Just think: you could blow it all up right now. You could walk into a bar and the second that drink hits your throat, your life starts over. Your six months start over. Your two years. Your nine years. Just hit that joint and you’re free. You won’t have to carry this anymore, this responsibility.
Because it is a responsibility, isn’t it? It was supposed to be for you, just for you, but somewhere along the way someone convinced you to promise other people you’d stay sober. And now, here you are. How is this fair?
The reason it is fair, and the reason you should not blow up your life, can best be summarized by the penultimate scene in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can.
The movie, which tells the story of the surrogate father-son relationship between a young con artist named Frank Abagnale (based on a real life criminal by the same name) and the wizened FBI agent on his tail, ends after Frank has been captured and recruited to work for the bureau. Naturally skittish and eager to escape his newfound obligation, Frank has lit out for the airport, only to find Carl Hanratty, the agent assigned to his case, there waiting for him.
“I’m gonna let you fly tonight, Frank,” says Carl, following the young man as he makes his way toward his gate, “I’m not even gonna try to stop you. Because I know you’ll be back on Monday.”
“Yeah? How do you know I’ll come back?” asks Frank, finally stopping.
“Look, Frank…” Carl extends an arm toward the empty terminal stretched out behind them.
“…Nobody’s chasing you.”
Please understand that the boredom you feel right now is not some minor inconvenience upon which you are frivolously or accidentally dwelling; it is of the Great Beast, crucial and eternal. Getting loaded would mask the symptom for the moment, but getting loaded is cheating, and cheaters always lose in the long game.
Life is a long game, if you’re lucky. The savage irony, of course, is that if you knew just how short life truly is, your boredom would evaporate like steam in sunlight, revealing itself to be an unfortunate illusion.
In the meantime, this writer is confident that you will do your best to get a kick out of something somewhere, and stay sober. And why is this?
Look around. Nobody’s chasing you.