The Quarter Life Century Purge

It has been months since my last post. For a while there I was distracted by life events and new experiences that in a classic mid-twenties shake up changed the way I think about myself and made me question my life choices and doubt my future. Don’t you love that?

It was last September. The week of my twenty-fifth birthday. I had been fighting a lot with my partner Taylor over our choices and fears and unknowns, weeks of accumulating stress pouring out, when suddenly I was smacked by the worst case of diarrhea I’ve ever had. Just like that – Poof! – the fighting stopped. Taylor switched to care-taking mode while I spent four days either in bed or on the toilet. He drove me seven hours to my parents house when the diarrhea didn’t stop, because I needed to be in a space of no shame, where there was a toilet right next to the bedroom. (I could barely make the minute walk from my cabin to the compost toilet at Lyford, and by day two I feared for the integrity of the compost.) Funny how my other anxieties disappeared when all my time was concerned with swallowing a piece of bread without it immediately coming out the other side. This experience reminded me of a few important things. One, that the mind and body are intimately connected, and when one goes south, so does the other. Two, the body has a way of shedding what it doesn’t need. Cleansing itself. It was like all this poison had built up inside my mind, and my body purged it in a physical way. The Quarter Life Century Purge, I call it. I have no idea what caused it. I didn’t eat or drink anything out of the ordinary. I live in close quarters with five other people and none of them got sick. I can’t explain it other than it was a physical manifestation of my stress and anxiety that my body so desperately needed out. Three, it reminded me that I have incredible people in my life who are willing to put their lives and problems aside for my sake, even when I’m being such an asshole that even my asshole knows it.

When I finally recovered, food tasted amazing. I was genuinely awed by every bite. I know it’s not like I came back from some serious illness, I was just pooping for days, until it wasn’t poop, it was something else, and then it got weird, like, how is there still stuff coming out of me? (Kind of like the detoxifier episode in Rick and Morty, I became my toxins.) But it did feel like a TOTAL rebirth. That kind of cleanse can’t be bought on earth. It puts the lemon and maple syrup fad to shame. If only more people knew. If you want to totally get rid of your mental stress and anxiety about life, you just have to get inexplicably sick until you poop out all your worries to the point where you’re wondering, am I gonna die? and when it’s finally over you’ll totally forget what you were stressed about and appreciate life again. Tell me a therapist who has worked more efficiently. Sure it’s a pretty aggressive method, but it reeeeally gets the message across. It turns you into a skeleton, until you realize that all of your happiness comes from those you love and who love you, and life is a big confusing journey that is so impossible to control that you might as well learn to sit back and shut up and appreciate what you have.

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So after the Great Purge for short, I had some time off and visited old friends. Did the classic spilling of my heart and soul to people who’ll listen for free. Then I listened to their problems and did the whole, oh my life isn’t that bad compared to yours, thing. We all struggle. Then I returned to Maine for winter season kind of dreading it, because my best friend and female confidant Alaina was going to work at a different lodge eighteen miles North of me. Eighteen miles doesn’t seem like a long distance, but in the Maine woods nothing is a short journey. And when your BFF goes from waking up next to you every day to working an opposite schedule somewhere else, that can really suck. Two months pass and the season is already almost over. Despite my early reservations, it went surprisingly smooth. So many great guests, it’s all a blur. One thing that stands out is the epic amount of snowfall we had, and the never ending string of sunny days. When the weather, trails, and people are that good, it’s really hard not to love what I do.

I skied a lot this season, but also watched too much TV. I didn’t read or write enough, but I did finish some cool art projects. I cut my caffeine intake to one cup of tea a day. I bought my first pair of reading glasses, because I was tired of watching that wrinkle between my eyebrows grow deeper and deeper. I’m finding ways to strain less and listen to my gut more. It obviously can have a lot to say.

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