I’m writing this post in the McDonald’s parking lot, mostly because they have WiFi and I want to post something before work. It’s also a hell of a change of scenery. I have never written anything on a computer outside of the house, usually resigned to typing stuff on my phone via Google Docs if I’m out and about when inspiration hits.
I didn’t intentionally come to McDonald’s to write, let’s be clear about that. I had a therapy session today (for some reason she wanted to do Thursdays instead of Saturdays. Luckily I’m indifferent so it was fine with me.) and have about an hour and a half to kill before the next part of my day is scheduled to begin. What to do? Enough time to go home but not enough to get settled. And slightly too much time to sit around in a parking lot eating food passing the time. When I left for my session today I brought my laptop along. Part of the appeal of a laptop is its portability which I never utilized before.
After therapy I went to Subway and grabbed a footlong turkey sandwich. On italian herb and cheese bread if you care to know the details. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and mayonnaise please. Then a quick drive over to McDonald’s for the WiFi. The sign in the parking lot says “Parking for McDonald’s customers only” and this had me slightly worried until I realized the sign was surely a corporate requirement; the people actually working McDonald’s most likely don’t give two fucks about who’s in the parking. They have bigger fish to fry, and I almost mean that in a literal sense. Maybe not fish, but I’m sure they go through a ton of fries.
This McDonald’s is located in a dismal and bombed out stripmall on the north side of Rockford, technically in Loves Park. Close enough though. The retail apocalypse is evident here; the only shops remaining are questionable and shady. There’s a furniture store (probably a money laundering front), a Save-A-Lot, an abandoned movie theater (abandoned for at least a decade), North Town Liquor (with tacky neon signs in the windows), a payday loan place, a budget insurance business, and to cap it off fittingly, a plasma donation clinic. The parking lot is massive and the cars parked here are sparse, barely filling up 5-10% of all the available spots marked by fading yellow lines. Potholes dug by subtle and slow landmines of freezing ice and snow are placed randomly around. The cloudy skies today make the mood of this place even more dismal than usual, if you even imagine it being more dismal.
Therapy was unproductive, and I knew it before I even left the house to drive there. Nothing had been discovered or accomplished since I last went and I told her so as soon as I walked in. “What’s been going on? How have things been?” she asked. I shrugged and said, “It’s been a boring week. Nothing has happened. I’ve been thinking about what you said last week, but I haven’t made any realizations or progress on anything.”
Last week she asked me where I see myself in the future. Not in any specific sense like with a job or a hobby, just a general “Where do you see yourself in the future?” It was a big red flag when I didn’t have anything to say. I never really thought about it. I’m a reactionary: life throws stuff at me and I react. There is no me dictating my life, just going along with things. Sometimes I feel like a kayaker on a river; I can paddle here and there somewhat but in the big picture I’m floating wherever the river takes me. It’s not a bad thing to do I guess, if you’re perfectly fine with being directionless, which apparently I’m not. Remember the last post about needing a “grand adventure”? That’s probably a way of asking for a direction and a goal to follow.
So this is what I was supposed to work on: finding a direction for my life. I had nearly a week to think of something, but my mind is blank. I don’t know what the hell I want in life, and I don’t know what direction I want to move in. It’s frustrating and I think that’s the entire point of this post. I thought I might end up saying more, but there doesn’t seem to be anything more. Obviously all of this makes sense — if you don’t have a direction to move towards you’ll feel adrift in life — but that doesn’t help me know anything about the direction to choose.
I really appreciate how the therapist basically tells me shit that I’ve known all along in a way. I sit there and think “duh” but I haven’t figured any of this out on my own so it’s not a sarcastic “duh” at all. It should be obvious to me but it isn’t.
This reminds me of a conversation we had at work last week. Something about how easy it is to see everyone else’s faults and flaws but yours are hopelessly hidden by your own complex personality. I’ve mentioned before how I feel like I don’t even know myself even though I’m sure I do a ton of things that don’t make any sense or undermine my own happiness. But I’m blind to them. One friend said something like, “I don’t want to live up to other people’s expectations; why do I have to always try to please them?” I replied with, “But they’re not your expectations for yourself, so fuck what they think.” A few of them laughed and then I also added, “Even though I’m the same way. Maybe I should take my own damn advice.” Then I frowned. Taking your own advice is hard, harder than dishing it out to others.
I wish I could see myself from an outside perspective because then maybe I’d make more sense. I wish I could get out of my head. I wish I knew exactly what I did want out of life without being so confused over it. Do people like that exist? Are there really people who wake up daily and know exactly what the hell they want out of life? To view life as a tool to be happy with and not as a river they’re floating in and unable to navigate? It makes me jealous, but I guess I am the way I am. Not that I can’t change, but changing is a hard thing to do.