I think virtually everyone, except perhaps the very Zen or very old, goes through life haunted to some degree by the feeling that this isn’t quite the real thing, not just yet – that soon enough, we’ll get everything in working order, get organised, get our personal issues resolved, but that till then we’re living what the great Swiss psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz called the “provisional life.” (“There is a strange feeling that one is not yet in real life. For the time being, one is doing this or that… [but] there is always the fantasy that sometime in the future the real thing will come about.”)Oliver Burkeman, What if You Never Sort Your Life Out?
So it’s not just me.
If only it were. Then I could hold out hope that others, somewhere, were compensating for my deficiencies.
Knowing how common this feeling is adds another layer to the grief of our time, existential now, and pervasive, this sense that we’re just not getting to it, whatever it may be.
Your mileage may vary. If so, share your secrets.