One final story: For the first six months of 2005 I lived alone in Montreal; I went because I was overwhelmed and I picked Montreal because I had no friends there, and for the first few weeks all I experienced were pangs of withdrawal for everyone I loved. It was awful and all-consuming… and then it passed. And once it passed, I was in heaven. There I sat in my lovely, cheap apartment – no distractions, no email, surrounded by books. There was a grocery store across the street. The mountain was two blocks away, and I could climb it whenever I wanted. Self-confidence, health, happiness, the equanimity of the non-smoker – all were mine.
And then… I destroyed it. I met someone and then another person and before I knew it, all of the chaos of life came back, along with all my self-doubt and anxiety and fear.
But perhaps that’s what it’s for – self-confidence and courage and energy and peace – perhaps it’s to be used in the world. Perhaps there’s only one thing to do with it: spend it.
I’m always super-conscious of how whenever I go out into the world, whenever I get involved in a relationship, my idea of who I think I am utterly collides with the reality of who I actually am. And I continue to go out even though who I am always comes up short. I always prove myself to be less generous, less charming, less considerate, not as bold or energetic or intelligent or courageous as I imagined in my solitude. And I’m always being insulted, or snubbed, or disappointed. And I’m never in my pyjamas.
And yet, in some way, maybe this is better.”