I find it totally exhausting to assimilate myself into another’s agenda. There should be something so organic and sustainable about the notion of borrowing and augmenting things that are not our own, but the truth is, I want something that is all mine. I don’t know where this possessive craving came from, perhaps a need for real responsibility and accountability and tangible productivity. I don’t want to write that which no one will read. I don’t want to brainstorm that which has already been done. I want to start trying, and doing, and creating something that is completely and entirely my own doing. How selfish. How superficial. But at least it’s honest. You see,
I rent my house.
I am a temporary intern.
I live in Seattle, but only for the moment.
I am a graduate student, but not much longer.
I will work abroad, but just for a spell.
So what now? Where next? And what could I start here that could go with me wherever I end up? That would be a launching pad for some sense of direction? After an era of transience, I’m feeling a need for the slightest bit of permanence, for a trace of possession. It could be a project or an agenda, an organization or an occupation or a home or a child. This desire could manifest in a thousand and one ways, but the expensive paddle board and endless toy chest is no longer doing the trick. I need to claim something as all my own. My own idea. My own doing. My own work.
The transient nature of my life has always been deeply satisfying. And it still is. But now I’d like to create something that I can carry on my back. A project to both ground and motivate me where ever the next door opens or the next opportunity is chased. Because no matter how hard I try to believe that my life is still my own, the truth is I’ve lost some control. Turns out that’s what happens when you share your bed with someone, and your desk, and your couch, and your rocking chair. Turns out life isn’t all about me any more, and so I’ve had to loosen my grip. I’ve been lucky to have found someone whose life aligns so closely, but my clenched fist has still been pried from the wheel, however subtly without my noticing. And So I make a list of what inspires me, and I hope that something jumps from the page and beckons for attention, for doing. For being all mine.
Red dirt roads.
Innovated solutions to old problems.
Newborn, scrunchy butt babies.
A fantastic book.
A mug of tea.
And the way food inspires the person I love.
The person I love.
Deep, clear, fresh water.
Mountains that I am not on top of.
Early morning exercise.
A yellow wall.
A perfect desk.
I have not outgrown all there is to learn. There is so much I can’t fathom and don’t know. In fact I think the more experience I get, the less competent I feel. At anything. So I think for the moment I’ve outgrown this system. I need a break from the climbing, or at least need something beside it. An outlet for my own adventure. A test of my true abilities. It will push me out of my comfort zone more than any of this education has, and I know myself well enough to know those results will be gargantuan.
But what is it that I am capable of? What can I contribute to this obscenely large problem? What does my niche look like? The answer lies somewhere between nutrition and newborns, with a touch of art, a lot of writing, and perhaps some fantastic networking. I can write. And I can document. And I can network. And I can share. And I can search. And I can travel. And I can visit. And I can. And I can. And I can. I need that list to grow a little longer so I can see my way into the solution. What if I started doing that which I was doing for everyone else, but for myself? Which grants would I win if I finally started putting my name on them? What books could I write, if I finally put words down on pages? Everything this year has been about giving something to somebody else. A paper to a professor. A report to manager. If I just started putting this effort towards my own idea, where would it end up? Would it be any less productive? Would it eventually work? It may be less technical. Less riddled with numbers and redundancies, but what if that wasn’t the point? What if the point was to inspire people here to empower people there, so that I could live a life somewhere in between? What would those goals look like? How would the projects manifest?