Monday, August 01, 2011

Where mosquitos breed

I've come to a time in my life where I feel a strong desire to keep things as they are.   I want to do the laundry the same way each Sunday.   I want to eat at the same restaurants and eat the same meals.  I want to read the same books over and over.  Watch the same movies again and again.

This isn't healthy.

This isn't what I want my life to be.

I want to try new things, I want to have new experiences, and learn new things.   I don't want the next few years to be a polished repeat of the last few.    I'm giving the same performances I've rehearsed for the last few years, only better, since I know my lines.

It's so easy to repeat the same lines over and over.   It's so easy to get stuck in a rut, because getting out takes effort to move in some other direction.  Forward, backward they are the same and they are easy.   Getting out, moving laterally, that's a hard thing.   It takes effort, and more to the point it takes risk.    I'm not a good risk taker.   I have gotten very comfortable, and comfortable people can't take risks, because they are, by definition, comfortable.   But taking risks is important in life, and risk-avoidance is a risky strategy in and of itself.  Avoiding risks leads to stagnation, and that leaves one unprepared.   If I'm lucky, I have a good half my life left to live.   Do I believe the world will be the same in 40 years as it was 40 years ago?  Will I be prepared to face the worlds of 20 or 40 years from now if I want my life to be the same as it was 4 years ago?

How can I prepare for coming storms, for unexpected ups and downs?  Being sheltered isn't a recipe for maintaining strength.   Fight life's little battles every day, and in opposing them, grow stronger, more versatile.   Relearn how to take risks.   Stop rehearsing the same script and go live a new life every day.

How can I do this? 

I'm not sure, but I know a few things I'm going to do to start breaking some routines:
  • We'll move to San Francisco - after all, why not?
  • We'll share a flat with some other folks - after all, why not?
  • Try to reduce my material possessions (moving should help!)
  • When repeating something, do it by choice, not out of laziness
  • When I feel nervous about something - do it anyway
  • Practice saying yes
  • Practice saying no, when I would normally say yes
Will this help?  Will I free myself from stagnation and keep my vitality, my life?   I hope it will help.   

Some ruts are good: well-worn trails are smoother and more efficient at taking you where you need to go.   Comfortable isn't a bad thing.  Sleeping on rough burlap sacks isn't going to make one any better at's just going to cost you a few hours of sleep and make you cranky. 

Similarly I have some comforts I don't want to do without, things that don't make sense for me to give up.   Like climbing trips, especially Joshua Tree.   They center me, like Taska does.  There are several others, smaller ones, I don't have to give up everything.   But I do have to make some sacrifices, and I'm ready to - since the sacrifice of a comfort means moving out of a rut, and into the real world.   Growing stronger in the real world - not hiding in a stagnant pool.

1 comment:

Jim Brooks said...

I love the energy in your post and I feel the excitment of seeing someone leap into the fast current. Intensity. "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" is a wonderful novel about family relationships and a parent that always picks up on the wrong aspect of her children's lifes. The daughter, Jenny, is on her third marriage and first carrer says, "She would remind herself to draw back, to loosen hold. It seemed to her that the people she admired had this in common: they gazed at the world from a distance. ... She was trying to lose her intensity." Can't help feeling a little sad if this is one of life's lessons. Being a parent I guess I would say all water is full of life. Enjoy the rapids. Jim