In life, both real & virtual
Change is the only constant in life. It is the one thing that may be counted on. Every sunrise, every breath, every morning commute, they are different each time it is experienced. No two are alike. Yet there is the high likelihood that they become similar, blending into one another to no longer delineate days but rather delineate years. The markers of our lives fuse together, making the passage of time feel short and inconsequential. This is not an inherently bad thing yet I am unsure it is a wholly good thing.
The past four years, I have lived in a little cottage about twenty miles outside of Boston proper. I moved here not long after my divorce. Here, among the deer, the wispy grass, the trees and snow and sun, I found who I was again. I lived a solitary but not lonely life. I would scoop up Pugsy, sit him upright in the crook of my elbow, and proclaim, “You and me against the world, right little man?!”
What I found was that I am an eternal optimist, remarkably excited when plans change, and handy when given a circular saw and drill, so long as refinement isn’t required (I have a complete and utterly utilitarian aesthetic). I learned that I prefer mornings over evenings not because it was the only time I had space for myself but because I enjoy the knowledge that the entire day is still an empty canvas and I can paint it however I see fit. I learned that I still like to write, that I can actually cook a pretty decent meal, and that I’m more adaptable and resilient than once thought. Believe it or not, I actually like who I am. I like who I’ve become in this solitary space, exploring my thoughts and beliefs unencumbered by others. For years, I didn’t like who I was, especially when around my ex. That has largely vanished now.
In these four years here in Lincoln, I have become an adult. What an odd thing to write in my fortieth year but, for the first time, I feel like I have it together. The specifics aren’t exactly important but I have crossed the threshold from pseudo adult to real adult. I truly don’t know how my parents were raising teenagers when they were my age (I was in my second year of high school the year my mother turned forty). The daily struggles I encountered half a decade ago are dead and buried and I’ve built a solid base with which to grow a life. The only thing that causes me some discomfort is that it took me so long to find solid footing. We all come to it in our own time, don’t we?
And now? Now, it is time for change. When I was younger, in my twenties, I would change locales, jobs, hair styles like I changed socks. Change was easy; the entanglements of maturity did not trap me. The physical and mental act of changing excited me. Moving from one place to another, swapping thoughts from one way of thinking to another—oh, how enthralling! To see the world differently was a lovely act of chaos. I do not enjoy stasis and, while I am extremely comfortable in my tiny cottage in the woods, I’m moving away from the solitude, the quiet, this reposeful location and moving closer to Boston, moving in with roommates, and attempting to live a life with more human interaction.
My bear is extremely restless and, while I can’t up and run away, I can let her out to play until the stars align and preparedness meets opportunity. The view I’m taking is the long one, trying to balance comfort and security with adventure and unknown. Moving will put a few more bucks in my pocket each month, cut my commute in half, and force me to be more social (it doesn’t hurt that I’m moving in with my very dear friend). Moving will create some discomfort but I’m a firm believer in deliberate discomfort. The plan is for a year and then to reevaluate. As my mother taught us, you can do anything for a year.
Along with my physical, real world changes, I made a bit of a change here on this site. I’ve been reading Web Typography by Richard Rutter and have wanted to make a change to Wild Mind. So yesterday, I spent the day redesigning and building the site you see here now. There are still quite a few fine-tunings I have to make (footnotes too small, mobile responsiveness, etc.) but it is at a good enough place to release into the world (it’s not like I have any visitors anyway).
This site is largely personal and I have thought of changing that. I don’t know which direction this site is headed in, largely because I don’t know what direction I’m headed in. Wild Mind has been a bit of an experiment for me, the name apt due to the chaos in my head. I have never kept a site around as long as I have Wild Mind, nor have I continuously updated a site. Any other sites I have had, when they underwent a change, I would pull down all of the content and start from scratch. This hasn’t happened here and that’s largely due to finally accepting that my past is messy and tumultuous and makes me who I am. When I journaled in the past, if I made a mistake, I would rip out the page and start over because everything had to be perfect. Now, when I journal, whole sentences are crossed out and there are even passages that are difficult to read, the handwriting is so atrocious. My past essays here on this site are just like those journal entries: a road map to who I used to be. I’m no longer ashamed of that.
To mark this change, I wanted to focus on the words. No flashy pictures, definitely no flashy design. The words are the important bits, the ideas behind them. So, the focus is there. This also means that I have to be more cognizant of my words. I must give them the respect and honor that they deserve. What does that mean for the content of Wild Mind? I am not entirely sure. For a few months now, I’ve thought of writing more in-depth essays, spending a week or so writing it, maybe longer. I have a multitude of topics that I’d like to explore and Wild Mind is kind of a perfect place to write about it. I don’t need to be in a rush to write a barely thought through, fly-by-the-seat essays about whatever has piqued my interest. Again, taking the long view in life and in writing.
In a few weeks, I’m boarding a plane for Denver to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. We haven’t seen each other in a few years. It will be good to be around her, spend time in the city that made me the woman I am, and spend some time not thinking about real life. It will be an interesting experiment to compare and contrast the person I was with the person I am. To say that Denver made me is not an exaggeration. It was the years that I became responsible for myself. I am curious what thoughts and conclusions this trip may reveal. I know my journal will be a constant companion.
Perhaps the trip will give me guidance on what happens next. Perhaps moving to my new apartment the weekend I return will make all these ephemeral, esoteric thoughts more solid. Perhaps nothing will come of it, there will be no insights, and life will just continue. Whatever the outcome of my trip, I continue forward, happy with whatever comes next. For a long time, as has been evident in the essays on Wild Mind, I have felt the need to run; to run far, to be free, to let loose and be wild. I feel different now. I don’t know the exact cause. But, I am happy here, in this moment, in this space, looking forward to the next year, not worried about rushing through it. I’m looking forward to taking each moment, rolling it around in my mouth, holding it, and letting go when the time has passed. I am grounded at this point in my life. The externalities of my life no longer dictate what I must do or run from.
It’s still Pugsy and me (16 1⁄2 and still kicking strong). But we’re not against the world anymore. We are enjoying the moments, smiling as they come and waving goodbye as they leave. We—I—feel grounded. This is a good place to be.