Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Day 14 - Technicalities & the Cost-Benefit Analysis of the familiar

Day 14 – 12:25 a.m. EDT. J & S’s living room floor. Washington, DC.

Bah! Gah! Overwhelmed. Still. Don’t want to go home.

I feel like this is home; like I belong here more than I do at ‘home’[in Vancouver], that I make more sense in DC than I do in Van. And I do. Maybe that’s the whole point. Maybe I already know where home is. Maybe I’ve always known. (Screw that, I know I’ve always known!)

Home is the Eastern time zone. Home is where the oak trees are. And the real seasons. And the ludicrous geographical concentration of NHL franchises (not to mention AHL, OHL and QMJHL franchises). Home is where my heart sings the Hockey Night in Canada theme song...

I know where home is, where I belong. But I’m still fighting it for some messed up reason. Maybe because I suspect that if I let myself go home, I’ll settle – really settle and never leave. Not the way I can leave now, at least. Not without notice or second thoughts or consequences. I know I’d let myself fall in love and never leave. And I want that, but not quite yet.

A couple of weeks ago, my best friend in the whole wide world got engaged. This is the girl who, at sixteen, never honestly expected to settle down before thirty-five, if ever. I was the one who thought I’d be getting married around the age we are now. And she’d the one who will.

You think I’d be a little bit jealous that she’s got what I thought I wanted, or that she’d be a bit apprehensive about giving up the freedom she thought she’d have and that I still find necessary to my existence. Neither of us is either of these things. She’s over the moon to be marrying a wonderful boy. I am thrilled to the bone for her because think they’ll actually last (which I don’t think of all couples).

I can’t regret that, in about 16 months, she’ll be marrying a man she adores and I, in all likelihood, won’t even have a date to her wedding. Part of me feels like it should bother me at least a little, that I’m betraying some part of who I am by not being the least bit envious.

Then I really think about it: CK had a long time to be young and reckless and adventurous and irresponsible. She’s done. She’s happy to settle because she knows this is how she’s happiest. I was never young and reckless in the same way – I never had the chance to be: first, because I had others to worry about and I could never be that selfish, and then, once there was no one relying on me, because I was too scared to be truly adventurous and selfishly irresponsible and YOUNG. I went from 15 to 50, and I’ve been trying to work my way back down to my actual age ever since 2002.

Nowadays, I act about 18 or 20. People can think whatever they like about it; I’m making up for lost time. At 18 and 20 I was more of a cynical 35 year-old.

I actually feel free for the first time in my life. REALLY FREE, I’ve just realized; the way most people must feel at 18 or 19, when they first leave home. Since I never did it properly, I’m doing it now. I’ll skip being boring and bitter at 35 and 37 and just live the next decade on a 6-7 year delay, because I don’t feel like I’ve ever really had the chance to be young and unburdened. I was too weighed down by grief to enjoy life, to explore, to have FUN. So I’m just going to go with this for now – I’ll see where it takes me (possibly to Berlin? ... ) and who it makes me.

I can imagine a version of myself being married and settled and having babies. A version of myself, but not ME. Not who I actually AM. I am not ready for that; I have some irresponsibility to take care of first! And I’m going to make the most of it for a couple of years because eventually I will want to settle down and get married and have babies. Eventually, I want to go home. Maybe, when I’m thirty-five!

* * * * * * *

The 'Real' Day 14. Afternoon. Outside Madison Square Garden. Manhattan. Chilling with Mario Penguin.

I always plan to do so much more that I have time for. I think that statement can safely be applied to my whole life: there is so much more I want to do than I will ever have time for.

In the end, it ends up being a quality over quantity equation. Sometimes I pick the safe bets because I know they’ll have a comparatively higher payoff. Except that the long-shots are often the riskiest but the most exhilarating and have, hands down, the highest payoff when they work out.

It’s like investing in the stock market: you need a mix of high risk and high return investments to have a balanced portfolio. Life is the same way. You need to take risks and do new things, but you also need security and the comfort of the colloquial as well.


Jessclub7 said...

I somehow manage to be 26 and boring, bitter and cynical.

But I am also immature, flighty and spend 84% of my time acting like a 9 year old and not living in the real world.

It's a skill.

Susan said...

Just don't ever lose the wonderful writer-you part, please!

mer said...

@ susan - a quarter century of denial just goes to show that it's in my blood. or something. ;)