Sunday, January 28, 2007

Phoenix Rising

Immediately upon posting my entry last week, I made a realization, and then a determination.

The realization is that I've spent too much time living in the recent past. Constantly have I played and replayed events of this past year in my head, fantasizing repeatedly the things I wish I'd said or done differently that would have avoided the pains and traumas I (and others) suffered as a result. I believe this is normal, and to some extent, healthy. Why do we study history in a classroom? The standard argument is that if we do not learn from our past, we will be forced to repeat it.

Dear Lord, may I pretty please NOT have a repeat performance of the miseries of this last year. Thank you, and Amen.

I find it's necessary to explain that not everything about this last year was miserable--but for every joy I felt, there was an undercurrent that I was making a painful sacrifice to obtain an opportunity I truly wanted. I was never as confident as I pretended that I was doing "the right thing". I'm still not, but for now, that's neither here nor there.

It's time to force myself to see the present day as well as the near future. The ties to my past are clipped, and I can no longer change my past any more than I can change the position of the heavens. For months now, I've complained about my lot in life. The time for that must end if ever I shall find myself among my goals and desires. I went through something rough recently as I have done before. It will never cease to be a part of who I am, but I refuse to let it define me any longer.

No one event, nor a series of related events, can define a person. No one color or song can describe a whole entity that is a human being. No one philosophy can contain the entirety of a human heart. The person I am shall no longer be constrained by the short-term ramifications of a single mistake.

Beginning today, I define my destiny. I will shape my world around who I am and what I want. I WILL not let the shape of the path my life has taken turn me into some complacent, comfortable, and ultimately unhappy little man.

Not again, anyway :)

Not anytime soon.

Besides. I got tired of sounding like I was a whiny little bitch every week.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Nothing To Say

For the first time in months, I find I have nothing to say.

Last week saw the culmination of the last year of my life. From the moment I started thinking about going to Moscow and what that would mean, a chain of events began that didn't end until last Monday afternoon, when I walked out of that apartment for the last time, turned in the keys, and said goodbye. Up until then, my life had been redefined and re-shaped by that one decision, and everything else in my life--every decision and every choice, every day--produced a further alteration. I had a life established, and every aspect of that life was affected.

Now, that life is gone though the decision remains. Now, my life will form around the choices I've made instead of be destroyed by them.

Since Monday, I've been on quite a mental vacation. I have done nothing significant. I washed some clothes and I saw a fantastic movie (Pan's Labyrinth). I went to work, made some money, and went home again.

At first, I was a little concerned that I wasn't doing anything with myself. I began to fear that I was falling back into sheer anti-social laziness. But then it occurred to me just how stressful this last year has been on me, especially these last few months, and I decided it's okay that I took a few days off. As long as I get back to the grindstone this week, that is.

Working hard, in my current case, is under the same category as changing my diet to lose weight, as I've done recently. It's okay not to stay within the strictest interpretation of what I'm trying to achieve, as long as I spend 80% of my time being good, and only 20% being undisciplined, lazy, and selfish. Once the habits become better established, I'll move it to more like 90/10.

I successfully lost and kept off weight. Now I must do the same trying to get an agent for the rest of my time in Dallas, and learning Russian. Thinking of how much I've grown up and changed this last year, I think I can do it.

Time will tell for certain.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Imagine No Possesions

Just over an hour ago, I woke up on the floor of an empty apartment. It's the last day of the lease, and I'm here to make certain the place is all cleaned up and cleaned out. Sleeping here again brings back fresh memories of why I had to get out so desperately, but it will be okay--fourteen hours from now, at midnight, the lease will be over and I'll be at Industry Bar drinking bourbon and, if they let me, smoking a cigar. And that should be the end of this mess.

When I was in college, I got intensely depressed. As in, I only got eight hours of sleep a week and started going to the therapy sessions provided by the school. Getting away from there, physically, was the only thing I could think of that lifted me out of the bleakness. I remember going to visit my oldest friend in Louisiana, and with every tick of the odometer on the seven hour drive, I felt myself able to breathe a little easier.

It was about that time a rather romantic notion came into my head--an idea for a fresh start. When I was a kid, about nine if I remember correctly, I saw a story in a magazine called "The Walk West". It was about a man named Peter Jenkins, who (for whatever reason) crossed the country on foot from the northeast all the way out to California. The trip took years as he'd settle down for a bit here and there, get a job, recuperate, and move on again. This remains one of the most inspiring stories I've ever heard.

When I was in my depression in college, I adapted Jenkins' story to what I would do for myself to get away. First, I would sell everything I own. I'd keep a few clothes, obviously, and a few personal keepsakes, but I'd get rid of the rest. My truck, my furniture, my books, movies, toys, games, all of it gone. The revenue would get me out of debt and earn me some extra cash besides, which I would use to make a walk north--to Chicago, a city I've seen a few times and love most dearly, the place I first wanted to end up when I left college.

The walk itself would probably take months, during which time I'd change myself. I'd see and learn more about the world around me. I'd experience places and people, hear their stories. I'd certainly drop the pounds I was looking to shed then, too (this has kinda been a life-long battle for me). But most important, the time it would take me to get there would really allow me to feel the physcal distance, the separation from the place I lived when I got so screwed up inside. When I got there, as cleaned out in the head and the body as possible, then I'd start over with my life. I'm a little sad I never did that.

Now's my chance to modify that plan to today's situation. I'm getting rid of everything I own. No more furniture. No more books, movies, or pieces of art for my wall. No more truck. I'm selling every stitch of it if I don't just give it away, and the sentimental stuff to keep will fit into a single box over which my loving parents will hopefully keep a watchful eye. Then, instead of walking to another city, I'll be flying to another country. Another culture. Another language. A place where I'll spend years enveloped in study. I'll have the chance not simply to get away, but to BE away from the place I lived when I made so many bad choices, so many mistakes. The place where I so very often chose stagnation over adaptation.

Dallas has treated me well, and it gave me everything I wanted. But I became complacent here, too. Too often have I watched the deadlines for my dreams slip by without taking action. Too often have I complained about this happening.

It's time to grow up.