23 June 2010

What a difference a year makes.

So just for kicks I read my previous 93 scribblings calling themselves blog entries since May 27 of last year when I started this damn fool thing.  What jumps out at me is just how much of my evolution, from "devoted husband" to "lost soul in desperate need of validation" to my current status that doesn't fit neatly into quotation marks, comes through in every word.  What also jumps out at me is how far off I've drifted socially for want of a stabilizing influence in my life, and therein lies a quite unusual state of mind.

I find myself simultaneously delighted by my freedom and quite annoyed that I don't have nearly enough socialization in my life to keep that thin thread that connects me to the rest of the world from fraying.  The most dangerous thing I can possibly do is to withdraw into myself, yet here I am.  Slightly stir crazy, no small bit crazy of the regular kind, keeping the world at a distance.  The place is a mess for want of a woman's touch (my mother would take one look at this place and think I haven't changed a bit since I was sixteen.)  I've had maybe two other people in this apartment total since six months ago---indeed, today marks six months to the day since my ex-wife moved out.

And yet this is by design.  When I sat here last year considering the future direction of my life, I'd figured on following the wife to a city of her choosing where she could be happy, I could be employed, and we could set about raising that family we'd always talked about.  My goals were completely subverted to the idea of domestic happiness on someone else's terms...and to say that is way out of character for someone like me is to state the bleeding obvious.

These days I have a general rule of thumb; any commitment that requires me to be anywhere other than my hometown where I belong to celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday in two years is a commitment I refuse to make.  I'm short-timing it around here.  Got a long-distance relationship with a girl from back home, got almost half of my Facebook comprised of people who knew me when I was the awkward 16-year-old with the messy room that my mother would recognize today, and I'm counting down the days even as there are nearly seven hundred of them remaining between now and the realization of my goals.

Everybody knows that we grow and change as we get older.  But reading through a year's worth of posts, an average of one every four days (although heavens know that average has been pulled upward by my laziness as I've traded thoughtful, newspaper-column-length ruminations for snappy Facebook posts, which saddens me even as I continue to cultivate my audience there), and seeing just how much I really have changed?  I suppose the most amazing thing about all of the above is just how far past it I've been able to move.  I still feel an intense yearning for the stability, stress relief, and emotional validation that comes as the product dispensed in exchange for sacrificing one's freedom to the company of another.  But I'm no longer looking for it here, rather I'm preparing the ground and planting the seeds to find it at my pace, on my terms, and in a location of my choosing.

It may be a pretty lame excuse for a treasure hunt if you buried the treasure and know exactly where it is, but by the time I get back to it, it will have been ten years.  I think that's enough to maintain a modicum of optimism.  But for now?  Sleep, soccer, and mathematics.  I've got work to do to get where I want to be.

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