The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Wasn't I supposed to be somewhere else?

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Did you ever have the feeling you were supposed to be somewhere else, doing something important, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember what it was?

There are times when my entire life feels like that.

We’re all familiar with the feeling of suddenly remembering that we should be somewhere else, where someone is being let down by our absence. That awful tightening in your gut as you become aware that while you have been carrying on in blissful ignorance, your name is being cursed to the nth degree. You leap up, scramble for the phone, or the car keys, in absolute shock that you could have forgotten, while trying to come up with a plausible excuse and failing miserably.

But to get that lurching sensation, yet not know what it is you’re supposed to be doing, means that you don’t even get the blissful ignorance bit.

This emotion I periodically get is far bigger than the time I forgot to pick up my grandmother from the hairdresser; this is a feeling that somehow I chose the wrong life, or am utterly failing to do the one thing I was put on this planet to accomplish.

I can picture with intense clarity, lying on my deathbed and suddenly realising what it was I was supposed to do with my life, but only having enough time left to mutter, “Oh crap.”

It’s like I’m on a mission from God… but the stupid bugger forgot to tell me what it was.


Charlie said...

Your lurching sensations have been my harrowing panic attacks: the certainty that my life, as I have chosen to live it, is terribly wrong.

Panic can be controlled with medication, indicating that they are chemically-based. Why, then, the horrible sensation of a life lived wrongly?

Could they, then, be flashbacks to a prior life, glimpses of a soul that has not yet gotten it right?

34quinn said...

I actually do not get the feeling that I am suppose to be somewhere else doing something so much as .....I get the feeling I WANT to be somewhere else doing other things etc.

It really is not the same thing. I suppose it is just my own mid-life crisis...

butrkp said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one that has felt this way. I have thought on occasion that I was losing what little was left of my mind.

St Jude said...

When I was packing I found an old poster that had been on my wall when I was a teenager at home. (I'm useless at throwing things out.) It says 'one day I'll get my big chance... or have I already had it?' The Captain bless him had written on it 'not yet love'. As I sat and looked at it again after almost thirty years, I began to panic!!

Charlie said...

I call this the inner hysteria .Its when all those things you should, could, might have done come back to bite you.

happykat said...

It's like a haunting. That thing that you see in the corner of your eye, on the very edge of your sight, teasing your mind, your purpose.

(or something like that)

Kim Ayres said...

Admiral - Your words moved me deeply. Suddenly the cat with the lime on its head looks lost.

I don't know.

Being an athiest I'm not a great believer in past lives either.

It's an inherent conflict that on the one hand I feel like there's something I ought to be doing, which points to purpose in the universe, while at the same time I feel that there is no purpose other than what we choose there to be.

Quinn - if there are things you know you'd rather be doing then go and do them!

Butrkp - I wasn't sure whether this is a common feeling or a rare one. I still don't. I'll need to see how the comments pan out.

St Jude - that sounds like a similar feeling. Can you remember what you planned to do with your life 30 years ago? If you'd asked me 20 years back what I'd be doing a couple of decades hence, I'd have been damned surprised at how my life has gone.

Charlie - but is it a justified hysteria?

HappyKat - haunting, teasing, yes, those are the right words.

Monstee said...

It's like I'm on a mission from God… but the stupid bugger forgot to tell me what it was.

Me can TOTALLY relate to that... but it never make me worry or nothing. Me carry it through and put it in terms me can deal with. In this case, me think of all the times me bosses at me many jobs have been yelling at me for not doing something they not tell me to do and that look on they face when me tell them that they not ever tell me to do that. They turn all pink and start thinking fast and back peddling. Now this may not necessarily work with god... but then again me know for sure that god am not perfect. How? Three things. Pickled beets, the movie "Eraserhead" and Steven Segal's acting career. Three thing that would not/could not exist if god were perfect.

34quinn said...

Hey Kim,
that is exactly where I am right at this time in my life, Is why I closed down my home daycare and started a new job and working on figuring out the rest as I go.
I have noticed in just the past couple of weeks I am feeling alot less stressed and not feeling so caged.

SafeTinspector said...

Kim:I've felt this way occasionally, but usually about decisions I made in my early adulthood.
If only I got better grades in high school.
If only I went to college.
If only I took piano lessons.
If only....

These feelings have subsided somewhat in recent years, and now manifest only as an occasional rueful head-shake.
I am reasonably successful in what I do, but I remember being considered a person with potential. Reasonable success seems as if I've short-changed myself.

In reaction to your response to Pooper: If you are an atheist, then how do you account for any sort of feeling that you are "supposed" to be doing any particular thing with your life?
I suppose you could feel regret at having not capitolized on opportunities to increase one's enjoyment or accomplishments, but I can't see how one can ascribe purpose to life beyond self-preservation and procreation if one doesn't acknowledge any sort of spirituality.
(I'm playing devils advocate here, but I admit I am free-lance gnostic)

SafeTinspector said...

monstee:Your examples could be used as evidence that God just has a really good sense of humor.

'Course, if you take into account murder, mayhem and genocide, you've got a different sort of evidence about God's supposed perfection.

Gyrobo said...

I've never felt out of place, as I've never bothered thinking much about my life. As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is an unfortunate but necessary byproduct of industry."

Kim Ayres said...

Monstee - well, if I end up facing God after this life, then I will have no concerns about telling Him that if He did have a message for me or mankind then He was a bit too bloody obscure.

Of course if there is nothing, then there's no excuse for absolving my responsibility by blaming some non-existent deity for my lack of purpose.

Quinn - That's great! Stress is one of the biggest killers, and if you feel in control of your life then it's so much better for you :)

SafeTinspector - I don't know, to be honest. This is one of the things I'm struggling with.

Gyrobo - wise man, that Socrates!

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