Saturday, January 30, 2010

what if

A friend of mine is totally re-inventing his life. Monday. He's actually been working at it in the months we've known each other. At first it was just a vague idea mentioned in passing, sort of the way one says, "I'm considering going blonde," or "I'd love to live on the beach one day." Only he's really doing it. Not the blonde or the beach (although I'm sort of thinking he'll eventually be the cool bartender in Antigua one day), but he's divested himself of most of his stuff, is hopping on a plane first thing Monday morning, heading to a new city and starting over.


I'm proud of myself for trying a new coffee bar or walking an alternative route when heading out for errands. I'm a creature of habit, of comfort, of familiarity. My lack of initiative is easy to mask in NYC—on any given day, I pass all sorts of spontaneous things one wouldn't find elsewhere. It's hard to walk down the street and not run into someone I know, having the happenstance chance to get lost in good conversation. When the weather's nicer, random street performers entertain me as I wander by, saxophone notes lingering sweetly as I head up 6th avenue. The Union Square Market, replete with scents and smells, artists hawking their wares at the south end, as I pile potatoes and apples in my bags. Washington Square Park, the newly moved fountain shooting geysers high into the air, even watching the Empire State Building light up at dusk, always noticing the changing colors, wondering what the purple and green or blue and yellow are celebrating. It's easy here to be complacent, to accept my desk drawers so crammed with junk I can barely open or close them, yet can never find what I need. To walk by the paint peeling on my doorways. To not stress anymore about what I look like, falling back to my standard uniform of the season. Right now it's jeans, uggs, a black vintage coat from the early 60s covered in a brocade swirl pattern, a huge red ruffled scarf with shades of purple and hot pink woven in, and a brown hat with faux fur ear flaps.

I'm coasting right now. Some days it's fine not to accomplish anything. Others I beat myself up, a bit, but can't really muster the energy or enthusiasm to go the distance with an internal smackdown. I've got nothing going on. No stories to tell. No ideas desperate to be heard.

So, I'm living vicariously through someone else's adventure. Someone else who's the same age as me but is eschewing all he's established, accomplished, built, to dive into the unknown and find out.




To know the what ifs. To grow, change, be freaked out, scared, energized, challenged.

Part of me is jealous. Conceptually. Mostly I'm grateful that I'm comfortable enough where I am that I'm not compelled to start over. But the other side of that coin is that I'm stuck in this low-level existence. Pretty on the outside, but empty within.

His bravery is blowing my mind. I'm feeling inadequate in the face of such resolve.

So today, I resolve to clean out my top desk drawer.

It's a step.

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