There are a lot of things you learn about yourself when you reach a decent age, say twenty-three.
You learn your biting of nails under distress is a symptom and not a habit. You learn that your walking fast and talking faster comes from a place of its own, and it isn’t just something you do. You learn that your leg doesn’t just up and start shaking; there are reasons for why that happens. You learn your affinity to routine has an entire backstory behind it with characters you have nothing to do with anymore.
Then, one day, as you’re sitting by yourself at night, nibbling at your nails, waiting for the clock to hit thirty-past-eleven just so you can get in bed, you have another epiphany – So what? You ask yourself. What am I supposed to do with this information? You ask yourself again, louder this time. The apartment, however, stays silent.
You realise this is as important as knowing that you have a scar on your lip that you got as a kid when you stood up to a bully. There’s nothing you can do about it now. The scar is there. There are a lot of things that are just there. They’re there for you to look, and they’re there for everyone to notice, but they don’t change anything about your life.
So, you take a step back, and another, and you keep going back to stand exactly where you were when you began. Then, you start doing exactly what you were doing. You begin to pull in longer hours. You begin to exert yourself beyond control. Unstoppable. You wake up, and you do so much in a day, people lose their breath as you tell them about it.
You have always been this way, you realise. If there is contentment – even if there’s just an ounce of it – it is in the flow. It may work differently for everyone, you think as you go through the motions, but this is how it works for me.
As all of this is happening, and as you’re unravelling, and as everything is rewinding as if someone was to rewind a clock, you learn one last lesson for the year – don’t fix what’s not broken.
Maybe it was a feature and not a bug, you convince yourself. Maybe you’re so used to putting out flames, you’d rather set yourself on fire than have nothing to do anymore.