Not quite ennui.
Yesterday I wrote about my cyclical bouts of metaphysical angst during this quarantine. It felt like ennui and for the most part I think that self-diagnosis was correct. Today, however, I am feeling something similar but not quite like traditional ennui.
The clinical definition of ennui involves listlessness, dissatisfaction, lack of occupation, and lack of excitement. While that may have been true over the past few days, it doesn’t quite fit how I’m feeling this morning.
For instance, I have very little desire to do anything physical, but it doesn’t seem to be listlessness. That would involve feelings of indifference. I don’t feel that today. Rather, I just feel still and calm, but somehow agitated (internally) at the same time.
And take the concept of dissatisfaction. I had a nice day yesterday, all things considered. Last night I finally went to a friend’s house to celebrate someone’s birthday. We had a lovely socially-distanced party on their large front porch and it was nearly like a normal social experience. I was relatively productive at work during the day, and I slept fine last night. I don’t feel overly dissatisfied with life – just frustrated by a sense of spinning my wheels. I feel kind of like a hamster in a cage, going round and round and round but getting nowhere.
Lack of occupation isn’t true today, as I have a large “to do” list at work particularly in light of my upcoming 12-day staycation. I’m busy – or as busy as one can be while working remotely for a theater that’s dark until January.
Lack of excitement? Well, that one is actually still holding true today.
So I don’t feel like I have a full-on case of ennui. Rather, I have something like “almost ennui.” I feel a lack of drive, but also feel agitated at the same time. Not languid, but attentively quiet. I am alert while feeling a lack of energy. Strange juxtapositions of energy.
Ah. As I type this I finally get a glimmer. It’s a bit like anxiety – only not like the kind that ends in a panic attack. It’s more like that nervous “waiting for something to happen” feeling. That’s what I am feeling today. I still have the edges of yesterday’s bout of ennui, but I am also merging now into a more alert zone where I feel as though I am waiting for something to happen. It’s like that proverbial “waiting for the shoe to drop” concept.
Well, Universe, bring it on. Whatever it is. I mean, it’s already been a hell of a year so one more thing will just be the cherry on the cake of my day.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.