Saturday, December 14, 2013

Memories & Bends

An unprovoked memory of saying goodbye to an English couple at night in a small train station.
The salt and pepper hair my dad suddenly has.
Old shoes not worn in two, three years on the shelf and no ability to discard them.
Veins across the bones in my hands.
The ease and delight of finding myself on my own bed between two dogs vying for affection.
A sweet kiss from the puppy who has learned how to lick instead of use her teeth to say hello.

One night. Memories and glimpses of just one night.

If a full life is a sum of all of its days, then that is a terrifying and terrible thought. It places a tremendous amount of pressure on every moment. It's debilitating, really. Because it's like- what am I doing? Am I living in a fantasy where living a life with a 9-5 kind of minimum wage job is acceptable to me forever? Does it matter? Because it's always mattered considerably and that is crippling.

Now, I am not sure what is going to happen. I can see the time for this kind of life coming to an end like approaching a bend in the road after traveling straight for many miles. It's the same road but there's a curve but I am not sure what I want to be around the curve. Or if I have control over that.

I don't care what Frost did or did not say about forks in the road mattering or not making a difference- it matters what you choose. 

I could leave my job- pay off my debts and pursue a career to make money. A job that might even allow me to travel around the world and get paid. Taste wild and dangerously delicious food in a colorful and dangerously foreign market. Dive off small cliffs into simple salt water and sand bays. Sit for another aching sunset. Aching for its sameness. 


Sameness...In a setting like that?

Why would you want a 9-5 life when that is your past and at your fingertips for the future?

Oh, it's within my grasp, I know it. 

But doing it alone- it is killing. Some people, I thought I was one of them, are lovers of traveling alone. It's great for them. They're huge fans of it. I'm not. I get really lonely and frankly, cold. 

However, the future is so unclear to me its sometimes worse than consuming my thoughts- it's so bad that I don't even want to think about it. This is treacherous territory to find oneself in. It's where many people lose themselves to settling and compromising. Although, what appears to be settling and compromising may actually be not the worst path to take for many, that is its own adventure enough.

The other night a friend told me what one of the winnings would be for a lottery. It was an unfathomable number of $400 million USD. So I asked him what he would do if he won.

At first, he answered that he would pay off his debts, sell his car (or just give it to someone) and leave. He would just up and get out of town. Then he told me that in seriousness, he would pay off his debt but then spend time traveling around for a couple of years before finding a place to settle down. 

But I'm thinking- you can do that without winning the lottery. Granted, it'd be a hell of a lot easier with money like that, but it's not like it's impossible. But would I even want that anymore?

And is it either/or? Do we have to choose between a life of success/singleness/freedom and a life of stability/partnership/responsibility? Because I want both. No, I want all of the above. 

Wide open spaces. Empty trains careening through western Europe at night or crowded buses on dusty roads by day. Strange beds in new houses and a house and land to call my own to return to at the end of another adventure. Relationships and familiarity in a community. The wild, out there days or weeks full of meeting new people (who are nothing like you but really just the same in the end). That moment when you think you're smart but you try to turn on a stranger's shower and that other moment when you get back and are so happy you know how to coax hot water out of your own shower head without thinking about it. Amazing water pressure versus taking a lake bath. Both are awesome. I'll take both, please. 

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