Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Music and the Mixed Message

I have been thinking a lot, since my illness and hospital time, about what I want out of life. When I was seventeen, the only thing I wanted was to marry Jaime. The rest of my time I spent playing music, having fun... I really didn't think of anything else. Work, school... these were just things I had to do to keep Jaime around. I enjoyed them. I tried to do them well because that was me, that was how I operated. But I didn't really care. When something more interesting came along, I changed and went along with it.

Everything else I did was connected to my value system. I enjoyed being straight edge, eating vegan... I enjoyed these things because they expressed something about myself. I think my values were the clearest from that age to my early twenties. Not well developed or even true, but they were me, they made sense in the context of my existence. It's telling that I haven't really changed those values in all the years since then. Not even at age twenty-one.

Listening to that old music, I realize that I was really happy then. I think I was happy because I knew what I wanted, and I didn't get caught up with nonsense. The rest of my life since then has been an effort to find that clarity of purpose. I still understand intellectually what I want. I want to be with Jaime, take care of my kids, practice my Sufi meditations. It's amazing how clear it becomes again when you don't know how much time you'll have in this life.

So many people my age are gathering things. Buying houses, video games, giant tvs. All of those things are fine, of course, I don't have a problem with things. Things are just things, they don't matter. But gathering things isn't me. I don't like houses. I don't like video games. I kind of like tv, but not enough to pay too much attention. I was happiest in a simple apartment, with bare floors, and piles of pillows to lay around on and listen to music.

In this way the kids are good for me. They ground me, make me pay attention to my career, my surroundings. I think I'll always strive for some form of the bare floors and simple apartment. I'm not sure why. The kids keep me from going too extreme. I could see becoming a strange old straight edge hermit, listening to old 7"s and watching the white walls of my apartment mold.

Which is probably going to happen anyway. But at least this way I'll be prepared.

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