I once saw a TV show about a young boy with a rare disorder which leaves him in a constant state of extreme hunger. No matter how much he eats, it is not enough; he is still ravenously hungry. His parents have to lock the refrigerator and the kitchen cupboards and watch him constantly. Were he left unchecked, he would quite literally eat himself to death. His condition reminded me of another documentary I'd seen on an experiment in which laboratory scientists located and destroyed the area in a dog's brain which tells it when it had drunk enough water. As a result, the dog's thirst could never be quenched. I found both cases heart-wrenching, and in the case of the dogs, terribly cruel.
And yet I find I have a not totally dissimilar condition in my attitudes toward life. While I have totally lost my physical senses of taste and smell, my hunger for life itself can never be satisfied, my thirst for it never quenched. No matter how many places I have traveled, they are never enough. I see photos of exotic lands, and remote mountains and valleys and islands and quaint villages, and I want to be there. Even many of the places I have already been I want to be there again—despite having been to Europe every year for the past four years.
I am not satisfied with all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in my life: I want the ones I've already had again, and I want more of them. Infinitely more. I cannot be content with the fact that I have been blessed throughout my life with people I have loved and who have loved me. I want them and their love now. I want to love and be loved, to hold and be held by those people without limit, without horizons. I still love my parents and Aunt Thyra and Uncle Buck and Ray deeply and intently. My love for them hasn't diminished in the slightest, though they are no longer here to receive and reciprocate it—and I have reached the age where it is all but impossible that I could ever again find that kind of love. Invaluable as the love I have for my friends, it is not the same.
I want to read all the books I have always wanted to read and all the books I've never even heard of that I know I would love. I cannot write enough of my own books—no matter how many I write, I want to write more.
There is so very much that I want to know that I will never know...and again, to understand on a rational level that no one can ever know everything, just as no one can travel to all those exotic places I long to see, or read all the books in even one small library, does not lessen by one iota my desire to want these things.
Every day on the street I see people who are older than I, or more physically or mentally or socially challenged than I, and I always give sincere thanks for my own relative good fortune. But it is never enough. Despite acknowledgement that I am relatively very well off, I want more. I want to be 21 again and be able to do all those things which the years, having given me and soothed me into believing would be mine forever, have steadily been taking away. I am confused, and saddened, and angered by it. Logic, history, my own mind...reality...dictate clearly and calmly that I must simply accept the fact that I had all these things once, and they were wonderful, but they are gone. How can I possibly refuse to accept that fact? I don't know, but I do not accept it. I want them back. I want them now, and I want more!
I really do consider myself to be a logical person. I know the things and people that I have lost neither will nor can come back. I know the terror with which I watch myself becoming less and less who I have always been is utterly pointless. But in my constant battle between logic and emotion, between my heart and my head, emotion and heart win each skirmish. I know full well that logic and reality will inevitably win the war. But that doesn't mean I intend to stop fighting until that moment comes.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).