Underthecurrent


sturdy up your heart
December 5, 2017, 4:52 pm
Filed under: insight, when I grow up

[A quick scan shows December is a rare thing in these archives.  Has it always been a dark month? A busy one?]

This has been the heaviest birthday.  Too much time to ruminate and shake around the facts to try and make sense of why has, maybe, not been the most prudent use of time.

On one hand, there is a list of everything that has gone right, which being reasonable (and having any sense of perspective) looks like a semi-charmed life.

On the other, there is the question:  is this where you thought you would be right now?

Are you who you want to be right now?

What are the things you thought you’d make time for over those years that got missed?

How will it feel if you never doing those things?

Will you be happy if the second half of this trip looks mostly like this first round?

Do you even have enough time to change any of these streams?  If you do, how close is it to the escape hatch blowing by, the point where it’s much hard to change streams?

Are you making the most of this stupid short time in the universe?

*

It’s hard to talk about this with most people.  Complaining about a solipsistic existential crisis when so many people have real, hard, non-existential stuff that is happening is apex jerk.  Whining about having too many options and wondering if there are better-than-good options.

But.

Not asking these questions, at least privately, is the scariest thing right now.  Just floating on, continuing to ride the path of relative middle class first world success.  When examining this first act, the worst fear is that maybe too many easy routes were taken.  It’s easier, in some ways, to do things to make another person happy than it is to protect your own happiness.  It’s easier to do things you’re obviously good at, although perhaps unsatisfying, than to fail a bit at things you’d like to be good at.  It’s easiest to conform and hide than to challenge and be criticized.

 

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Great Expectations
November 17, 2017, 1:35 am
Filed under: runaway, when I grow up

In such a strange head space right now.

Work yesterday was fun – the food, the people, just enough action to keep things busy. Some funny stories. Worth leaving the house at 6:30 am and getting back around 10:00 pm.  So much of the job has to remain concealed.  Non-disclosure agreements, social media policies.

I walked in to get dressed, she said “We’re going to have to ugly you up!”

Today was just rain and darkness.  Back to the question of what to do in this city.  Killing time and ending up doing nothing at all.  Sitting in this vantage point, looking back over these years.  Feeling feelings continues, for better or worse.

It’s not hard to find the right words to make those years productive, almost compelling.  Helping people; genuinely there are a handful whose lives were very impacted by the work.  Making money, decent money.  Professional achievements.  Spending more time with family.  Maybe in time any of these will come to mean more, to feel like more than items accomplished on someone’s to-do list.

It’s also not hard to look and see that most people were doing the same.  Social media feeds shifted from imperative information to “at least it’s funny” to obscenely dull.  If it’s not shots of deeply mundane life events, it’s commentary on television programs or grating politics.

Maybe the abyss began to stare back.

All stacked up, it’s impossible not to want more.  To feel envy for the sprinkling of people who seemed to pursue more instead of sedating and just waiting for life to get on with it.

The most striking aspect of the last few years is a strange kind of loneliness.  In part, this is probably a consequence of not being really seen.  Pretending to be something, to fit into something, has that danger.  It gets harder to take the mask off at all.  It has also been a consequence of changing behaviors to fit assumed expectations – socially not being too loud, too funny, too forward.  Whose expectations becomes the question; there are several answers, some of them uncomfortable.

Coming out from these walls: like coming out of a bomb shelter after a long time away.

*

The call is coming from the ocean.  Ten years ago, a perfect morning.  Everything still but the water.  A feeling of peace, completeness, for the first time ever.  Letting go.

*

All of the big life questions seem to be looming at once.  Where will you live? What will you do? Who will you be surrounded by?  Everything is so wide open.  It feels almost wrong, things aren’t supposed to be like this at this age.  Don’t you have something together?

I’ve been resisting writing.  Because it feels like the truth will continue to come out and perhaps there are downsides to this.  Exploration can lead to discomfort.



a good choice
May 25, 2017, 11:15 pm
Filed under: when I grow up

As though the universe wanted to assure that this was a Good Choice, the last few weeks have illustrated all the frustrations:  unreasonable demands, incompetent support, rudeness and a touch of condescending commentary.

Majestic, really.



