I’ve wanted to create a full life, not something lacking or wanting. Regrets don’t arise from something done, from something completed, something pursued with adverse result. Once something is attempted, its outcome moves beyond yourself, where concern is no longer intimate and internal, a questioning of personal capability. Fear transitions to happenstance, to the possibility of serendipitous design.
And no, none of this is a shirking of responsibility, an avoidance of accountability. It’s simply all an admittance that you can only do so much, and a truth that blame cannot be set upon you when consequence and event is no longer within your control.
I received an email the other day, written by someone I admire, love and adore. It was a message written in concern, in a fear that what I’m doing, moving across the country, pursuing novelty and newness, was somehow wrong, that I was expected to stay where I was, gaining equilibrium in the stagnant resistance to change and opposition to advancement. This seemed like I was only preparing for something that may never come, that I would grow complacent, convincing myself that I was content with the comfort of 9-5, of the same friends and the close proximity to family that I rely upon for solace. I would have my cookbooks, my same bed, and my same life. And I would somehow convince myself that all of this was what I wanted.
But certainly, in many ways, the author of this email was right. There are parts of myself which crave stability, desiring the comfort and ease of days that blend together in their sameness and uniformity. It’d likely be healthier, taking time from transitioning, riding off of the excitement of finishing school. But this feeling would almost be vicarious, separated from the event itself so that its result could be felt almost only as if by proxy. Pulling memories into the present, and using them for present gratification, feels like an exploitation of adventure, a nostalgia in which you have no business indulging.
The most potent sentence of the email read as follows:
“Life consists of learning to manage boredom: it is present in everyone's life, and one has to learn how to change it into peacefulness.”
I understand it, and see its applicability in the lives of others, but I’m not sure how I can do that. I’m not sure if I can pursue peace as a rephrasing of security in boredom. I’m not sure if I should.
I don’t know if I could learn from the monotonous exposure to the same people and ideas of every day. No matter how much I love someplace or someone, if I don’t leave it, at least for a little while, I worry I may resent it for its seeming inability to change, the illusion that it will never grow and develop, becoming something somehow different.
When will I be satisfied? When will I feel that I have done enough, tried enough, been enough? When will my life feel like enough? When will I stop?
And so with this overwhelming mass of questions to clutter my mind, I repositioned my thoughts. Instead of understanding completeness as synonymous with finishing and a finite end, I shifted to the idea of completeness as fullness, fascinating and delighting all of my separate interests, all of my interwoven parts. With this perspective, I can account for my desire to change, grow, and develop, reconciling this to a need for fulfillment, a sense that I’m crafting purpose within my everyday.
The ambition seems vague, reaching out to individual and sporadic moments as a foundation for happiness, direction, and meaning. But dismissing perfection as unfeasible, unlikely, and untrue, I’ll chase after pleasure instead.