Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Twisting and Turning

Lately my head has been spinning all the time. I’m not eating much, even though I’m hungry all the time (because I’m not eating much). Well, it seems that I’m only not hungry when I have food in front of me. I haven’t been like this in forever, not to this degree. Yeah, I always go through my little pensive times. But they only last a few days, and they’re pretty mild, and spread apart. So far now, it’s been almost a week, and there’s not an end in sight. And I just had a shorter one less than two months ago. I hope that writing this all down helps get it out and keep it out.

The thing is that I don’t really know what to write down. I don’t know exactly what it is that has me twisted up. Well, I know what it is, but I don’t know what the solution is – what to do about all these questions in my head, not even how to answer them. In the past, when I’ve been this twisted up, it’s been pretty obvious what was going on, but not this time. Well, there are plenty of things on the horizon that could obviously be causing this, but they are things that have been on the horizon for a year – work stuff and trying to start a family. So, why now? That’s why I don’t think it’s those things, specifically.

So, what is it, then? As I’ve been thinking about all this over the last few days, one philosophical conversation keeps popping into my head. And, yes, that question is related to the things that have been coming for some time, but it’s also beyond them. So the question is this: “Why do we have this internal battle between living a life of passion and a life of comfort? Can we happily live both?” I honestly feel selfish and pampered even asking the question. In most people’s lives, there is only enough to get by every day, to struggle just to make it, never mind the luxury of asking “why?”.

But here I am, clearly with enough comfort in my life to ask that question. Why?

And while I’m doing this, I’m feeling incredibly guilty, because I shouldn’t be doing this right now. I should be doing other things. But my brain is nowhere else. I tried to distract my brain from this all weekend – dinner out, dancing, football game, soccer game, dinner out again, concert. And it’s still there – just under the surface of everything else.


Like an irritating three year-old child.

This is what mid-life crises are made of, right? One day you wake up, and there you are, in a life you built one decision at a time, and a life in which you are happy, but somehow there’s something missing. And can a couple of weeks of vacation every year really fill that void – no matter how exciting the vacation is? How you can you live the life of passion you crave without destroying the security you need? Is that possible? Can a couple cool vacations really do the trick? Honestly, do I just need a vacation?

But, damn, I’m only 33. Is it really time to be having this internal crisis? Well, yeah, it is, because I don’t want to have this crisis later. I want to make a decision to live a life of passion, in some way or another. I feel so boring. I’m so sick of being boring.

Or am I just bored? I shouldn’t be. I have a good life – a GREAT life. I have a husband who I love immensely, and who loves me so much more than I can even comprehend sometimes. We have a nice house in a nice area. I work for a good company with wonderful people, where I am well-paid. We want for nothing essential. Sure, there are luxuries we can’t afford, but there are plenty that we can afford. I am painfully aware of all of this. Am I just paranoid that one day I’ll wake up, it will all be gone, and then what will I have?

So where does this desire come from? That was the original question running through my mind this weekend. Are we just conditioned from watching too many movies (and reading too many books) that a passionate life is the best way to go, and that the mundane is nothing to be desired? But really, why in the world would someone want to be Romeo or Juliet? Why would someone want to be James Bond, or to be with James Bond? But we do, don’t we?

Or someone does – the artists, the writers who create these stories. Are they pushing their own desires onto us, where we swallow them whole and think of how woefully short our own lives have come up? Or, is that a load of crap, similar to The Tyranny of the Mustard – oh how awful life is in a society where people struggle from having too many choices? Oh, it’s such a burden. Woe is me. Those terrible Hollywood people make me want things I wouldn’t otherwise desire.

I guess you can see where I’m going here. I don’t think that it’s Hollywood’s fault, or Ernest Hemingway’s, or Stephenie Meyer’s, Ian Flemming’s, or Jimmy Buffet’s. I think there is something in all of us that longs for the passion and the drama and something that needs safety and security. Most of us choose to live our lives in the comfort most days, and then we go to the movies or read books or go on vacation to meet the need for the passion and drama. But what if that’s not enough? How do you even know if that’s not enough? Where and how do you personally draw the line between the two? Is the line always moving? My line sure seems to be moving right now. It’s bouncing back and forth like a freaking Geiger counter.

And what if some of the things you want are in direct conflict with each other? How do you decide then? How do you know which one you’ll regret most if you choose not to, or are somehow not able to, do it? What if your head tells you one thing, and your heart another? What if you go for one, miss it, and then the other is also out of reach?

Ugh, this is so fucking self-indulgent. So fucking American.

I hate myself for even thinking all this, much less writing it down and putting it out for everyone to see. But somehow, I need to do this, too. Hopefully, it will help me move forward and focus on the things I should be focused on right now.

I know what I’ll decide. Because I’m so damn practical – always so practical.

But will it be enough? If not, what then? And if it is, for how long will it be enough?

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