I took a vacation.
This vacation ended up being artificially extended by a nasty cold and some other medical issues at the start, so now as I sit here it’s been two weeks of more or less complete non-productivity at varying degrees of enthusiasm.
What do I want a vacation from? From sameness, from knowing exactly who I am and what I do, though frequently forgetting why and how.
What do I want from a vacation? I want it to change the way I think. I want it to knock me out of alignment, force me to re-calibrate, to re-evaluate. I want the silence, so I can hear the quieter parts of myself for a little bit.
I don’t know.
Yesterday, I looked at the ocean. I stood above it on a wharf full of tourists, and looked to the left and to the right at the coast as it crawled, the cliffs, the lighthouse, the boardwalk, the homes. I love the ocean, but I noticed that it was the shores and the cliffs that drew my attention. It was that dividing line, between humanity and wilderness, artifice and nature, constancy and shiftlessness — lines like these sketch our silhouettes. Lines like these are everywhere, but the boundary between land and ocean is the starkest — at least for those of us who haven’t gone to outer space.
I wanted to come to some grand realization. To think of a way to improve myself or my life. What I realized is that, for the most part, things are kind of okay.
This is an incredibly dissatisfying realization to come to.
The devil’s in the details, though. The difference between the right course and almost the right course is a watery grave.I keep noticing my autopilot is on, that I’m working out of habit, or out of duty, instead of because I want to — and I’m not sure what I can do about that as I am now, since the kind of wanting that it would take for me to want to do anything consistently enough to make significant progress seems to be lacking in me. For whatever reason I respond to obligation and inertia more than I respond to heartfelt desire. Because of this, I keep building channels to keep myself moving in one direction, then later I wonder why I feel trapped.
This is what I mean. It’s not satisfying, but it’s the best solution I’ve found to the problem of being me.
I’m not sure how invested I am in my game at the moment, but it’s as good a thing to work on as any, as long as I can finish it: If I can’t, it’s a waste of time. So that’s a good reason to finish it. In the meanwhile, I write here, and sometimes I make music, and I draw things. It’s a life. I don’t make money, and I’m not really famous, and I haven’t created much that I’m truly truly proud of, but still — still I can be the waves, and slowly erode that line between who I am now and who I will be, even if it just makes another line a few inches further out into the sand.
But as fascinating as the shoreline is, I need to lift my head from the sand sometimes. More often than I do now, I need to be able to look left at the boardwalk, right at the lighthouse, and know that I chose to be here, and that I choose what happens next.
In my head, there’s an Elementary School teacher nagging at me to just participate: And I’ve ignored her for so long, and I don’t know why, because it feels more and more like she’s right, that I’ve cut myself off, that I’m on the wrong side of the line, drifting at sea.
So maybe, just a bit more, I can exist in my body, and pay attention, and acknowledge that the life I live belongs to me, and live in it like an owner rather than a tenant.