Surfacing

Remember LiveJournal? Back in the bygone days of LJ, I would write regular updates about myself - what was going on in my life, what I was watching/reading/etc, general nonsense and meandering trains of thought. At some point, though, I stopped. The very idea of "I" statements became a source of guilt. Even journaling felt self-indulgent and dogged by that nagging suspicion that everything's pointless and there is no value in anything I have to say. Some heady mix of depression, low self-esteem, Catholicism, and the daily realization that the entire world is teetering on the edge of the abyss. What's the point of anything? It's the kind of thinking that drowns out everything else. So this is an exercise. Write something. Anything. You are a human person. Kind, well-read, occasionally even clever. Lift your head out of the goddamn dirt and reestablish a sense of self.

Not that I'm not writing. Mostly, I'm editing. Going in circles, reinventing the Terminus wheel, defining a personal belief structure that falls somewhere between quantum theory and new age empowerment. This world is not our final form of existence. Usually, that's a source of optimism. We're here to learn, to connect, to master ourselves and our energy. And then we get to move on into the great, wide unknown. I'm trying not to see it as an excuse to jump straight to the end. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn in this world. Because when it comes to letting go of things - of my insecurities and my constant need to seek permission from others just to live, to relax, to BE - I have been failing rather spectacularly.

There are definitely habits to be unlearned when you step back and take ownership of your own happiness. I'm still trying to shake the idea that every moment of free time has to be converted into productive output - how many chores can I get done on my lunch break? What bargain can I strike with myself that will allow me to sit down and relax at the end of the day without feeling guilty? The hyper-awareness of time is still there in force, but most days all this accomplishes is making my head spin until I'm exhausted.

But it's getting better. I'm relearning how to breathe. Now that spring is (more or less) here, the persistent sinus funk is relenting, the sun has returned, and all the farms around here are filled with baby critters. Seasonal sense of optimism, I welcome you. And in a huge deal (for me, at least), we've acquired a second car. For the first time in 10 years, I have a vehicle of my own. No more waiting or begging for rides, no more hanging out late/early at work, no more trying to fit all the shopping/errands/gym into the few hours that a car was available. Mobility has become even more of an issue since we moved to a small town. This past month of being able to gogogo whenever I please - things as simple as taking my dog to the lake or taking a break from work to go get a coffee - has done wonders for opening me up again.

Now, I get to sleep a little later. I wake up, hop in my sticker-covered used truck, drive a mile to work, where I have an office all my own (take that, corporate "flex spaces!"), usually spend my lunch break back at home with the dogs, finish out the work day, read/write/gym for an hour or two until my man gets home, and then it's lounging in the dog pile or chatting with distant friends until we float off to sleep. Not a bad life at all.

Which means most of my problems are in my own head. That, and the fact that the world is careening toward a climate and socio-economic crisis under the crushing weight of late-stage capitalism. So many systems that we were taught to believe in are collapsing or showing their true colors. A major shift in the way we live is unavoidable. The best we can do is try to make life better for those around us, form supportive networks and communities, and hopefully carve out a reasonably comfortable place to weather the storm. I still want to buy some land and invite friends to live cooperatively. Really, what I want is to found a new country, maybe start a new enlightenment movement, but I'd be perfectly happy gathering my people together and keeping them safe. All the old dogs, too.

And, damn, are all of us getting old! It's an irritating process at times, sure, but it's been interesting. Seeing it in the dogs is even harder than seeing it in myself. Trevor is a cranky old man with not-so-many teeth, but he's still got that Trevor spunk. Cookie has gone blind, but her intelligence throughout the experience has been amazing to watch. She knows left and right and has learned to rely on her human servants, as undignified as it may be. (That exasperated huff when she jumps down from the truck and I catch her rather than lettering her land!) Apollo has become a fat bastard. It suits him, though. He's always been a steam roller of demanding affection - now he just flops on my feet with a harder thud. My constant shadow, that big old direwoof.

And I still have Bobby. This whole, messy life thing wouldn't be possible without having his shoulder to lean on. I need to stop using him as a surrogate authority figure in my moments of panic, but otherwise we're doing pretty well. Now that the world's blooming back to life, it should hopefully be pulling us out of this hibernating winter funk. Let us not spiral and feed into each other's depression; instead, let us hop in the truck and go get a burrito! And, yeah, we're getting older, but damn if he doesn't look good with that salt-and-pepper beard.

I also have more time for previously neglected pastimes. If this is it, it's time to experience everything this reality has to offer. I'm reading voraciously - historical fiction, big-pictures sciences, non-fiction takes on the world from perspectives beyond my own. I'm back on the horse practicing both French and Spanish. I want to try and cultivate mindfulness, take better control of my own energy. I'd also love to play music again. The instruments have been dusted and taken out of their cases. Perhaps someday soon I'll do more than casually fiddle about.

So that's pretty much the size of life right now. It's small, but it's ours. Leaving the crushing corporate machine for greener pastures was the best decision I could have made. And, hey, if civilization collapses, you can find me lounging in my truck under the trees.