Hey, look, this is me! Writing in the blog! I didn’t procrastinate or anything, I just started thinking of something and decided that it could very well turn out to be blog-worthy. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend.
Yesterday, I went to breakfast with a friend who used to live here in Portland but now lives in Europe. She’s been married for a few years, and she and her husband have a six-month-old baby. Dad and Baby stayed home and slept while Friend and I went out, and before too long I asked her how it was all going. Among other things, she confided that she thought she’d feel like more of an adult than she does. I know how that feels.
When I was a young kid, I always imagined that by the time I was the astronomical and somewhat arbitrary age of twenty-five, I’d be married with two kids and a career as a UFOlogist—yes, you read that correctly; I’ve written about it before—or an archaeologist in Peru or Mexico, or a reclusive writer who’s just successful enough to live on an island like Mont Saint Michel.
Truth be told, that last one seems like the most plausible and attractive of the scenarios, and I do still imagine that there’s a parallel universe in which that is a reality, and I live in a combination of cities, beautiful outposts in which I divide my time and write the stories that need to be told about those places and their people.
It may still happen; hope springs eternal. I suppose it’s much more likely to happen if I actually start to write again, but hey, this is a pipe dream, and while we’re at it I might as well invite Winona Ryder to come live there at Le Mont with me.
I bring all this up because in reality, twenty-five, thirty, and even forty have come and gone, and sometimes I still feel like the same dumb kid blundering his way through life, wishing that things could be different but not knowing how to bring them to fruition. I’ve changed my mind about wanting kids of my own—I don’t—but I do think it would be great to be married. Given my track record of being a very solitary person who doesn’t do much in the way of dating, I have no idea when or if that will ever happen. Again, hope springs eternal.
Perhaps if I’d become an archaeologist or a UFOlogist, things would be different.
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen or heard of any current UFOlogists in a long time. When I was a kid, they seemed to be highly visible in the popular zeitgeist, and many books such as Communion sold millions of copies. These days, the subject is relegated to late-night AM radio pariahs. My ten-year-old self sure didn’t see that coming. Guess I made an okay career choice after all.
I always knew I wanted to be a musician. I didn’t want to teach. I didn’t want to be a concert pianist. I gave up playing the clarinet (although I was first chair) when I was done with high school, in favor of the electric guitar. I spent too many years living in Nowhere, and that caused precious years to pass by. Ennui, inertia and a bleak worldview got the best of me for a long time.
The move to Portland (and years of therapy) helped tremendously, and I
usually enjoy life these days, but I’m getting a bit tired of this town, if I’m honest. There are many things to love about it; its beauty, its cheap and plentiful world-class food culture, its proximity to various types of natural surroundings, and its clean air and all-around livability, but I’ve been here for a long time, and I’m starting to feel a bit constrained by its lack of serious opportunities. Also, I feel like I’m a bit past the age where I should be struggling with decisions like this. I feel like I should be able to jump in with both feet. It’s been occurring to me more and more lately that I really need to go elsewhere, and I can totally do that, but it will take a lot of planning and resources that I just don’t have at the moment. I need to work on that. I don’t want to ‘do a geographic’, as my friend’s dad would say (I love that expression) by running away from whatever problems or shortcomings I have here, because those will follow me anywhere I go. I want to go for the right reasons, and to be prepared, with my head held high.
And then there’s the question of where to go. New York seems like the best choice. I love it, I have friends there, and it’s the quintessential land of opportunity. It’s a bit daunting, and very different from weird little Portland, but I’m not too worried about that.
In the meantime, I still need to get a day job and pay some bills here, while I think seriously and have some conversations about what the future holds. Here’s to the future.