It’s a new year and this seems to bring new emotions, habits, and behaviors to the forefront in the days and lives of many individuals. Some welcome the passing of time and chance to start anew with open arms. Maybe 2022 was a rough year and this one will be better. Or maybe…..another year means another year older for some.
Personally speaking, I spent the last weeks of my year preparing for work, being busy with friends and family, and starting a book. When I dropped my laptop, I took a break from the book and went into a sort of hibernation where I watched all eight seasons of Game of Thrones in a period of about two weeks. In short, I did nothing.
I needed it, though I’m anxious to get moving on the book again. I have a good start, but it’s going to be slow going for the next four months, as I’ll be working six days a week until spring.
For those interested, the book is about my trip west last year and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway with my little camper, Gloria. But it’s not just a detailing of my travel experience. It’s a mixture of my thoughts and trials, as well. Readers should expect references to past events in my life as I share my journey. Furthermore, the title of each chapter will have a theme of both literal and figurative meaning. For example, one chapter is titled “Monsters,” the first part of which I share a frightful night in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area in southern Utah. The second part is perhaps more creative, metaphorical, or even allegorical and is not constrained to the timeline of my trip.
So, that’s my memoir. After months, years, and pretty much an entire life of trying to find my genre, subject matter, and scope, I have it. The fact that I came to it with just a few weeks left in the year and my seasonal job about to restart has been unfortunate, but that’s the way things sometimes play out. Now, it’s all just a matter of discipline and possibly a good supply of amphetamines.
I’m kidding, of course. Although, I am wondering how I will stay awake and have enough mental capacity to write anything until after mid-April. I wish now that I had never trained my brain to shut off after 6pm. If I could work like I used to…..cooking, cleaning, and whatever else until 2am and then rising again for work at 6am….that would be fantastic. Never mind that general house-keeping never required any sort of creative energy. This is the real issue….how to write when my best hours for it will be spent at a job.
Perhaps, sometimes, I really do think too much. For those who’ve told me this, note this day. I’m admitting that you’re right. I feel overwhelmed and pressured because I think about it instead of just doing it. Fact.
So, in light of this, I’m changing the subject. I’m going to share something else that has come to light the past few weeks. As I’ve moved along in my daily life, music and movies from years ago have been making an appearance and have made me realize exactly how much of my married life was spent wanting out of it. Take the movie “The Truman Show,” for instance. Or the song “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot. There’s others, too. So many others.
Freedom. Fulfillment. Creative Work. Bigger Purpose. Love. An Un-contained Life.
There are those who are attracted to the life I’ve been trying to create for myself. The number of messages in my inbox is just one indication of this, but also that others actually say that my life is attractive. And yet, few realize the sacrifices I’ve made for it….the difficulties, the fears and horrors I’ve faced, the loss of financial security, the judgement.
Like “The Truman Show,” our lives are often largely constructed by others. We are told what and how to think…..and what and who to desire and want. At an early age, I knew this. I saw it. As I got older, I realized others saw it too, but it seemed too late at that point. I didn’t know how to get out of the choices I had made.
But eventually, I found my way…..and if anyone thinks I’m ever going back, they are mistaken. If anyone thinks I can be controlled or my life can be dictated, they are mistaken.
I will die first.
Boundaries. They’re not just for personal relationships. They’re for every area of our lives. We choose how much we are willing to work in jobs we don’t love….and in those we do. We choose how many bills we have to pay. Any time we don’t establish and maintain boundaries with our external world, we lose a piece of personal freedom.
This is how I see it. Only you have the power to adjust the inherent give-and-take. I’m not here to save anyone. I’m not the answer. If you want saved, save yourself. That’s the way it works.
Oh, and one more thing. There’s been just one person in the past 13 years for whom I would have given my freedom without regret or resentment. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, but it made me realize something. Love isn’t what most think it is. I’ve “loved” a number of people…..or cared about a number of people. But there’s always been limits and conditions to relationships. I liked the idea of something unconditional, but it led to poor boundaries. Oddly enough, unconditional love actually requires healthy boundaries.
Which means it requires personal freedom.
Which means I’m not interested in playing house with someone. I’m going to create my own thing in love. Or rather, I’m going to want someone who knows how to create his own thing…..and who wants to create something together.
And quite frankly, most people I meet just don’t align with me and I don’t align with them. The one person I mention…..my love for him was the truest it’s ever been and I may never experience that again. But now I know….and see….and I can’t go back to how I was before that. I can’t go back to what I see as any type of “regular” relationship and idea of love.
Again, I realize some may find me and my life attractive…..but romantic involvement would change this about me. Plus, if I’m looking for anything (and I’m not), I’m looking for that kind of love. The kind with no inner doubt (though logical doubt is there every day) and the kind in which I don’t feel trapped, but free. In every single relationship prior to the one I mention and all of the prospects after, there has been an inner doubt and a feeling of being trapped.
That’s why I’m not going back. I’m not going to cheat myself out of the kind of love I’m talking about and I’m not cheating anyone else out of it, either. If I die alone, I’m good with that. I’m falling more in love with myself and my life, daily. Who can offer me more or even as much as I offer myself?
And besides this….I ask who is, literally, my other half….or other whole? Because this is what I’m in touch with…..myself….and that person/soul, if it/he exists. I’m open to this. I welcome this, but nothing else or less. And if or when it knocks on my door, I’ll recognize it because I’ve seen it before. I’ll recognize it because I know and see myself, first. It’s not things on a checklist. It’s not what anyone has in common with another person. It’s not infatuation, caring about someone, or even loving someone. I love many people, but what I’m talking about is even more than that. It’s more than the things in this world.
And I already have one foot in another.