this post was meant to be the first post of 2009, but it has been started many times and has taken a number of twists and turns. i’ve written some of it while angry, some of it while frustrated, some of it while hopeful, some of it while happy, some of it in one of my many other moods. i’m going to attempt to make all the pieces flow but it might seem a bit disjointed and it’s definitely as polished or coherent as i’d like it to be. i’m tired of working on it though, so here it is.
ariel wrote recently about coming into contentment around her age. i admit i have also been struggling with the aging process, but larger than anything superficial, although there’s that too, for me, it’s not so much about my age and what that means physically or culturally, but about how much time i have left. it’s also very hard for me to accept “i am where i am” when i’m not really where i want to be, and i feel like every day is a missed opportunity in a limited number of opportunities to get there. the problem is, i don’t know what “there” is, and every January 1 that rolls around gets a bit harder in that respect.
my friend ivan wrote my other friend “bill” this song after we camped together at burning man 2006 about being beautiful and happy. a lot of what burning man is about is about trying to be beautiful and happy. beautiful in a very esoteric and existential sort of sense, although physical also applies. many of my female friends will attest that they always feel the most beautiful at burning man, even while your imperfect ass is hanging out and your hair is all matted and you haven’t had a shower in a week. because beautiful is so subjective, and usually just constructed out of expectations. when subjectivity and expectations shift to a place where everything is perceived as beautiful if it wants to be, it’s a wondeful thing. why can’t we bring that back with us?
and then some of the lyrics to the song are “we got eachother we’ve got land and water fire and air and we should be the happiest people on earth“. i can only assume that this stemmed from some of our in-camp conversations about how, even at burning man, we were not as happy as we thought we should be, or as happy/excited as other people were, and so WTF is wrong with us? sort of frustrations. i won’t get all into that again here – you can read about it in the burning man 2006 and 2007 recap posts – but the point is that even in a context where we could theoretically be as happy as possible (and many other people really are), free from “default world” worries and obligations, we weren’t. and even applied back to the real world, we should be the happiest people on earth. we have everything. but we aren’t. why?
it is the turning over and over again of that question that drives me insane. i want to be able to stop wondering why i am not happy, and just BE HAPPY.
i know i should be grateful for all that i have, and i am. but i am not content.
i think, if anything, one of the things i really really need to focus on is learning to be content, and thereby less agitated. i’m not sure what that means for me. i’m not suddenly going to become this super laid back person who isn’t irked by all the crazy shit that’s going on in the world, because i think that deserves being upset over, but i definitely need to stop internalizing it so much.
people keep asking the question “so how’s your 2009 going so far” and i think everyone expects the answer to be positive, or, at least “pretty good”. well, to be really honest, my 2009 isn’t going anywhere so far. it feels the same and looks like it’s going to be the same as 2008, and for me, that’s not really positive. it’s going to be hard to explain why without sounding ungrateful, but i’m not going to lie. i mean, it is pretty good. it’s fine. i’m fine. jay’s fine. everything’s FINE. but it’s not what i want it to be. i think the easiest way to describe this feeling is that i want there to be some forward momentum in my life, and right now i feel like there isn’t any.
how do i get that feeling of momentum, of movement forward?
i’m incredibly frustrated at the moment. i feel like i am swimming up an invisible stream, one that i can barely see or feel except for the resistance. it’s because it’s imagined, i’m sure, and not real, and somehow that makes it all the more frustrating, to know that you cage is inside your own mind.
there are so many choices that i make that are defeatist. so many times i say no to things only because i’m afraid of making the choice. it sounds stupid, but that seems to be the case.
so far, 2009 has been no different, and i’m sitting here 5 days in with already more than one regret under my belt.
like the recent movie ‘yes man‘, i feel like i should start saying yes to a lot of things. combined with summer pierre’s “screw it” strategy (=yeah, screw it, why not?), i think i might end up with fewer regrets.
i turned down an invitation to be somewhere else last week, somewhere quiet and foresty and natural and meditative. i turned it down not so much because i didn’t want to go, but because i didn’t want to commit to going, and because jay didn’t want to go. and at a certain point over the weekend i cried, because i really wished i was there.
i want to say yes to my friends who ask me to join them traveling to wonderful places, instead of saying no because of time/money concerns. in the last few years i’ve said no to so many beautiful cities, so many adventures when really the opportunity cost was not in going, but in NOT going. i’m tired of that.
i want to say yes to doing things that my life partner doesn’t want to do. it’s hard to say yes to doing things without him. i have often found myself staying home or hanging around places when i could be somewhere else because he didn’t want to go, and then later feeling like a loser for it. it’s hard because i want him to be there, to share everything, and i generally opt to not do something if he doesn’t want to, not just because i don’t want to go alone, but because it’s less fun if he’s not there. by nature i’m a MUCH more social person than he is, and he gets sort of exhausted with the socializing and such. it’s not so much that there is resentment, but that more and more i feel like we need more time apart, and i should probably use those instances where he doesn’t want to do something for that purpose.
i want to say yes when people ask me to participate in something that i think might reveal what i think are my faults or shortcomings, like performance pieces wherein i think i might look uncoordinated, fashion shows where i think i might be revealing my least attractive body parts, work projects where i might screw up or fail. the more i think about it, the more i’m realizing how much self-doubt i have.
i want to believe that certain things are simple instead of difficult and complicated. i know i over-complicate. i know this is holding me back.
to use an old cliche, i want to change the things i can, accept the things i can’t, and have the wisdom to know the difference. i think this will lead to BOTH the change i want to achieve and contentment.
every year i tell myself these kinds of things, but i think i’ve sort of reached a breaking point. something’s got to give. and i think that something is me.
all that is vague, i know, and i should probably try to create more of an ‘action list’ of definitive things to help focus those intentions, and maybe i will, but right now i think trying to hammer out the details feels sort of stifling.
of course i’d also like to exercise more, eat better, consume less, be a better friend/lover/employee, be less judmental, blah blah blah. i have all of those little marbles rolling around in my head just like everyone else does, and i will try to continue to make changes in those areas of my life as well. especially the judgmental part.
but the only REALLY definitive goal i have for 2009 is for the two of us, jay and i, to get off the continent together – in addition to or as part of saying yes to other travelling friends. for those of you globetrotters who travel all the time, i’m sure that might seem rather trivial, but it’s not that easy for everyone. it’s not as easy as just buying a ticket and taking the ride when you have to remain employed for health insurance reasons, and you’ve been in debt for years. it’s now been over 5.5 years since jay and i went to asia, and it’s proven too difficult to get the 2 of us off the continent again since then. as much as we’d love to we can’t just take 2-3 months off (or even just more than 2 weeks) and slouch around europe or south america without some extreme pre-planning, and we’ve been sort of holding out to see if that could happen. but now with the economy tanking and and the hope for universal healthcare any time in the near future seeming pretty dim, i’m sort of done trying to think big and i’m willing to start thinking small. and so even if we can only manage 2 weeks off the continent this year, we’re taking them.
and there we have it: less self-doubt, more time alone, less complication, more simplicity, less “i can’t”, more “i can”, more “yes”, less “no”, more travel, less inertia.
politically, socially, personally: this is the year of moving forward, and i can’t believe i’m gonna say it but: yes i can.Filed in autobiographical, burning man, resolutions | Tagged with optimism/pessimism, wanderlust | Comments (4)