In The Tank

A first-timer’s experience in a sensory deprivation flotation tank

I felt scared at first. It was the deepest darkness I had ever experienced. The tank felt unfamiliar and impersonal. I worried that I would be locked in, or that I wouldn’t be able to find the door to leave. Images of the tank filling with water as I slowly drowned raced through my head. “Drowning is supposed to be the most pleasant way to die” I thought to myself.

However, remembering the 157 positive Yelp reviews and credibility of the establishment gave me ease.

I spent the next moments acclimating to the tank environment. Finding the right position for my arms and feet. I felt a strange pressure in my stomach, as if my body was being pulled down at both ends and stretching apart in the middle.

Once I felt I was comfortable, my mind began to wander. At first, I was concerned with getting the most of this experience. Would I have a life-changing lucid-dream-like experience like I hoped?

Realizing this dream was not imminently beginning, I began to do a mental exercise I was familiar with doing: meditation.

After some moments of inhales and exhales, I found a new thought came into my head. I imagined myself as a 75 year old man. What if when I left this tank I was myself in 53 years? What would I think about my life? What would I regret about my choices?

Visions of my older self peering into the mirror as I exited than tank flashed vividly in my mind. What if I really was 75 years old in this moment, and being in thank made me feel like I was 22 again?

How will I feel when I’m 75? Will my body ache, and joints degenerate? Will I remember being 22 years old with a jealous nostalgia? The 75 year old man who emerged from the floating tank didn’t seem to have that feeling. He seemed happy and content with his life.

At 22, I’ve been focusing living in a way that brings fulfillment and joy to my life. For all I can predict, this didn’t stop over my next 53 years of living. As I write this now, 53 years does not seem so far away.

As this daydream faded away, I began to muse on the elements of my life I should focus on to ensure this “vision” of happiness in age is fulfilled.

Health. Health was the first thing that came of mind for reaching this milestone. I don’t want to be tired and weak in my older years. I’ve met some 95+ year-olds that are spry and energetic, but 65 year olds who are frail and tired. Focusing on longevity starting NOW is critical. As a result of this insight, I’ve instructed my personal trainer to develop a routine focused on long-term longevity and health-span.  

Happiness. After health, what is more important than happiness? Of course I want to live a happy life. But how can I focus on the things that actually are making me happy? I need to reflect on this one. I don’t want to fall into a trap of pursuing society’s version of happiness (money, fame, etc). I want to do the things that truly bring joy and meaning into my life.

Learning. Learning fuels my happiness. Devouring new information about my topic du jour energizes me in a way few things do. Yet lately I feel intellectually stagnant. I keep learning about topics which I am familiar. I feel my thirst for knowledge should span more far-reaching fields. This is an area of improvement.

Creation. How often do I actually create something new? Art, poetry, short stories, uniquely articulated expressions of the human experience. These are what I mean by creating. Hence the reason I am writing this right now…

These thoughts all came fourth and seemed to organize themselves into a hierarchical set of laws for which by to live my life. Recording them here is my hope to ensure they are not forgotten.

But what about tomorrow!? The next time I wake up, where will these laws of living be? Will I embody them as I live out the next 53 years of my life? Or will they be a passing memories that I view as a pseudo-philosophical realization that I forced upon myself to ensure I get $49 of value from the Newport Float Therapy center?

I would like to think that the tank is half full in this case.

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