exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Monday, April 02, 2007
The What, The Why
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

I've been rereading Walden, which has colored my thoughts lately. Thoreau is a good travel companion. Perhaps you'll forgive me for a bit of philosophical meandering.

Before she left, Marta asked what I would do if I didn't find regular work soon. Would I go back home when my three-month tourist pass is up? No, I wouldn't give up that easily. Besides, surely I would find something before three months passed.

But what I couldn't explain, in part because it wasn't completely clear in my own mind, was that working here isn't my sole purpose. I've written that I'm here to have an adventure or two. That's not a very good explanation either, though. I'm not looking to fill my time with a job, nor am I seeking an extended vacation.

"As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."

My purpose is not so narrowly defined. Maybe I'm taking a break from my normal life. That sounds self-indulgent and rather ridiculous, as if I've labored so hard for so long that I need to slow down for awhile. No, it's more like I'm making a break. I'm wandering, mentally as well as geographically, before choosing a new path to follow. I'm getting away, physically, from the places I've known, so that I may explore different thoughts and lifestyles. New experiences and some good stories are the bonus.

This is my reset switch. This is me shaking up the Etch-a-Sketch of my life. Pick your analogy. It's nothing bold or new. If I had done it immediately after graduating college, it would be called a "gap year" - a typical vacation before entering the workforce. If I were doing it ten years from now, it could be considered a mid-life crisis. My timing has always been a bit off. But I think it's right for me. I'd rather do it by choice. Some people don't do it until they're forced to by something like a heart attack or a psychological breakdown. Some never get the chance.

"We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us!"

It's surprisingly difficult even for me, a slacker at the core, not to define myself by my job. But who I am must be more than how I earn money. My happiness and self-worth is going to have to come from something else. And that's what I need to explore.

With such a nebulous purpose, how will I define success and failure? The journey's the thing. I need to truly and honestly explore my options to consider this a success. If I do so, and decide on a new path, or even a continuation of a previous path, then I think my time will have been well-spent. Stubbornly clinging to the status quo, for simplicity, ease, or comfort, would be the only real failure.

"Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me."

It's hard work. I'll need more coffee.


Anonymous Mike/Silver said...
Whatup E, glad to see you're still kickin' out the jams in CR. Doing any running? Nice beer analysis - I didn't realize beer could be described in any way other than "awful" before! We miss you at JSF!


Blogger Mika said...
Just wondering... in all of your observations, you haven't mentioned religion yet.