Life Between Conquests

Hello again. Sorry for skipping out on Friday Fact (Beth), sorry for the lack of posts over the last few months, and frankly, sorry for the lack of quality in this blog lately.

I’ve read a blogger should never apologize for being lame (better, I suppose to just not be lame in the first place), but I think being truthful trumps that.

So I am sorry, my friends, for a blog that has kind of sucked since at least September.

Blogs and the people writing them go through bad patches. Heaven knows I have been a fan of Rudy Rucker’s works and ideas, but his blog has bored me for months on end now.

So I switched my affections to Freakonomics, which swiftly began bizarre personal posts about “Bad Daddy” Halloween costumes and hating Dane Cook.

Oh well. If you want a sophisticated, funny and talented Asheville writer, check out She Who Eats.

I’m certain I’ll be a good writer and blogger again someday, probably sooner than I think. And I think I’m finally beginning to figure out what’s wrong in my life.

The first great conquest of my adult life was gaining marketable skills as a writer. The second was my passage through years of study in math and science only to discover that I really was a writer after all.

I think a big part of my problem now is that I am between conquests.

When you solve a big problem in figuring out your self and your life, you make space in your life for something else to happen. Since this spring, I have been happily filling up that space with quiet evenings spent at home making a really pretty lap robe, totally diving headfirst into Heroes fandom and being finished with work by 7:30 instead of 10 p.m.

This is as dull as it sounds (except for Heroes, which rocks). Because if I’ve got space in my life for progress and change, it means that I no longer have any excuses for not reinventing a life that is clearly in desperate need of new directions and new challenges. I can just sit around being a burned-out student having an unfulfilling semester, or I can start fulfilling needs I’ve left unaddressed for months or years, like my desire to sing again, my desire to move into new kinds of writing, my desire to find a new kind of housing that better suits my needs.

So, as per my usual m.o., I sank into sadness for awhile, feeling overwhelmed and not so much giving in as just waiting out the time it took for my soul to make its way up from whatever depths it escapes to every now and then, and reappear with a jolt some strange day when a beautiful vista of cloud reminds me, in an instant, of everything I am and can be.

That jolt’s not quite here yet. So, tired of waiting for it, I started work without it.

I joined a local listserv for intentional communities (communes, cohousing arrangements, etc.). I emailed a local realtor friend and told her that I wanted to sell my house, buy a bigger one, and start a one-house community of people as disgusted and dissatisfied with one-house/one-family American life as I am.

Because I know you’re out there. And I think we’ll find each other when the time is right.

And I decided to start small on that idea with a new housemate, who is, LOL, another local blogger, Don Makoviney of makoviney.com. Don pretty much much seems like exactly the kind of fair-dealing, creative, gainfully employed and cool person that I am interested in building community with. As an old friend used to say to me, “Everything starts at home,” and that sure includes my dream of building alternative ways to live and share housing with a minimum of waste and disconnection.

Just me in this house, which is not large but is still more than one person needs, has never, ever felt right. But when I bought it, I thought That Was What You Did, You Bought a House.

I’m also going to the upcoming Peace Corps information session at my college this month. A cohousing arrangement might make it easier to arrange a long-term absence, not to mention long-term cat care. Except my long-term heart will be broken not to see my fat and hilarious Inky for a year or more. I don’t yet know how to deal with that.

Well, as J.M. Keynes said, In the long term, we are all dead. Life is now. All I know now is when life sucks, you can hide in your room for the rest of your life and forget and forego joy, or you can take up just about the biggest and most heroic burden of life in the long-term, major change.

All my life when I saw people cheapening themselves and their one good life, doing something safe and known and lame over something bold or brave or even just interesting, even when we both knew it was choosing passivity and sameness over something deeper, I swore I’d be different. I wouldn’t marry out of loneliness, or disappear into some good-enough job, or know in my heart of hearts that the closest I’d ever get to the beaches of Bali was by watching TV. I swore it inside, wordlessly, where it counts.

Of course, like any good thing, I figure this stance is a lot fucking harder than it looks. And I also know that there’s more to life than some romantic idea of adventure and meaning. But I also know there is more to life than what I have now.

But there’s too much of my father in me today, in the workaholism that hides a crisis of isolation and unhappiness at home, in the longing after a big and difficult dream that I never made so much as a step toward except to take out and prick myself with.

I feel like my writing’s at a crossroads. I can study my SEO newsletters, go to Toastmasters, move more deeply into business writing. Or I can trust that doing that feels wrong for a reason, and while it might be a temporary way to make money and survive as a student, it’s not and will never be the kind of writer I want to be in the long term.

I’m always changing. Lots of people are that way, really. I’d be less worried if every mad dream and idea didn’t actually take me somewhere that always feels closer to where I need to be, no matter how small or uncertain my steps.

I can’t say quite yet when I will be me again. But when I am, my friends, you KNOW this blog will be the first to know.

6 responses to “Life Between Conquests

  1. I’ve known (and I’m sure, will know again) that feeling of being ready for something new…a new chapter in your life…unsure of what comes next…grand ideas floating around in your head…not sure which path to take or how best to move forward.

    When you get life all figured out, please pass on your wisdom! ;-)

  2. Dude, I will totally pass it on once I finesse the details.

    I once told a friend that if I were going to write a self-help book based in my own life experience, it would be kind of long and I would call it Finding Happiness in Several Thousand Extremely Difficult Lessons.

  3. Aww, thanks for the love. For the record, I have thoroughly enjoyed JSFW of late. I love any writer whose voice rings with truth, authenticity, and clever punchlines. Your blog rocks and don’t you forget it.

  4. “no matter how small or uncertain my steps.”

    A step forward is best but sometimes a step back to get more focus or sometimes a step sideways to get a new angle. Sometimes the steps seem to take you round in circles, but that’s just one way to build up speed!

    Just keep moving cos stopping altogether is when dreams die.

  5. I found you completely randomly, via a search string in my own blog stats* and once again, I’m blown away by the awesome and fantastic serendipity of Things Internet.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re a great writer right now. Your voice is strong and authentic, and if your psyche’s a bit wobbly at the moment, well, so much the better that you’re connecting with that and singing it out loud to the peoples.

    I love your idea of alternative housing and what seems to be your nutty mix of interests, and I think you’re doing everything perfectly. I thank you for your candor and spirit, and I hope that you’ll keep it up, for your sake and the world’s.

    xxx
    c

    *”Toastmasters f*cking sucks”, in case you were wondering :-)

  6. Communicatrix, I think I love you.

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