Dear Father Tony,
I am tired of everything I have here. But everything is just fine. Home, guy, job, money. Car. I just think maybe this is all a mistake and I'm not happy and I could be if I slipped out the back door in the middle of the night.
"Feeling guilty for what I have not done."
How to snap out of it
Dear Feeling Guilty,
Sounds like you got it bad. Feeling a little Bridges of Madison County? Hitting middle age are you? Always been a good boy and never a bad boy, have you? Ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater? Eager to make a major blunder with lasting repercussions?
Look, there are plenty of moments in life when the call of the wild makes you restless and eager to leave the Shire for some grand adventure that you feel has been denied you, or for some passionate romance that you suspect has eluded you. When that feeling seizes you, everything around you seems drained of color and two-dimensional. Your drive to work is grim. Lunch is tasteless. The sound of your partner's voice is empty or annoying.
If that is how you feel, you are especially susceptible to temptations that you'd ordinarily laugh away. Don't even stop to pack because I hear they've discovered gold on Sutter's farm in California and if you hesitate you'll lose.
Luckily, most of us act out mildly rather than disastrously when this mood hits us. We pick a fight with a co-worker or boss, but we don't quit or jeopardize our jobs. We flirt, but we don't divorce. We buy a lottery ticket but we don't lose our savings at a casino. We take a trip to some tropical paradise, but we come home on time.
I guess the important thing when you wake up in the middle of the night and find your mind racing while wrestling with these thoughts is to wake up your partner and tell him/her what you are feeling. (This is ordinarily the very last thing we would think of doing because we don't want that partner to know how much we feel deserving of the superior embrace of some local version of Brad or Angelina.) At work, proclaim your feeling of discontent. Announce the fact that you are no longer having fun on the job and that you want that feeling to come back. Your co-workers will probably tell you that they have already sensed this. They may share their own similar feelings with you, as might your partner.
Obviously, there is very little your partner or co-workers can do to help you other than be patient and sensitive and more patient when you rebuff their sensitive outreach. Meanwhile, make a safe change or two. Paint something a different color. (I once got blue contact lenses for no sensible reason.) Buy a new gizmo whose features you won't be able to operate. Get a dog. (On second thought, don't get the dog.)
What you are going through is part of life. Earlier generations of the human race never lived long enough to go through these feelings. Everything was crammed into forty or so action-packed years of dodging hungry dinosaurs. Who had time for ennui? Just understand and appreciate the difference between your distress and the desperation of someone whose life is really bad and who must run away in order to find relief. And, yes, I know that these things are easy for me to say because I have been lucky in life, but there isn't a one of us who does not want to taste the greener grass of someone else's pasture. Grass is like velvet, the nape of which catches light from one angle making it look dark and from another angle making it look light. Shake the folds and suddenly that which was greener is now pale. Calm down. Stroke the velvet till it is smooth. Eat something.