The Terrible, Frightening, Wondrous Power of Clarity

In an episode of M*A*S*H there’s a character asking the doctors to operate to remove his epicanthic folds. He thought they made him look too Korean, and wanted to look more white.

I remember discussing this episode with Oriental friends of mine, thinking that it was the saddest thing in the world, to live in denial of who and what you are.

The irony of being sad about others living in denial is not lost on me. After decades of denial I finally admitted that I suffer from depression.

In admitting it after having lived 2/3 of my life I find myself unburdened. Being open about why certain things bother me, why I behave in certain ways, how I came to be who and what I am, etc., is remarkably freeing.

It is also remarkably scary, because I am now taking stock of my life to answer some questions:

  • Am I happy in my job/career and relationships?
  • Am I happy with the path in front of me?
  • Am I willing and able to change?

Doing so with 2/3 of life gone is hard, because I know the answers to those questions:

  • No/no and yes
  • No
  • Yes

Knowing this, having achieved this clarity, I now have the responsibility to change. For my wife and kids, and for me.

Fortunately I’m not one who tends to look back with regret. I knew years ago that I wanted out, to make a change, but I had two problems.

First, I had responsibilities, i.e. a family to feed. A radical change at that time would have been financially ruinous.

Second, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or how to do it.

The search for clarity answered those questions, and all that is left is the pursuit.