I sit here and write.
My heart is not in it.
That doesn’t matter. I write anyway.
My mind has this covered.
It’s taken me a long time to get this point, but now I am here. I can write when my heart just isn’t in it.
This took a long, long time. It is definitely the realm of the old person I dwell in as I think about how I do this.
And yes, above all, it about the mind. It is about the left brain. It is about thinking.
My heart is for feelings. I love when my heart is in my writing. I love when my heart is in my life.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
I spend far too much time thinking about the past, particularly my college years, and can’t help but think, particularly with the false patina that nostalgia puts on things, that it was easier to have my heart engaged in life when I was in college.
There I was, a young person, surrounded by other young people, and we didn’t have much in the way of responsibilities. My life was about taking classes, hanging out, playing drums, writing for the school paper, hanging out at the radio station, going to concerts, going to movies, engaging in late night bull sessions, writing skits for coffee houses, and basically enjoying myself.
No, my heart wasn’t always fully engaged in all of this, but most of the time, it was.
Now I have bills to pay. I live on Long Island, and I don’t like living here.
I have one awesome friend down here, but she’s planning to move down South in the not too distant future.
As for the other friends in my life, one lives in Pennsylvania. The rest of them—and, most important, Megan—live in New England.
It takes two and a half hours to visit my friend in Pennsylvania. To visit Megan and my New England friends takes up to six hours of driving.
Many, many times, I am alone.
So down here, there are many times that my heart is not in the day. It is very easy, during those times, to yearn for the days when it was a lot easier to have my heart in the day, when I was younger, when I had few responsibilities, when I was surrounded by other people who had few responsibilities, and when I was surrounded by all these fun things to do.
But, I remind myself, I am not in the past. I am in the present. I am here.
So right now, I sit here. I write.
My heart isn’t in it.
My mind, however, is.
And this, I think, is what gets one word after another on the screen.
It’s so human to expect that our heart will be a part of living our lives, all the time. I’m sure there are some people with far older souls than mine who have mastered this. Alas, my soul is barely out of kindergarten, and there are many times that I do things in which my heart is nowhere to be found.
My mind, however, sighs, and says “well, someone has to allow us to say that we’ve done something today,” so it carries my heart on its back, which is giving me this great image of a brain giving a heart a piggy back ride. My mind plods forward on these rough days, during these rough times. Yes, there will be times, in the future, that my heart will be able to walk side my side with my mind, and during those times, I will feel fully alive, and my writing will have verve and soul.
Not today, though. Today, it’s just my mind.
These are the times that make me think of parents who are in no mood whatsoever to be a parent, but take a breath, and listen as their child talks to them because that child dearly needs their parent to listen to them.
Times like this make me think of those times in a relationship that one person is tired, really tired, and in no mood to go to that art show in the city, but they go because they know that other person really wants to go, and also know that there have been times that the other person has done the same for them.
Times like this make me think of a musician who is absolutely, utterly in no mood to play, but knows that if he or she doesn’t practice that day, they’re not going to be able to play what they want to play on those days that inspiration comes.
Times like this make me think of the artist who draws when he or she has no desire to draw, because, just like the musician, they’re going to be able to capture what they want to capture on the days that they’re inspired to capture it.
So no, there is absolutely no heart in what you’re reading, none. It can be a brutal thing to write, because when I write in this state, it feels as if I will never again, ever, write in such a way that my heart is engaged in it. It must be pretty depressing to read as well, and hey, I’m really sorry.
Yet if I don’t train my mind to power through those times that my heart just isn’t there, I’m just going to sit here and do nothing. Then it will be more difficult to write on those days when my heart is in it.
Fickle thing, my heart; good thing my mind is there to pick up the slack.
“I’m just not into this today,” my heart says.
“Okay,” my mind says, “it’s not going to be as good without you, it has to get done. I’ve got this.”
…And that is how I write an essay on the days that I just don’t want to write one.