It would be nice to take a long, deep breath for a few minutes. Just relax, breathe, sit and simply watch the world fly by peacefully.
Restlessness, though, is my and – I bet – other men’s little friend.
This nagging sense of restlessness keeps men looking for validation outside of themselves. It might come from the latest sexual conquest (congrats, by the way, says the sexual anorexic). It might come from a new business deal which brings more money than Jesus into your life. It might come from a new car, new house or being able to lift 50 more pounds in the gym than a month ago.
Restlessness can usually be traced back to some event which leaves a man feeling upset and angry. He wants do something about something to someone or some event, change what it means to him, and get it “right.” I know that most of my life has been spent with a low level of restless energy flowing through me. I’ve moved around so damned much, living in numerous apartments within one city, moving from city to city for work, and never feeling “at home” in my heart and soul. Talk about commitment phobic! It is no wonder I’ve had just four intimate relationships in my life. I can’t even commit to myself.
But that’s not true on a universal sense. I’ve committed myself to a years-long healing journey, filled with being involved with different communities focused on healing and wholeness. I have found things like prayer, meditation, exercise, reading and writing – yes, writing! – as outlets for this restless energy.
My sense is that there are a lot of other men (and women, too) who face daily situations where simply “being” can be almost horrific. Sitting still? Forget that shit. Let’s get in our cars and drive, drive, drive aimlessly around cities and country fields. Let’s just not focus on something powerful and beautiful, like our lover or business. Do anything else other than what needs to be done. It makes life more adventurous, more fun, more daring and – at times – more dangerous. Why? Because the alluring sense of restlessness offers us this unqualified opportunity to avoid anything which needs attention.
Just keep moving. That’s it. Just keep going and going and going. There’s no A-to-B, point-by-point direction when restlessness takes over. If your life is filled with a lot of travel for work, business, fun or a mixture of all three, then there are going to be trips from one destination to the next. That’s not restlessness; that’s getting the work or job done. Of course, someone could also pipe up and say that traveling too much can be a form of restless behavior masked under workaholic tendencies.
Here’s my question around this insane dance of frenetic energy. When the fuck does it end? When I’m dead? Please, dear Jesus, tell me that’s not so. What a crapshoot. Restlessness just goes on and on, like the road never ending? I choose to believe there are other options than solely being restless.
It takes a lot of work to quell the restless energy which fills men up all the time. It takes focus, intention, and effort to change things around for the better. What an awful state to be in, though, all of the time. It’s like waiting around for the next shoe to drop.
For me, I recall so many times where I’d be at work or attempting to do something for “fun” and get a phone call at 1:45 a.m. after getting off of work. It usually was my grandmother calling me and telling me that my mom had a health issue, they called an ambulance, and I had to meet them at a Houston-area hospital. More times than not, the health issue was not a life-threatening one. Admittedly, though, it’s those “9-1-1” type of calls which I received that can leave me looking around and just waiting for a phone call. “They are both dead, Joe,” I tell myself. “The phone calls aren’t coming anymore. It’s over. Let it go.”
What if someone else needs something at 2 a.m. from me? Like a family member? I have to be prepared for the “next 9-1-1” call, right? I can’t simply let it the fuck go. I have to be “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I can’t go on vacations. I don’t know what “fun” and “play” are about. “Other people” get vacations … and I’m happy for them. See the world. See the ocean, animals, foreign countries and beautiful people of all shapes, sizes, religions and ethnicities.
But I have to stay near the phone, OK. I have to keep on the Restless Express.
It’s a horrible state to admit this type of stuff still rattles within me. It feels like a sort of non-military combat post-traumatic stress disorder going on … and it’s not a laughing matter.
Dealing with restlessness is something which, I believe, is a problem for a lot of people. Yes, hitting the gym and weights on a regular basis has been a Godsend into my life over the past 18-plus months. I’ve met some of the bravest men and women in these “rooms,” much like I have also met many others in other “rooms” which I have played in my life.
Well, I’m tired now. My restlessness, at least for the next hour or so, has been soothed. I hope you find your path to a peaceful life, one with less restlessness and more tender, loving care.
Photo: Getty Images