Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Balmy, sunshiny days like today make me restless. The warmth is not the cause, nor is the actual sunshine itself, but the amalgamation of these things plus a pleasant breeze and fantastic cloud vistas definitely does the trick. Looking past the rose garden, the clouds were positively stunning - the weather is changing; rain and storm clouds were visible on the horizon.

Driving home I lost myself in thought. The breeze was delicious; it took me several blocks to realize that I had passed my destination and would need to turn back. This is driving weather. This is skipping the exit for the grocery store and motoring on until you discover a brown state parks sign you've never seen before kind of weather. Escape weather. Drive until we've crossed state lines weather. No plans weather.

Days like today require immersion in wild places. I feel a compelling need to drive until I find somewhere unknown to me, somewhere to throw me from my status quo, somewhere new.

Status quo. I cannot live the kind of life on which Americans waste their dreams. We are taught that working harder, working faster, working more is right; that it will get us somewhere. We are taught we always need more. More activities, more furniture, more shoes, more (and newer) electronics, more money. We are surrounded by a culture that praises operating in overdrive, that equates consumerism with happiness. When we finally stop and take a breath we have no idea from where our dissatisfaction stems. When we realize the brand of window cleaner we use won't matter a wit in the grand scheme of things, we may be farther ahead. For now, we do not know what to do with ourselves when there is no television, no computer, no phone with constant text messages. We are uncomfortable alone with our breath and no distraction from our thoughts.

I do not want my daily life to be wasted to achieve a "vacation." I left college because I became too wrapped up in other people's goals. The environment I was part of was about furthering research to earn your colleagues' esteem, about publishing to demonstrate your worth, about graduate school as a status symbol. Those are not my goals. Every one of those people had lost perspective - they no longer operated for the good of the people they were suppose to be helping. To publish, to establish unique independent research, requires eating and breathing your subject. No amount of esteem is worth that misery to me. The people with PTSD? Yes, it may (may!) help them in the end, but no one sees that. For now they are just cattle with numbered tags adorning their ears, just as they were cattle when they were shipped off to fight the wars that initially caused such trauma.

Back to here, back to now. Driving, daydreaming, I yearn for that one occupation that is a welcome part of my life. I yearn for some way to find the freedom I seek. I yearn to earn my living in a way that improves the lives of others.

Why do I feel an occupation I am at home with and my urge for spontaneity are connected? Is there an occupation available that indulges both my need for novelty and my compulsion to help people?

I want a modest, humble life. I don't ask for much. A place to live, adequate food, time to play and love, opportunities to create, the ability to provide for my family. Forget all the extraneous bits, they aren't needed. Back to the breeze, those stunning skyscapes. Back to driving weather.