Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Things That Keep You Up

Pictures of Success
Rilo Kiley

Two years and three months is a lot of time to get lost. I took my time. It was great at first--learning new things; meeting new people; settling in to a new stage of my life. But slowly, I was making a habit of shedding the "silly" things in favor of filling my life past the brim with the "serious adult stuff" (you know, the stuff that they say really matters).

Blogs that serve as online journals? Quit that--my writing's too sappy anyway. Better just stick to fine-tuning my emails for that perfect tone. That photo blog? Put a stopper on that, too--I wasn't improving much; more of a hit or miss, really. The only jpegs I should scrutinize are those banners that need to launch tonight.

In a life where 85% of my hours are spent at home or at work, where do I find the time to look at something through a lens and give more than half a second's thought to it? In countless months where I end the day so drained that meeting up with friends feels Herculean, from where do I draw the energy to synthesize my thoughts or feelings beyond Facebook's simplistic, emoji-laden descriptions? Feeling angry. Feeling exhausted. Feeling burnt out. Feeling existentially insignificant.

Today I left 2 hours earlier than (my daily) average to go on a dinner double date, which we extended by waxing nostalgic about our teenage days over coffee. A friend tagged me for a photo challenge, which led to a revisit of my dusty photo blog, which then reminded me of this corner of the internet where I used to spend sleepless hours trying to squeeze substance out of the best and the worst of my moods and musings.

All this time I prided myself on rarely staying up at night to finish work. On some occasions I'd clock in for 10- to 12-hour workdays, but later, at home, the work mostly stops, and I mostly spend my precious remaining hours talking to my family and my girlfriend. Then I sleep. Then I wake up the next day. Rinse, repeat.

But now, I'm thinking part of this aimlessness comes from giving up on the things that keep me up, and the things that used to make me take a moment to observe and admire my environment. They stopped being a part of my life--either through work, or through hobbies. I always thought that I was square enough to be able to lead the generic drone life, but what do you know? Guess I have a much bigger need to be actively creating, rather than just consuming through books, shows, movies, and music. Maybe it doesn't even have to be creative work--just something I feel very strongly for.

As with anyone who's ever been lost, I've been trying to move forward, but maybe part of why I couldn't was because I'd forgotten my compass: the feeling of being so immersed in something that it keeps you up without you even trying*.

*Might not apply to insomniacs


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