Mario Villalobos

Quiet Desperation

I want to do things better. I want to do my blog better, I want to do my novel better, and I want to do every aspect of my life better. I don’t know how — I have some ideas for some things — but that’s how I feel after today. Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel this way. Life would be easier, I think, if I didn’t feel so dissatisfied with it so much. What’s the point?

I felt really good about myself today after I cleaned up around my house a bit. I cleaned up my desk, my bookshelf, and my books, and I like what I did with it. I stepped back and looked at my home, and I really loved it. I came up with more ideas as to how I can improve it, but I haven’t committed to anything yet. I don’t know why this stuff makes me happy, but it does.

I also, finally, scanned all the papers I’ve accumulated since before my vacation into my computer. Many of those were statements, and I felt bad again when I had to go into YNAB and reconcile my accounts. I spent so much money on car repairs, on gas, and at IKEA, that I hope it all becomes worth it. I think it does, but some old feelings are returning, and I don’t know what to do about them yet.

I became enamored with minimalism all those years ago because I had a lot of stuff, and I wondered what the point of it all was. Some of those feelings came back while organizing and cleaning my stuff. There were faint, but I recognized them from another life. I’ve caught up with my life from three years ago, and now I’m ready to get back into it. I have dozens and dozens of books stacked on my side table that I haven’t read yet. Books I bought years and years and years ago. It’s funny how different I am from the person who bought these books. Old ideas and old yearnings came back, and part of me has grown that I don’t feel those same old things anymore. I know I’m going to enjoy these books — hell, some of them are making me excited to start on them quickly — but it feels like I need to read them because I have them. Because I spent money on them, and they’re sort of a promise to my old self. A part of me thought I’d be a better person if I read this book or that one. Maybe I was right? Only one way to find out.

I like who I am, and I like who I’ve become, but I’m also dissatisfied with myself, and this inherent contradiction confuses me. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. Thoreau wrote that in Walden, one of my favorite books of all time. That quote just popped up in my head, and that’s exactly how I feel right now. Desperate for something, but I’m not sure what. I’m tapping my foot on the floor, always looking at the time, waiting for something, yearning for something soul-quenching, but it hasn’t arrived yet, if it ever will. Will I ever find fulfillment? I don’t know.