Goals
May 15, 2017, 11:55 pm
Filed under: when I grow up

Sometime a few months ago, a target was picked based on some calculations.  The whole genesis of this number is not memorable, just that it was round and it made sense.  Today, two weeks ahead of schedule, the needle ticked over.  Achieved. Done.

It’s mostly a secret.  Some people know parts but it’s unclear if anyone knows everything, other than the two of us.  It’s better that way.  It also wasn’t a grand plan, just a series of decisions, piece by piece.  The first steps were the hardest but maybe also the most satisfying.  Now it’s just a bunch of numbers, moving up and down.

The future? Wide open.



fine.
April 18, 2017, 12:11 am
Filed under: when I grow up, work work work work work

In ten days, finally, finally, everyone can know and the end can begin.

Presently, trying to muster up enough to keep working.  Keep working for three, four, five more days.  The only thing that sounds like a good idea are carbohydrates.  Caffeine does nothing.  Naps are a panacea.

A lot of things are on track.  There’s a spreadsheet with running totals and projections, it says everything is fine.

Everything is fine.



What Happens Next
October 20, 2016, 11:19 pm
Filed under: unrelated thoughts, when I grow up

Waiting for the drilling to stop.  Upstairs, banging, drilling, almost the sound of pressure washing.  Over and over.  The Taj Mahal of renos.

Tick, today’s main event ends.  There’s one more big thing tomorrow.  The month is careening quickly towards being over.  The mostly-joking extended countdown ticks into “reasonable” countdown territory.

There have been a series of moving end points for this project.  First, it was about getting to last summer.  Then, it became about finishing the year.  Now, it’s a question of sometime between February and May, and a the bigger question of a clean cut or a slow fade away.  There’s a nearing reality of actually not doing this anymore, this starts to lead to the question:

What happens next?There is no obvious answer.  Almost five years ago, there was an apparent answer (this).  Before that, there was an answer (quit, travel).  Before that, pure pragmatics (graduate, gain the minimum amount of experience to open the door later).  For the last, oh, fifteen years there have always been fairly apparent steps and doors, everything unfolding in ways that seemed to make sense.  There’s an immediate next part (adventure) but beyond that it’s far less obvious.

*

The fascinating act of disappearing a relationship from the internet.  No outbursts, no inappropriate emojis soliciting comfort.  The absence having more meaning that the presence of things.

Online breakups are often preluded by the end of joint social media postings by couples who have almost completely documented their relationships in the semi-public (and haven’t had kids and lost so much sleep they can’t remember passwords).  If it’s amicable, there may still be friendly acknowledgment once in awhile, but soon that will stop too.

Suddenly, there will be a profile picture cull.  All those joint shots, blip.  If looking already, a new swipe-right shot will appear (fun! cute) [future life, if this is around in ten more years – that was a jokey reference to Tinder].  This is the major clue.

Is everyone else playing social media detective?



Island Life
October 19, 2016, 12:37 am
Filed under: when I grow up

“You should really go to the farmer’s market.”

“Did you go to the farmer’s market?”

“I’ll drop you off at the farmer’s market, you’re in for a treat, there’s a guy that makes crepes.”

It’s raining.  The farmer’s market is a series of acceptably shielded tents in a muddy field.  Some muffins, produce.  It’s okay.  Welcome to the island.  On the boat, the windows are kept open to ventilate the oil stove as the rain keeps coming.  A stray box of crackers is subsistence when rowing to shore seems crazy.  Eventually, the rain stops, a long hike to the few restaurants and stores begins.  In town, there’s breakfast whose quality is magnified by its rarity.  There is also a video-rental-and-fishing-tackle store doing brisk business.

The ocean is heaving with life:  seals, endless fish, birds.  Clear water all the way down.  Men pump and bail rainwater from rowboats.

The next night disappears into the rocking of the boat.  For the next few days, off the boat, things keep swaying.  At the pub, between the pints and lost land legs, it’s difficult to use a knife and fork.  Nearby, the farmer’s market is replaced with a community apple press.  One early morning, as the sun comes up, we throw our packs together and go.

*

Between now and an actual holiday.  There are forty four work days, broken up into increments.   A series of projects to complete, none particularly appealing.

And now for the next trick.  Right now a bureaucratic monster lies ahead, a multi headed beast that we are attacking bit by bit.  The kitchen table is a battleground of documents and records.

Every little thing’s gonna be alright.