On Indifference

I have spent the better part of a year attempting to fix something that was broken for a long time before I finally worked up the nerve to change my life.  Some tell me that celebrating this is essentially ridiculous because it’s celebrating a mistake, but of course, I haven’t viewed it that way.

I’ve carried this with me all of this time and I cannot tell you how relieved I am that I am almost completely done with it.  However, I have also come to the realization that dropping baggage is not just about ending a situation but about learning the Art of Indifference.

“What is the opposite of love,” a friend once challenged.

“Hate.”

“You’re vicious,” she said.  She wasn’t telling me something I didn’t already know.

“Well, it is.  Think about it.  Love is such an intense emotion so the opposite would be as well.”

“Not at all.  Think about it.  The opposite of love is indifference.  When you stop having any concern and you realize how insignificant that person or thing is, you’ve come to the opposite of love.”

“Whatever.”  I simply wasn’t ready to hear it.  It was a bad time in my life and this certainly wasn’t the consolation I was seeking.  But I kept it there, in the back of my mind.

I spent most of 2013 imagining creative and painful ways to exact revenge on someone.  This is something I used to spend a lot of time doing when it came to people that hurt me.  At some point, I decided to let ‘karma’ or the ‘universe’ handle situations but it didn’t stop the images from being conjured.

Getting hit by a truck.  A train derailment because an operator was texting.  Broken limbs.  Maybe not even a brilliant death, but rather an extraordinary amount of pain.  Not the kind that would kill you; but the kind that would make you wish you were dead.

Hate is such a wasted emotion.  It saps your energy.  It keeps you from focusing on the other things you have going on in your life; maybe even preventing you from seeing the positive things.  It makes you bitter.  It makes you ugly.

And I finally realized that as excited as I was to receive the news yesterday, it really is bittersweet.  Not because I’m unhappy that it’s finally over (or getting damn close to being completely done), but because I had the wrong focus.  I was so focused on the journey it took to get here that all I could do was celebrate the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

At this point, celebrating is moot. I’m not yet indifferent.  Stuffing my face with my favorite red and pink Starburst aren’t going to make the hate go away (although I seriously appreciated the sweet gesture).  Having dinner and focusing on something else didn’t make me feel any less resentment.

But do you know what has helped?  Realizing that I do have power.  I theoretically have the power to control how I feel about something, how I think.  And that’s all I have, at least in this regard.

Love is a funny thing.  It’s not over until you feel absolute numbness at the thought of a person.  Nothing is unconditional and we only have the semblance of control over the things that happen to us.

I’m grateful for the people around me that have helped me grow.  One in particular that challenged those negative emotions, kept me from focusing on them and helping me see that none of this was cause for celebration.  Reflection, yes.  Learning from it, absolutely.

But celebrating the destruction of something?  Not cool at all.

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