ch-ch-ch-changesJanuary 1, 2007
January 1. A day that rolls past us like water, mostly because half of us spend it slumped over in exhaustion, half-inebriation, and partial overhang. A day for resolutions, making a stand on or against the life your life, and taking the first, nearly always faulty, step toward a wonderful new tomorrow.
Cynical? Of course, I am.
I have believed for a while now that turning over a new leaf begins now. And now. And now. Every moment you spend pontificating over what might be, what great could become, is a moment not spent making it happen. Very high and mighty, especially for someone who hasn’t changed his major, hasn’t dropped out of school, studied abroad, moved to Hong Kong, kissed a stranger, started that podcast, read that book, taken that class, listened to that language tape or taken that road trip. Yeah, I’m just like you, wondering what will come of me when I decided to change.
Funny thing is, I thought I was alone.
I’m sitting around for the semi-annual “Book of Questions” fest at the nearest bookstore with C and M, who I’ve not mentioned. We get together on occasion, when fate permits, and discover something about each other and something about ourselves that either surprises or doesn’t. It’s good fun. Often funny. M stated numerous times that she would befriend Ellen DeGeneres, date Porsha Di Rossi. Fun!
But we got to talking about how we don’t live the lives we said we always would. M and I sat down during our Junior year of high school and laid out our life plans. Go to school for 4 years, move to San Francisco, find partners, move to another country. I’m in year five, and I’m about to keep being here. She’s in year five and she’s been married maybe three times to both men and women, lived in Alaska, and now is going to be a conductor for the railroad. Not on schedule, are we?
My recent stint into MFA land has made me wonder at myself, as I so often do. Am I doing this to save myself? Will it work? Is this what I really want to do? What am I saving myself from? What is keeping me picking up my bags and just going?
The answer to these questions is “I don’t know.” I’m learning that the only way to really figure out if the life you want to live is worth the risk is to start living it. To leave, to do, to make the change and get on with it. But the first step is so hard. So frightening.
As you sit in your warm house or library or cyber-cafe or wherever you get your electric fix, consider what you are doing with your life right now, and wonder at yourself whether it is what you want to do. If it is, keep living it. If it’s not, make the change. I know I plan to start making the small baby-steps in that direction. Eventually, at least.