Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time: All We Have; All It Takes

Hello invisible audience,

I’ve been meaning to write, but the things I want to write about are all the same, and I don’t want to be accused (even by myself) of beating a dead horse. Nevertheless, you are invisible and I have been pondering quite a bit lately, and I find that there are a couple things that I need to get off my chest – again.

One: time. That precious little gem that is really all we have. The one thing that we bargain for, that we trade money for; that we use to buy possessions. How many hours of work is my car worth? How much of a day am I working to pay for my phone bill? How much of my precious commodity am I trading in now in the hopes that the money I make will support my leisure time in the future?

That leads me to pondering number two: why do I worry so much about what others think about how I spend my time, or where? Even more important, why do I think others are even interested in how I spend my time? Yesterday I told my mom that I felt pressure to conform: pressure to want the things so many people seem to want, or already have: stability, 9-5 jobs, company-paid health insurance, houses, kids. “But, you don’t want that,” she said, looking at me with a puzzled frown.

It’s true! I don’t! So why the heck am I constantly berating myself for not wanting these things? It is related to another one of Mom’s statements. “I hope someday you find somewhere that you really like and want to settle down and stay there.” I wanted to hang my head in shame, not because she said it, but because I constantly catch myself thinking the same thing. Yes, that would be great. It would be great if I wanted to stay in one place. It would be great if I wanted a life that was readily accessible to me without any sort of social clash. If I could convince myself despite what my soul is shouting at me, what I am yearning for, that my happiness is found in a house with a yard and a job with x amount of weeks of vacation a year and a benefits package, I WOULD HAVE IT ALREADY. I can’t. Each time I get settled into that groove, I feel more unstable than when I have no idea where I’m going next. I feel hemmed in, fenced in, terrified and depressed. I feel less alive.

I’ve been reading a book that makes me feel guilty about this. You can change, it tells me. Any time that you say you can’t do something, you’re subscribing to your own limited behavior. Except I’m not. I’m trying to buck a deep trend, and move on. I’m trying to let go of a lifetime’s worth of shoulds and have to’s and live authentically, just for me. And God damn it, it’s harder than it looks.

In the soul searching I did this summer, I realized first that I had been listening to a lot of what I thought other people wanted or expected of me. Not even what they said out loud, but what I thought they wanted me to be. This was a big step, but the bigger and scarier one was when I realized that I had been welcoming these impressions, because I could use them as excuses. I kept trying to fit myself in the box because it was easier to complain about how I felt different from inside of it. I have tried to live a life of responsibility and fun based on other peoples’ definitions because it was easier than having to admit that I found nothing they did fun or rewarding. And that leads me to horse-beaten point number three: I got myself here.

And just like I got myself here, I am the one that can get myself out. Over-stated point four: I have to choose to be authentically me, not just once, but over and over (and over and over) again. No one can do this for me. No one else is going to come to my rescue and tell others what I want and need. The only way to meet like-minded people is to continue living and know that my lifestyle will lead me to them. They’re not in the box, so why do I keep looking for them there?  Not only that, but why am I focusing on people in the box when I have so many more friends that are bucking the trend in their own way?

There’s really only one answer: time. I am going over the same things in my head and revisiting the same mental real estate because these realizations are still new and they haven’t quite sunk in yet. I am still in the phase where I am unsure about what I’m saying, no matter how good it feels. At one time I didn’t know anything about writing a recipe; now I could teach a class about it if I wanted to. In between then and now, however, time passed, I learned some things, and I gained the necessary experience to feel confident that I know what I’m talking about. I’ll get there with these poor dead-horse points, too, invisible audience. All it takes is time.

Love and time-filled kisses,


P.S. No horses -- dead or alive -- were beaten in the writing of this post.