Friday, August 14, 2009

But The Ground Pulls At My Feet

My father is fond of telling me that as you age opportunities to make "easy decisions" fast begin to fade. Clear choices get muddied by commitments and intricacies and complexities and fear. I guess you sort of wade into life, taking steps confidently, and then suddenly the shelf starts to drop off and you can't see the bottom as easily as you used to be able to and those confident steps turn into hesitant, searching probes that move farther along into deeper water. At 29, a set of floaties would be nice. Ridiculous, but nice.

I'm starting to feel stuck again. The more experienced I become (I enjoy the adjective "experienced" much more than "old") the more I realize this is a pattern with me. I'm sort of like a rock that tumbles down a hill for a while and then finds a place to rest. It's refreshing for a time, but then the lichen starts to grow and I feel uneasy. Potential energy builds up and I just want to tumble again. Sometimes the tumbling is just a slide a few feet in another direction, like moving across town. Sometimes it's crashing, bounding, underbrush shattering ricochets that last for months. Maybe it's a job change or a relationship change or a complete shift of outlook. Regardless, it's a change. The irony of it is that if you asked me where I would be most comfortable, I would tell you some place where I feel settled and content. But in saying that, I have to accept the fact that constant movement isn't the answer, especially if I indulge the rock metaphor once more and speak of movement of the tumbling variety. Who the hell can control that? Plus, there are a lot of people in my life who would suddenly need a "watch for falling rocks" warning.

Not to get too Zen (and with the naturalist wading and tumbling metaphors I'm probably already there), but I know I'm not going to get that warm, fuzzy feeling until I'm happy with where I am -and I mean that in the non geographical sense. It's just that sometimes I confuse being at peace with settling. There's a great scene in the movie High Fidelity where John Cusack's character is trying to explain an epiphany he's had about his relationship. He starts to tell his girlfriend that he fantasizes about other women and the underwear they're wearing and how he now realizes that the reason he can fantasize about them is that he never gets to see their granny panties. He doesn't really know them and in not really knowing them he's keeping himself from being happy with either another woman or his girlfriend. I suppose I'm guilty of that as well. Not necessarily with women's underwear, but with my career and my finances and my city.

So there's the challenge. That's where I am. Do I not really know where I am and just want to tumble off somewhere else because of the fantasy of it all? Or am I consciously realizing that I am not where I want to be and just need to overcome all of those complexities and intricacies and commitments and fears that age - er, experience - has encumbered me with.

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