Friday, October 28, 2011

Destination: Anywhere

Blue skies, The Commitments on the radio and open road in front of me...

Destination: Anywhere
East or West, I don't care

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And I Got Here How?

I'm in a bar in a hotel in San Diego. I'd like to be able to tell you why I'm here, but that part isn't quite so clear to me. 

It started innocently enough, as these things often do. I was having lunch with Pen, and we were having a discussion about passion. I'm reading a host of books right now about new careers and finding the vocation that makes you jump out of bed with unrepressed joy most days (not period days, of course, because nothing is that good). Much to my continued dismay, I don't seem to have a passion for anything. I have lots of interests. I have vague intrigues, but nothing that drives me. Worse, I tend to fall into things that occupy my time because I'm good at them, rather than for the love of them-- and then stay doing them for 16 years.

Travel is one of those interests. Or rather destinations are of interest. Exploration of new places is an interest. The actual traveling I could do without-- planes, trains and automobiles all have their extreme downsides. If you could convince me that my molecules would all end up in the same place in the same and appropriate order, I might be on board with teleporting. But as it stands now, my options all seem limited and annoying. Still, there is a wanderlust in me that is hard to deny.

I've done my best to suppress it. I once hit 13 countries in one year. But then my passport was exhausted, and my brain and body stuck to moving households within the continental U.S. Even that skidded to a stop once I got to L.A. Despite the occasional foray, I've largely remained mired in my internal dialogue rather than my external wanderings. 

Apparently, I've had enough navel gazing. I mentioned reading about the gaslamp district in San Diego to Pen. We agreed it sounded like fun. I'd like to say there was a well-thought out plan after that moment-- something premeditated, at least. Instead, I took my leftovers, and settled into my apartment for a rousing game of "what do I do now?"

Two and a half hours later I was settling myself into a hotel in San Diego. Just because I could, it was there and there was no reason not to do it. And now I'm reclining on the rooftop bar, writing this blog, sipping my Malbec and agreeing with my people (i.e. Strangers watching the baseball game in the bar) that St. Louis has made a lot of errors in this game.

I imagine I'll be home soon. Probably. Possibly. But I guess you never know.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rain Delay

On a normal day from my past life, I would be very unhappy right about now. It is raining in Los Angeles—this never bodes well. People can't drive in it. I don't park close to my apartment, and I really have lost my tolerance for being out in it. If this had happened a year ago, I'd be slogging my way to my car, bitter that I couldn't wear jeans to work, trying to keep my heels from being destroyed, lamenting the early hour and wishing that I could curl up on the couch with a book and a blankie.

This year… DOING IT.

Forgive me for taking a moment and thinking "well, alright!" thoughts. I'm absolutely certain I'll be struck down with the plague for being able to enjoy the sound of the rain outside and wearing sweats. But… DOING IT.

Lest you be concerned that your solid, recent advice has been ignored, fear not. I am slowly working my way around the plan. I even went to the grocery store yesterday (shockingly painful, though it was). And because I did not procrastinate, I now have this day where I do not have to venture out in order to find a way to feed myself (and the poor pizza delivery guy will also not have to brave the hazards to find me).

In addition to getting down to the serious business of exploring my options, I'm trying a new mental approach. Don't worry—it's not very "Secrety." It's gratitude. I know this sounds outrageously positive for me, but I'm going to give it a shot. I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity (not just the staying home when it rain parts, but the year off, in general). So many people have told me that they wish they had the ability to take a year and just do something else—even people who are relatively happy with their lives. While at the end of this year, I'm really going to need to have landed somewhere with an income, for right now this is a chance I should be grateful for having.

So, I'm going to try this approach and see what happens.

I give it a week.


Monday, October 03, 2011

To Done

I'm not going to lie. When I took the year off, I had a lot of vague notions about how the year would go. Clearly, twenty minutes after I quit, I would be offered my own television series, movie franchise or multi-book publishing deal. A month later, I was supposed to be voted most powerful producer in all the land. I still wouldn't be able to afford a house in Los Angeles, but I'd be getting close to it. A month after that, my husband (George Clooney) and I would start our new studio. I was willing to allow for some deviations in the length of time this would take, and the exact details of my success (perhaps I was voted "most powerful producer in my apartment"). However there was one thing I was absolutely certain of: I would have nothing on my "to do" list.

That assertion was completely false.

What I have found is that the "to do" list is a lot like a purse. The bigger the purse, the more crap you carry around. Seriously, I carry a hard drive around right now. No good reason for that other than the fact that it went in there once, and there is room for it. Likewise, the more time you have the more tasks occupy that time. I thought I would be bored. I was wildly incorrect. I'm as busy now as I was before I quit, I'm just focused on different things. Sadly, those things don't pay me right now, but that's a different issue for another day.

In reality, the "to do" list just grows—and not just in volume, but in complexity. For instance, in addition to "get groceries" I now have "write great American novel" along with the slightly more reachable goal of "post blog." I think the theory is that now that I have all of this time, I should be able to reach loftier goals. The list now resembles a combined daily tasks, New Year's resolutions and grab bag of fate manifesto. I can't decide if having "get oil change" and "find meaning of life" should be on the same list (bonus points to all of you who just yelled out "42"), but the moment they share space. Unfortunately, rather than rolling up my sleeves and really trying to get some of these tasks off my list (Chapter 1 would be nice), I'm gripped by inertia. I've fallen back into the same old pattern: if I have every option in the world, I choose nothing. If I have a million things I could be/should be doing, I only do the things I absolutely must do to survive (and even then grocery shopping will be a last resort).

I'm curious if any of you have ever faced a similar motivation problem. How did you kick start your progress? I've made the big gesture: I quit my job. I took charge: "I am woman, hear me roar." Except with me, it really has been more like a whisper.

Kate (watching House Hunters)

P.S. Fallacy #2: "If I didn't have a job, I'd be really fit because I'd work out every day." LMAO such a kidder.