Friday, January 09, 2009

Welcome to Point B, Population Me

I am 34 years old, and spent so many years of my life trying to get from point A to point B. Point A was always the undesirable spot I was in at any given moment. I always longed for something else. Some glorious point B just on the other side of the fence, where cushy green grass glowed in the sun just waiting for me to skip across it barefoot without having to worry about dog poop.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be 16 so I could drive a car on my own.

When I was 16, I wanted to be 18 so I could be in college and out from under my parents’ roof and their 10:00 curfew.

When I was in college, in Rhode Island, I wanted to be abroad. When I was abroad (as bitchen as that year was, and how much I knew that I was in a decidedly spectacular point A) I was ready to be post-graduated and living on my own.

When I was post-graduation and living on my own, I longed to have a boyfriend. When I had one of my lousy post-college boyfriends, I longed to be single. When I was in the working world, I lusted after school supplies on the store shelves every September. When I was working at one job, I kept my eyes peeled for some other, better job. When I landed the other, better job I wished I to worked at a job that had purpose and meaning and largely checked out of the one I had. Then I stopped paying attention in meetings; I stopped writing things down that I had to accomplish. Then I’d find another job and repeat the cycle.

I’ve always wanted something I didn’t have or to be somewhere where I wasn’t at the time. It had nothing to do with material objects. I don’t care about a lot of that stuff. My wandering eye constantly made its way over to the want ads, to the apartment listings, to the magazine articles and books about people who were living lives that were way cooler than mine.

In my last bout of unemployment, I asked myself “So, where is point B? What does it look like? How do I really get there? What do I want it to be like?” Then I looked around and realized that the current situation was point B. It was the culmination of 34 years of trying to get to point B. Every single point A that I had tried like hell to get away from was actually a point B that I had arrived at from some other point A. (Did your head just explode?)

I came to a few interesting observations. Yeah, I am a rather unoriginal guitar player. I am a three chord wonder. I listen to other players (Willy Porter, I am talking to you) and think, “Man, I’d love to be able to do that with a guitar. He has six strings and ten fingers, just like me. I should be able to do that too.” But then I realized that other people who have heard my songs have said to me that they’d like to be able to express themselves like that. And I can take those three chords, mix up the progression, change the rhythm, play them faster, play them slower and come up with a new song with a different feeling and another message. And that’s pretty damn cool.

I look at other women and think, “Man, I’d love to be that thin.” But then I realized that women who are bigger than me look at me and think that.

I look at people who have sailboats that are nicer than mine and who have traveled further in theirs and think, “I would love to have that boat and go that far.” Then I look at my own boat and think “Yeah, she still needs a lot of work. But she’s all mine. I haven’t yet sailed to places like Martha’s Vineyard, but I have sailed to other places that other people haven’t been.”

I read other blogs, and take glimpses into other people’s lives and think “They have a way of taking something mundane and making it into something hilarious, or something meaningful, something beautiful and something I crave when I am looking for entertainment.” Then I just think, “Then you need to get better at writing if you want other people to be interested in what you have to say.” So I experiment. I get personal and give you all a closer look at who I am. Then I swoop out again and I keep you behind the hedges so you can’t see in. I haven’t decided where I want to put you guys yet. I am not sure I want you all with your hands cupped around your eyes peeking into my windows waiting to see me naked, but I know it’s not so much fun for you to be hanging around at the end of the driveway either. But it’s OK to leave you out there once in awhile, and it’s also OK to invite you to the door too. But am I good enough at that? And is that enough for you? Some days yes, and some days no. It’s the “no” days that make me look at other blogs and think, “Man, these guys are always so ‘on.’ Why can’t I do that?” without even realizing that I’ve had a few “on” days, myself.

So here I am, at point B. And yes, it’s a probably point A for me to start from so I can get to some other point B. I am always plotting, always searching, always comparing, always yearning, always creating and always on the look out. Will I ever arrive at point B and think “OK, here I am. This is it. This is where I’ve wanted to go all this time?”

I don’t know.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ever get to such a Point B, I wish you'd give me directions or GPS coordinates or SOMEthing.

On the one hand, I think it would be boring to say "Yep, this is Point B, and I never ever want to leave here. Ever." But I think there's a little untruth to "the road is better than the destination," too. I think the answer is that the ideal situation is to be on the road that leads to Point B, and know it, and be sure of it, rather than actually AT B or on some road that you don't know where you're going.

But that's me.

I had a joke about the "waiting to see me naked" part but I decided not to go there, heheh.

January 9, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grok this, totally. Until I was out of college I had a continuously shifting Point B, but as soon as my parents weren't pushing me to get somewhere I was lost without a map.

Now I sort of agree with TB, that it'd be boring to be satisfied at Point B. I think life is more of a journey, with various Points B along the road. Yet I am still unsatisfied with every job that I have and I can't seem to shake the restlessness in my mind.

To bake your noodle a bit: What if there's a Point C? Then what??

January 13, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

cristiunity, what if c-a-t really spells d-o-g?

I agree with TB too, in that I think I'd be bored at an actual point B. Life is about constantly making it what you want it to be, right?

I too am largely unsatisfied with every job I have. I am always restless. But I think I just realized that's part of who I am. And it's the constantly changing the current situation that makes things interesting.

January 13, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you still have broken the vase if I hadn't said anything?


I am glad to know I'm not the only one with the job problem. Joblem. I can't see past the end of my troubles with it at this time, because it's made my resume hideous, but I also value all the various experiences it's given me and I hope that'll be the attitude I'll stick with eventually.

January 13, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

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