is trust those around me to do the right things for me; to say the right things to me. That’s the same trust I’ve had to have from the start. In effect unconsciously at the time of the start of the coma; and all the time since.
And that trust had to have been built on what was there before the crash.
I’d be a liar – to you and to myself – if I denied I’ve never questioned – indeed, tested – that trust. Either wittingly or otherwise. Confusion; being overwhelmed: these things are bound to push everything to the limits.
That that trust has never been found wanting, by any measure you could possibly devise, says as much as can be said about the people I’ve trusted. The people I’ve loved and love, and who love me.
Before I wrote this, I wrote about the challenge of love. With love at the forefront as I rail against my failed intentions, I can think of nothing to add to those thoughts. But I will never tire of recognising the immense value of love.The Challenge Of Love
The why of it
Covid-19-related saturation media coverage can only heighten one’s awareness of self. Where that awareness leads to is perhaps not surprising either.
There’s a balance to be struck. Heightened awareness, on the one hand, is essential to appreciating all aspects of life.
But on the other hand, broad awareness can’t be allowed to undermine focus. At least, not when focus is necessary.