Tue, 16 Mar 2004


the beauty of being in between

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I think I've too deeply internalized Zeno's Paradox. I am all about trying (and failing) to cover an infinite amount of distance in a finite amount of time—in less arcane terms, I have developed a perverse taste for the feeling of going nowhere fast.

I mean, seriously, this really sounds pathological. I would worry, except that it's working so well. I have given up on thinking too far ahead. I mean, who really knows where they're going to end up anyway, right? In life, there are no guarantees. And all that sort of tripe.

I've decided that five-year plans are solely for obsessive-compulsives, that having long-term goals is overrated.

I have this feeling that I'm going to be wandering this earth for a long time without ever finding out where it is exactly that I belong.

Still. Times like this, I feel like I've lost my soul somewhere. I've stopped dreaming, stopped trying to reach that unreachable star. I'm settling for numbness. For the safety of my familiar solitude. Why take a chance?

And yet, intellectually, I know that without risk, there is no reward. Without the agony of defeat, there can be no thrill of victory. Without pain, there is no passion. Without death, there is no life.

(I am also apparently reduced to nothing but clichés.)

Where am I going? How do I get there? What are we having for lunch? (Sorry. This is what happens when I start thinking about Life, the Universe, and Everything.)

And, once again, I am reminded of this particular exchange between Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin: You'll never get anywhere lying around, you know.
Hobbes: Who are we racing?
Calvin: Obviously, we're…um…well…uh…. I'm too busy to explain this stuff! I've got important work to do! VERY important!
Hobbes: Let me know if you win.
—from There's Treasure Everywhere by Bill Watterson

I just feel that, at this particular age (quickly approaching the big 3-0), my contemporaries are all entering (or trying to enter) the next stage in life (which, as I've mentioned before, is fraught with the treachery of trying to define "normalcy") You know, the whole deal. Getting married, embarking on a career, buying a house. Settling down. The whole nine-yards. The entire ball of wax.

I don't know if it's a matter of not being ready, or of being irrevocably fucked-up. I ponder that new Jim Carrey movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and while I kind of oppose deliberate brain damage just on general principle, there is something seductive about the idea of being able to selectively burn out all those bad experiences. A memory-ectomy, if you will. There's something numbingly comforting about the idea that all my troubles have a focal starting point, from which I can just prune all these horrific ideas from.

Intellectually, I recognize that it won't work. That whole wheat and chaff thing.

So. It is from that sort of demented starting point that I have come to the sad, sorry conclusion that thinking too far ahead will simply get me into a world of shit.

Hence, the beauty of being in between.

From now until Thursday at 11am CST, I will have absolutely no idea where I'm going to be come three months from now. The veritable infinitely forking paths. Well, it's not infinite. There are eight places I could possibly end up. (I suppose, technically, it's still infinite, because (1) I still won't know where exactly—i.e., to the minute and second—I'm going to be and (2) like I said, there are no absolute guarantees, and who knows what devastating event might occur between now and June. Ever the optimist.) But there is something luxurious about not having to think ahead. Of just basking in the timelessness of your existence.

Truth be told, my life has really contracted as of late. I get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, walk the dog, fuck around on the Internet for a while, then go to sleep. Rinse, lather, and repeat. And, rather uncharacteristically, this is fine. There's something wonderful about this simplicity. Outside of the people in this household, the people I see at work, and the people I IM with on the net, I have no real contact with other people. I've been letting my cel phone go to voice mail. I haven't called up friends in town. I've just been doing my own thing, spinning my own wheels.

But I did have a weird thought the other day as I walked my dog. While, at present, everything seems mundane and not-a-little boring, I just got this feeling that someday, I'd look back on these relatively stress-free days and think to myself, "Wow, I was happy then. Those were pretty good times."

I suppose it's because it's Lent, and my Catholic upbringing is reasserting itself. I have this disconcerting feeling that this is the calm before the storm, the forty days wandering the desert and being tempted by the devil before coming back to the city and waiting to get crucified. Shit, I have a messiah complex or something. Maybe what I really need is some lithium.

I suppose I should be grateful for this scant time to reflect, to be still, to be at peace with myself. Come Holy Week, things are probably gonna start moving fast and furious again.

So, to reiterate a philosophy that N and I came up with, "Small non-threatening things." Or, to spin it with my terrific optimistic, there is no insoluble problem so big that you can't break it down into multiple, small, but still insoluble problems.

The future is gonna come get me whether I want it to or not, I guess.

There ain't no turning back now.

22:17:22 16 Mar 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments


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