I had a dream a few years ago about someone I only knew by reading his blog (I’ve been a regular reader of many random blogs over the years without ever commenting). I had a dream that he died, this kid, a senior in high school, a talented writer with so much potential, and in my dream I knew in some profound sense—I felt the weight of it deep within me—that because of his death, I would spend the rest of my life trying to fill in the space he had left in the world, and nothing would ever be the same.
I had a line from this song running through my head the entire next day.
It was just a dream, and the feeling eventually wore off, but I wonder, if it hadn’t, what would be different? Would I be willing to take more risks? Would I be more dedicated to creative pursuits like writing and making music? Would I be more passionate about everything I do? Would I have the courage to act on more things I’m usually content to daydream about? Would I be sitting on a beach somewhere around a campfire with people talking and singing along to someone playing a guitar, instead of sitting on the futon in my apartment typing on my laptop? Would I be less willing to settle for an existence that is anything less than breathlessly exhilarating? Would I travel more? Would I start looking seriously into volunteer programs abroad? Would I talk to strangers on the subway? Would I start sending postcards to people I’ve never met?
I don’t think I ever expected it to be so difficult to abandon the comfort of the known. But it’s not just familiar things and circumstances that are hard to leave—a job, an apartment with a year lease, houseplants that need watering—it’s the people more than anything else. You can never really make up for time not spent with someone. I love the people who are in my life, but I’ve really been feeling the need to meet new people and have new adventures as well. I thought about hosting couch surfers, but there are no locks on our doors within our apartment, so my roommate doesn’t feel safe enough to try it right now. I don’t feel safe enough if she doesn’t feel safe enough. I think I tend to be too trusting of strangers sometimes, so I try rely on other people’s concerns to guide me. (Example: letting a newly-released ex-convict borrow my phone and then giving him a ride to McDonald’s.)
I’ve also been listening to this song on repeat this week. It’s one of those songs that so many people have recorded, it’s hard to find one great definitive version, but this live one is nice. I haven’t really paid all that much attention to the words yet, but what it really calls to mind for me is the poignancy of the passing of time. It’s been a good song to ruminate on while re-evaluating my life.
Also, apparently this is Scottish Song Week for my blog. Enjoy.