Man. This has been the absolute weirdest month of my life so far. So many really awesome things are happening. So many really not awesome things are happening as well. Bizarre and broad-based intrapersonal chaos aside, I have news. I got promoted! I have accepted the editor position at a bi-weekly arts and culture-oriented newspaper located on the Oregon Coast. I’ll be 2 hours from Portland, which is sort of a bummer, but I am so excited to get a crack at running things. The downside is I have less than two weeks to learn to paginate. Ugh. My brain is fuzzy from Quark tutorials.
This also means, dot dot dot, another move! This will be the fifth in a year and the 27th in a decade. Moving is getting real old, hey. I can’t remember the last time I lived in any house or apartment for longer than a year. But I’m guessing it’s finally going to happen now. That feels strange.
On the drive home from the job interview, I felt sorta mixed up inside. Giddy but also a little sad. This is exactly what I wanted, but it represents, too, the end of an era for me. Me committing to being somewhere — really being there — for the indefinite future, in a way that feels more lasting than the mere half-commitment of plopping down my bags and resting awhile.
I don’t know. I’ve sort of managed to stifle my wanderlust these last months because I figure it really is time I get focused on journalism and finish up this book I’ve been working on for a good few years now and I’d like hammer out some sort of longer path forward for myself, besides. I’ve come to the whole career thing a bit later in life than most. I’m still not sure how to feel about it.
When I was younger I was straight sure that I’d spend the rest of my days freewheeling about the planet. It seemed so romantic and beautiful. But then I hit my late twenties and had no dental insurance and no car and no resume and I was wicked lonely on top of it all. And I’d stumbled upon the disturbing revelation that I was bored out of my mind even when I found myself as far from home as I could get.
My trip to Central America last summer was punctuated by this strange sense of restlessness. The French would call it ennui, I suppose. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t be moved, by anyone or anything I came across. The revelation that even extreme backpacking adventures were no longer enough to keep me entertained was sort of earth shattering. Suddenly, tearing through jungles and swinging in hammocks and hitchhiking through the campo felt as mundane and derivative as a trip to Burger King.
It made no sense at first. I’d find myself squatting at the top of a smoldering volcano, shoes melting, staring out into the infinite ocean; or chugging beers with a rowdy crew of strangers at some seedy Guatemalan bar, perhaps, or wandering alone through endless ramshackle barrios and I just felt… Nothing. No, that’s not quite it. I felt antsy. Perpetually unsated. It was all, suddenly, not enough. I guess anything becomes daily if you keep at it awhile. But my revelation felt like something more than that. I began to wonder if maybe the problem isn’t where I’m at. At some point, every town starts to feel like the wrong town. All the off-ramps begin to resemble each other, if you stay gone long enough. Maybe my perpetual dissatisfaction is just a part of who I am. I’ve always been quick to boredom, and my inability to make peace with the idea of a 40-hour-a-week charge for the rest of forever has sort of lit a fire under my ass. It’s kept me moving along. But it’s not enough anymore, just to be somewhere new. Deep, hey?
Gaw. It all sounds kind of formulaic when I lay it out like that. I suppose mine has been a mostly predictable progression. My youth was, perhaps, slightly wilder and more misspent than the average person’s. Slightly more far-flung and rambunctious and fraught with occasional peril. Now I’m bearing down on 30. Back home in Oregon. I own a sofa. I own a car. I’m feeling the squeeze and watching all my friends marry and multiply and I’m not sure what to think. It all sometimes feels uncomfortable much like a slow march to death. But I’m drawn to it at the same time. It’s good. But weird. But good. But, well, weird.
PS!!!! I have a really cool idea for this interactive photo/art project I want to get going on this summer. But I need joiners…. Anyone want to let me take their picture?