Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding Yourself Somewhere Else

I've always mocked (gently, of course) my friends who have gone "looking for themselves."

Usually they have a pretty good reason for packing their crap and getting away from their various overbearing families, so I'm all in support of that. But finding yourself? How the hell do you LOSE yourself? I mean, here I am. All the time. This is me. I'm not lost.

Except that sometimes, you are.

Way back when, I lived in a town that I hated. I hated everything about the town, I didn't have any friends that I could relate to. I had a good job, and we were making all the ends meet, bills were getting paid and we had lots of extra money to get those things we need and many things that we wanted as well.

It was a good life. Except I hated it. With every fiber in my body, I wanted to be Somewhere Else. ANYWHERE else.

I was discussing this with someone I worked with and he looked at me and said, "Is it really Town that you hate, or will you be packing up your unhappy and taking it with you?"

Sometimes your environment can create clutter. The people who you see on a regular basis influence how you act, what you say, what you wear. The places you go - or can go - decide what your options are. Prevailing attitudes can color your mood - a liberal in a highly conservative work environment can get to feeling hostile, or put upon, or persecuted - or for that matter, an atheist in a highly religious area can start feeling very alone. But it's hard to tell, sometimes, whether those moods and attitudes are coming from within, or from without. Would I still feel alone in a new town where I still had no friends, but I didn't feel this wave of hostility every time I saw a "Only Man + Woman = Family" bumper sticker?

In order to figure out what's truly yours, sometimes you need to get away from all those things that aren't you. Family. Friends. Job. Television. Just be alone.

Where do you go, when you've got no familiar place to go? What do you do when you're the only one who has to be happy with that decision? Do you, for example, only hang out in the coffee shop because you feel like you should, or when you move to a new town, do you seek one out until you find someplace with a palatable espresso?

(As it turns out, it was Town that I hated. We moved. Our financial situation took a nasty downturn from the job switch, and I never did find good full time cubical hive work again... despite that, I was happier. And I still am.)

I'm talking about this because things are about to change for me. Big change.

We're getting a house.

For eight years, I've lived in a tiny apartment with no privacy. I write my stories in the same room with the television, and try to balance my life around two people that I can't help running into (sometimes literally) with every waking moment.

Sure, they're still going to be there. But I will have an office. And it will not be in the same room with the television.

The question is; what parts of me will I pack up and bring along...

And what am I going to leave behind?

1 comment:

  1. I know what you're talking about here. I really enjoyed reading this. I am a conservative christian and completely understand the feeling. Great post!!