Dullness for Comfort?
What to say? It’s a little funny how I was going to write so much. Write about going to see Neko Case last night in Providence. Write about having my water out again and the non-stop banging in my crawl space for most of the weekend. Write about paying off my last school loan today. But then I started listening to music from the nineties, when I was in high school and bouncing around the country like an arcade ball. And all these thoughts of missing out on dreams or wondering about the other paths my life could have taken make the things I was going to write to be…well, not too enticing.
I ended up in a black hole of reliving the movies and music of that decade. The nineties were the decade I became an adult. Graduated high school, spent two years in Montreal in university, worked as an RA, got fired for drugs and sex, October 10 1998 happened (a reference to a very bad night), moved to California, hitchhiked in California, spent three months as a ranch hand in Linden, California, a ranch hand in Colorado, and eventually moved back to my parent’s house to lick my wounds and reevaluate the fuck-up I had become.
Throughout all of that were the movies and music. And when I watch or listen, I become nostalgic. Thank god I’m not drinking but maybe I should go grab the wine and just finish the damn bottle. Hold on. Okay, I’m back, glass of Apothic Dark in front of me and Sarah McLachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstacy in my ears.
Nostalgia can be a disease sometimes. It can bring on whatifitis awfully quickly. What if I had stayed in school? What if I moved sooner? What if I stayed in a relationship or got out sooner? What are the paths we have not taken? Who would you be had you made but one small change, said yes instead of no, gone left instead of right?
These questions fascinate me. I don’t have much regret in my life. I am who I am because of those decisions but I can see how I would be different had I just made a different choice. It’s remarkable how something small can balloon into the present day. It keeps me wondering about the decisions I’m making now and what repercussions they will have in a year, or five years or a decade from now.
If I play the what-if game forward, instead of looking backward, things become really interesting. Right now, as I’ve written previously, I’m comfortable: good job, good salary, good friends. My days are roughly the same, one after the other. Work, sleep, weekends, the occasional trip. This is a good life, a simple life, a life many people would be envious of (the fact that I can just go out to dinner before a Neko Case dinner without stress is not lost on me as being extremely fortunate).
This life lacks any sort of flavor though. I look back on the nineties, coming of age, and the first half of the aughts, and remember feeling alive. My life was chaos and crazy and drama. Is dullness the price I pay for comfort? Is monotony the price I pay for security?
The thing is, there’s no such thing as security. I could lose it all tomorrow when I step outside my office building from some distracted truck driver. I could find out about a disease that’s been lingering in my body for years. I could lose a leg or my mind or my sight and then what?
Trying to plan for the future and maintain a sense of security and comfort, while also not ending up as a cloistered, sad sack of shit is a balance I haven’t been able to attain yet. I was wild and crazy in my teens and twenties. I drank way too much, snorted too much coke, danced and partied with ecstacy coursing through my system and made some really bad decisions in the process. Fuck did I have fun though.
And now, these past eight years or so, I’ve been a debt-paying, net-worth increasing, insurance-purchasing fiend. My career is progressing. To be honest, it feels all so very hollow. I wonder if having a boyfriend—or a girlfriend, I’m very flexible—would add some spice to my life. I wonder if just throwing it all away will make me feel something real. I wonder if these are just the lamentations of some whiny, privileged, white chick from New England.