Well. I’ve had a pretty intense three weeks. It’s taken me this long to come up with something semi-coherent to say about it here.
Excerpt from journal entry from Monday, April 29, on leaving Buffalo:
Mainly what leaving has done, I think, is left me with a fierce love and gratitude for everything in my life that I don’t normally appreciate as much. I felt that way all through college—there’s something about knowing that your situation is temporary, that makes you appreciate it all the more. When my coworkers stopped in one by one to wish me well on Thursday and Friday, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for their presence in my life—they are amazing, beautiful people, every single one. I want so badly to be able to love everyone like that, all the time, to take them as they are and just bask in the beauty of every single thing about them, but all the stress and tiredness and worry and drudgery keep getting in the way. Leaving work was particularly poignant because I found out on Thursday that my coworker with the domestic violence program who trained me has cancer and it has already metastasized, and she is being put in hospice. She had been out on sick leave for a couple of weeks but she had thought it was just sciatica. The last time I left the office saying “Have a good weekend” was the last time I’ll ever see her. And it’s fucking scary to think that you truly never know when it’s the last time you’ll see ANYONE. I don’t know how people cope with this fact. I get really dramatic and morbid about it and go around trying to impress the gravity of mortality on my friends. The best way to look at it, as far as I can tell, is that the imminence of an “end date” is what makes us (or at least me) appreciate everything around us, and being completely ridiculously in love with life, knowing it all has to end and feeling blessed to be here to see it, seems like the very best possible way to live.
Then I drove out to the Finger Lakes on May 1 and I’ve been here ever since. The first couple of days were very adjust-y. My first full day here turned about to be a day off, and I found myself at loose ends, wandering around aimlessly, unsure how to pass the time and unsure what to cook. But groceries arrived and the refrigerator was plugged in and I found ways to occupy myself. The other people here are all completely amazing and I am flabbergasted to be in their presence. (Lines from Waking Life have been popping into my head at odd moments, too.) I’ve been learning so much about myself, both good things and awful things. I am capable of so much more than I generally give myself credit for. [For example: since coming here, I’ve opened a bunch of jars unassisted, hammered 24 metal posts into the ground with a giant metal mallet, concocted meals from whatever the heck we had lying around and fed six people, played a drum and a banjo, and even WROTE A SONG (about not knowing how to write a song, but IT COUNTS GOD DAMMIT)]. On the other hand, I’ve also learned that I have some weird emotional issues I’ve never dealt with, and I’m not nearly as mature as I thought I had become—it was really just nonchalance masquerading as maturity. I am really fucking far from any sort of enlightenment.
I do, however, think that this has been a great decision. It is exactly the right thing to shake me out of the complacency that’s been plaguing me and to break the terrible inertia of my adult life. I’m being exposed to a lot of different ideas and lifestyles, and I’m hoping to be able to let go of myself enough to undergo some serious change while I’m here.
And I’ve been journaling like a madwoman. Next post, I’ll probably pick out some of those thoughts to share with y’all.