What gives?

Last night I was lying on the floor, stretching and looking at the ceiling, thinking “what is my life supposed to be?”
I dream often of traveling and seeing the world and making friends all over the globe, of owning a house in Holland or Spain or Fiji or wherever and living by the water – any kind of water. But I know how exhausting traveling can be – the flights, the hotels, the unknown stresses of language and money and not being home and how would we ever make that work to just get up and go? What about the cat and taxes and rent and jobs and health insurance and bills. WHAT ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE?
I have moments of bliss at staying still and then moments of feeling absolutely trapped by it. It’s an odd sensation to feel at times like you want to leave everything you’ve built behind and start over. Start over to what? I think the unknown scares me more than anything. What will we do about this and this and this?
It’s hard to know how to make your own path, to not follow the paths that others have made for themselves. And it makes you question – what do I I I I want to do in my life? How do I want to live it. Who decided that we are all supposed to get jobs and pay bills and live as every one else lives? School. More school. College. Job. Marriage. Babies. Babies have babies. Retire. Death.

Every time I have these thoughts I remember a line from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – a cartoon I grew up with. Belle was always my favorite as a little girl. In the opening scene she’s walking through town and singing about her life. She knows she wants more for herself instead of the things people tell her she wants. And she sings “I want much more than this provincial life.”

It’s silly really. I’m 26 and still have this line ingrained in my brain. But there’s a reason. I suppose even when I was younger I knew I wanted more out of my life. But what does that mean to me? To finally feel at home? To create? To live as an artist? But those are all things in some way or another I’m trying and doing now. And part of me thinks – well what gives?

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4 Responses to What gives?

  1. What about health insurance indeed.
    I keep waiting for Obama to restart the Federal Writer’s Program – to find a way for us to invest in the arts. The upside to being a writer is that the act of writing in itself takes very little – it’s like running, a sport I love in part because you can do it anywhere, at any time. We can run and run and write and write, but I agree that sometimes practical matters like money and, well, money, and did I mention money? affect how long and how far we want to go.

    The good news about being a creative person is that you can find creative ways to squeeze in what you like to do. From what I see in your blog and in the work you do, by all appearances you do live an incredibly creative and engaging life. It is comforting to see these feelings articulated, because I definitely feel the same way, and I think many people across disciplines do as well. Thanks for putting it into words.

    • rachvb says:

      The things is that I want to go and go and go and the other things like well my job and being able to support myself seem to take away from the writing part sometimes (well most times). It’s a hard thing to know how to balance. And I think I’m at a strange sort of crossroads.
      The comforting thing I suppose is that it’s not something I can or want to give up. And I’ll find a way to keep growing as a writer no matter where I am. Some days it’s just wading through all the muck to get there.
      And thank you. That’s nice to hear. Comfort in numbers.

  2. It may be my experience or it may be the way things work…sometimes, or, in my case, pretty much all the time, my instruction seems to be: WAIT. Whatever is next is coming, it will not have to be generated from my finite energies, it will find me. It all unfolds (dreamed of a friend giving me an accordion-fold newsletter he had made for me) at its pace, which doesn’t necessarily give us quiet moments while we mark time. I am reassured by all the things I don’t have to know today, all the answers I am not required to have in this moment.

    Observation is a creative act. I am astonished by the things many people do not notice. It all goes on.

    • rachvb says:

      It’s hard to know how much to push and how much to be patient. Once again there is a balance we are not allowed to understand at times.
      I suppose I need to learn to be reassured that all the things I don’t know I will in time know. I grow impatient without answers having to do with myself.

      I am also astonished at the things people don’t see. How can they walk through the world that way? How can they not see it?! I was thinking this morning that the core of writers cannot be taught – the part that enables us to see and feel the way we do. It’s something born in us I believe.

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