A movement

My friend Chris is a movement. He never lives in the same place for very long periods of time – he counts New Orleans as one of the places he’s been in the longest. He was there more than 10 years, I believe. He’s from somewhere around here in NC, but he’s live in the Pacific Northwest a couple of times, New Orleans, and elsewhere in the SouthEast I think. He’s in the process of moving to Hawaii right now, for work. That kind of fluidity intrigues me and scares me tremendously. I’m an both envious and stressed by the prospect of living that way. But nobody asked my opinion.

I could stay in the same place forever. Moving is nightmarish, in my book, and I usually have to prepare for up to a year before the final move. Purging is real, and I need quite a lot of time for throwing out dumspters full of trash, memories no longer remembered, remants of some part of my life that is being left behind. There’s the allegro, where I’m extremely motivated and getting a lot done. Eyes on the prize, as it were, following through with everything, quickly spotting ways to improve the process, lots of energy.

Then it’s down to slow, almost to a crawl. The denial The feeling that it’s not all that big a deal if I have all this stuff , and it’s really not that much. It won’t take all that long to whip up some order out of the chaos, so by all means let’s talk a drive, a walk, watch some more useless YouTube videos. I deserve a break today, and there’s always a McDonald’s that will be more than happy to elevate my cholesterol and fat levels. Live it up, why don’t ya?

The bargaining. The procrastination and the avoidance, the not-so-gentle sway of dancing with the past, a give and take of accepting the reality of it all. Realistic one moment, and running from the overwhelming acceptance of reality the next. It’s no big deal…until it’s a big deal. There’s still time, so don’t panic…but it’s not a LOT of time, so please DO panic. Panic is my specialty, even though it’s lost a lot of its appeal. By all means, however, shift modes by the minute and dance to the rhythm of switching gears.

Now, time is running out, so an all-out panic is definitely in order, and everything has to speed up to nearly hysterical levels. Moving quite rapidly, but accomplishing nothing. Running, but getting nowhere. Cranking, but not moving out of neutral. The state of no-productivity is a nowhere place to be. I feel invisible but deeply exposed at the same time. Haughty and vulnerable all at once. I am a mashup of emotions both out of control and numbed. I need a bit more cooking, because I’m not quite done yet.

This is how my life feels. A never ending series of modal transitions, some of them quite beautiful, soothing and meditative while others are quite hectic and stressful but still containing a measure of excitement and pleasure. I am all over the place and no place. Catch me if you can, but usually I can’t. It has always been difficult to catch myself as I’m streaking by like a comet, frozen in the center but molten where I intersect with tangible reality. What a tangled web I weave.

As I spin my web, I am beginning to realize that some of what I want to catch in its spires is…meaningfulness. I want to have meaning in what I do, in what I experience. I don’t want to feel as though I am wasting my time, don’t want to look back on a particular time in my life and still wonder what the hell it was all for, that it meant nothing. Sometimes I get confused between reason and meaning, and I’m not sure they are equivalent. For example, I don’t always see a reason for suffering, but I acquiesce to it having meaning. There is a cause, which is also no equivalent to reason, but not always a meaning that I can discern.

What IS the meaning of suffering? Does it simply mean pain, or discomfort? When I go to see the dentist, and something causes me pain, I don’t equate that to suffering. I equate that to a temporary experience of discomfort, sometimes intense, but mitigated by the knowledge that it has a finite span. Suffering brings up more feelings of hopelessness and inescapability, and the span of that experience is not fixed. The suffering is related as much to the emotional response as the physical reponse.

Physical pain and emotional pain both feel rather, um, crappy – often excruciating – but they are so vastly different. Either, however, can result in an overwhelming experience when protracted and seemingly intractable. People suffering from any causation may feel as though death is the only relief from the pain. It is difficult for many to understand the intensity of pain that makes one conclude that death would be the only imaginable end to the hurting. Having been there many times, I can say that since I don’t know what death is, it was eventually not entirely plausible that it would end the pain. In the final analysis, I figured that with my luck, death might be only a path to infinite pain. That seemed entirely possible to me, so I stopped the serious contemplation of suicide.

As I sit here contemplating my next steps, or at least what I might want to do to support myself financially for the next decade or so, I feel as though I’m in the slow movement of my own life’s music. Still wanting to bargain a bit, feeling a sense of urgency but not entirely willing to act accordingly. My experience tinkering around with that website the other day was exciting to me, I was learning, I was problem solving, I felt alive and … competent. I want more of that, but I have to get over my hesitancy to risk vulnerability and possibly make a mistake.

It occurs to me at this point that I am compelled to risk everything at this point. What exactly is there to lose that cannot be replaced? I can, of course, lose financial stability and tangible assets, but in all honesty, that was always the case. I could lose my life, but that is also the case every day that I wake up and venture out into the world to walk the dog, or drive to an appointment or get a sno-ball. There are no guarantees. I could lose my footing and fall, bang my head on the concrete and never wake up. A car might carren into me in a parking lot. Anything is possible at any time, so I suppose it’s all just a matter of comfort level and the illusion that I’m managing risk.

Yesterday, I left my little slice of canine heaven at home while I went out to run errands (including replenishing her supply of treats). For whatever reason, I had the idea of taking a long walk without bringing her along, so I did that. It’s a familiar place, and I did reasonably well despite misgivings of being so far out of shape that I’d need help getting back to my truck. I finished the entire walk, more than a half-hour, without stopping. That was a big victory for me, because I am THAT out of shape. But now I know it’s possible, and it actually felt pretty good. I didn’t try the same thing and expect a different result – I tried something different and waited to see what result I got. Amazing.

Today, I am feeling the need to be somewhat productive. I have a doctor’s appointment at 2:15pm. The weather is cooler than usual, so maybe another walk is in order. It would also be a good thing if I did a few job searches, with a widened scope that includes the IT work I did previously. So, we’ll see how that pans out. My energy level is higher than it has been in a little bit, so I’d love to take advantage of that. I’m grateful for that. It’s a drag to have your brain writing checks that your body can’t cash, as they say. So let’s not do that today.

Please allow me to introduce myself….

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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