Sunday, May 11, 2008

DW: Truces and Cookies

Keep your fingers crossed. I think that I've signed a truce with myself.

I was speaking to a friend on Friday about my sadness and frustration regarding how different my life is now versus how it used to be pre-Aventine. While Aventine is one of the seven hills of Rome, it is also my company, my work, my lifestyle, my sandbox, and my laboratory. It's about the contrast to my former life in Mayberry. That life was rich and delightful, and I absorbed every drop of collective, creative moisture available to me. I had a tribe, a magical kingdom, and the equivalent of an even more magical tree house where I could have tea parties and speak to real and imaginary creatures. As someone born in the state of Loss, I've always known that nothing lasts forever. Thus, when it was time to move on, it was really OK, because there wasn't one single crumb left on the table in terms of experience that hadn't been tasted, swallowed, and metabolized.

Now, figuratively speaking, I'm in Gaza. That's ok too, because I can read/speak some Hebrew and mumble in broken Arabic if necessary. Symbolically, every day of my life now is about the creativity inherent in being in charge of what happens to you while you're awake. I came across a very sobering quote by Einstein last night that was something like, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." Somehow, that perspective seems very resonant with what's happening now.

Of course, life comes in pairs of opposites, so with the sadness and frusration, there's also joy, wonder, and gratitude. As I think I've said before, I'm so very grateful that I don't have to commute an hour a day and work for someone I don't like, doing work that isn't very interesting. I had to take the PATH train a few weeks ago, and it was a very telling experience. One, I wasn't sure if I needed a Metro Card or not, since I rarely take it, and of course it's awkward standing in front of the machine reading slowly while others are impatiently waiting. Finally, I managed to find the train, sat down and started reading. Then this group (not gang) of young kids with skateboards came on and started speaking loudly, cursing, etc. All of a sudden, I felt vulnerable. I was out of my 07042 ecosystem and I wasn't feeling so safe and protected. Then, the train lurched forward, and instead of going in a straight line, like most trains, it started whipping around in wide turns, jerking back and forth. All I could think of is how nauseous I would be if I had to stand and do this twice a day with 500 other people, 50 weeks per year.

So, like everything else in life, Aventine is a mixed blessing. It's distanced me from people I love and whose lives were once the center of my own life. Now, Aventine is the center, and I'm in the center of Aventine, and I don't wake up worrying if a close friend has chosen the right color dishwasher, because I'm now figuring out the next new venture while increasing the net proceeds derived from this one. Well, maybe it does bother me a teensy-weensy bit about the dishwasher, but fortunately something else invariably comes up to distract me from dwelling on it too much.

Oh, the truce. I've decided that I must stop feeling guilty about being so focused on my work versus being more recreational. Yesterday I said to my husband that I'm going to try to do more "small" things that just fit into my current vista and not punish myself for not having a theater subscription. Predictably, there's a very interesting article in the Sunday NY Times about the importance of leisure and how leisure is different for different people. It can mean sitting outside with a cup of coffee, taking a walk, or studying French for 10 minutes during the day. That seems like a very reasonable approach. Today my husband and I are going to take a walk then go to the park and enjoy the day.

The most important thing I can do now, while doing what's in front of me, is imagining waking up at some point not doing what I'm doing now and being happy with whatever that other thing turns out to be. So, just like when I lived in Mayberry, I'm taking the cookies off of the table a handful at a time, savoring every bite, and trusting that my nose is fully capable of discovering other tasty morsels wherever they may reside.

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