Thursday, February 23, 2012

and that's pretty much how it is right now

Tory says (1:43 PM):
  i don't even want to have my own kids i think.
  i still have ZERO desire to do that
Friend says (1:44 PM):
  you'll see
  give it 10 years
Tory says (1:44 PM):
  you aren't 10 years older than me
  and what
  who says i won't still be out dancing all the time
Tory says (1:45 PM):
  and drinking beer
  you can't drink when you're pregnant
Friend says (1:45 PM):
  hey, don't you get mad at me!
Tory says (1:46 PM):
  i'm nto
  just putting some logic out there
Friend says (1:46 PM):
  well, you never know
Friend says (1:47 PM):
  but accept that your maternity desires might, just might, naturally arise
Tory says (1:47 PM):

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a little lost

As I prepared to get in the shower tonight, like I do on every typical night, I noticed once again that I've still got slivers of teal-green nail polish at the tops of both my big toenails.  Those bits of color remain from (no joke) last June or July.  The summer's memories come back for a moment - warmth (a particularly nostalgic one, considering how tired I'm getting of bundling up in heavy clothes and layers these days), sunshine, a new friend with a shared passion, learning to make trips to NYC on my own as I found how much I liked their blues dancing scene.

Accomplishments.  When I realize the steps I made over the summer, the new experiences then that are now under my belt, I feel good.  But as I shower (always a useful time for thinking), I attempt to summarize the big picture.  Where am I, in growing up?

I guess the summary would be that I'm not an adult yet.  Yeah, I'm way past the legal milestones of 18 and 21 years of age.  And more importantly, I have some major things checked off.  I graduated college - it was a hell of a hard time sometimes, but I got through it.  I've been beyond lucky in my internship experiences, always working with wonderful people and learning things, and the icing on that cake was attaining a full-time job to start immediately after graduation.  I have my own apartment now, and right in the location I want, no less.  In no way am I looking past these.  They are major achievements in the game of Life (ha), and sometimes I feel so lucky (for these successes as well as other goodness in my life) that I figure my luck is overdue to run out and something is not going to work out for me soon.

My nature, though, is to analyze, largely including my own thoughts and experiences.  Of late I have been noticing some ways in which certainly I have some adult steps yet ahead of me.  Some are kind of straightforward: find a dentist near where I live so I can start going for yearly checkups and avoid possible awful tooth problems later.  Some are going to require some learning: how to do my taxes, so my dad does not have to do them for me.  Some are going to require some serious habit changes and effort to tackle an issue I have had difficulty with so far: cooking and eating better.

Those are a few concrete to-do/to-learn items.  I am also just beginning to realize that I need to find my balance.  There are so many activities I want to do: new things I want to try, learn, practice, and existing ones I don't want to lose time to fit in.  And amidst this, I want to see friends, or talk with those who aren't local.  This monumental set of desires really can't be accomplished all at once.  Sleep is important, as I have long been aware, but beyond that, I'm starting to feel tired from all the running around trying to do everything.  Relaxation and self time - including learning to be comfortable with time by myself - is key.

Maybe sometimes I need to remind myself I can't do everything at once, or try to start fixing or accomplishing all the steps at the same time.  Life is long, and I have time to work on things, and to try things, and to learn more about what I like and how I want to live.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a new kind of freedom

It's 9:17pm on a Monday night.  In all normal Monday paths in my life these days, I would be, in the next ten minutes or so, getting dressed and ready to head to Powerhouse Blues.  Blues dancing is among the most-loved activities in my life now, and I don't miss the Monday dance for anything but a few very special exceptions.  In fact I am listening to a particularly delicious blues song at this very moment - John Hammond's version of Same Thing - and starting to half-regret the decision...

Today my good friend at work reminded me that we have not gone out for a beer and a nice talk for quite awhile.  We almost waited til tomorrow, but at the last moment decided to hang out today.  We went to a bar I've passed many times on the bus and recently saw claiming to have 20 craft beers on draft.  We had a wonderful, in depth, and honest talk about some shared threads in our lives.  I am happy to have such friends.

So I made it home at 8-something in the evening and realized, man, I am tired.  And hungry.  I am so lucky as to have leftovers to eat this week, the results of my parents' visit and cooking with my mother (a well-versed experienced cook) over this past weekend.  So I microwaved a plate and it was utterly delicious.

While tired, I had been intending on heading to blues at 9:30 as usual.  Then I remembered this week is the once-monthly house party dance held two bus rides away from where I live.  Now, I know I am incredibly spoiled to have merely a 30-second walk to the regular weekly venue.  I am not saying I'm complaining about the change of location.  I merely had - for once - a simple realization and resulting decision: I'm feeling tired, in the mood for relaxing indoors, not for going back out a half hour from when I walked in the front door.  I realized that I don't have to bind myself to a weekly schedule just because the event opportunity is there and because I love it so much.  I realized I can listen to my gut feeling and take a night off, and while I'm lamenting a little bit that I'll now probably go two weeks in between blues dancing (such a painfully long time to wait!), I am okay with this for right now, and I think it will be good for me.

What do you know!  Life is changeable.


Tonight while I was in the shower - which seems to be the location where I do a large portion of my most introspective thinking - I think I figured out the meaning of life.  Kind of.

I believe it all comes down to passion.  Or at least the most important things do.  Everyone is seeking happiness, right?  I mean, it's a basic desire, once we've got stable shelter and food supply, to be enjoying ourselves and feeling happy.  And what do we spend a lot of our daily time doing (to fund said food and shelter)?  A job, of course.  I'm sure many, many people are doing jobs they wouldn't choose, just because they need the money.  But to be happy - not excited all the time, but content, satisfied, purposeful, in good spirits - I believe the ideal is to be doing a job about which you're passionate.  If you care about a purpose, or a product you're providing, or a service you're offering, then you will want to go spend your time on it every day.  You won't be counting down the hours til you can go home because you'll get wrapped up in what you're doing and you won't notice them going by.  And I'm speaking of a full-time job here, but I believe this can extend to college students as well; you aren't getting paid (unless maybe you're past undergraduate level), but if you are able to choose a subject you love, then you'll want to go to class, participate, and do the work given outside of it.

I'm not saying this is easy (and yes I've just painted a pretty rosy world here).  Figuring out a passion might not come early in life, and you might still need college,, or even time afterwards, to really discover a niche out of the endless realm of possible jobs/subjects/purposes in which you feel you belong.  But this kind of passion is one example.

I think people's passions often shine through (also) in realms very different from their jobs.  I have been lucky enough to discover the world of partner dancing - most particularly, blues.  One could call dancing a hobby of mine, but it's really a passion.  The feeling of triad connection between me, a partner, and the music - when all falls best into line - is absolutely unlike anything else for me.  It's physical and emotional expression.  And I know the experience does it for many others, because I meet them at the numerous events I've traveled to, and I see it in those who are teaching the newer dancers, and I see it when I watch others dancing, and I live it in the vibrant community of which I am so happy to be a member.  So another kind of passion is truly loving and feeling alive in an activity, an experience, and sharing that with an amazing community glued together by that common thread.

Passion is evident in your own strongest innate interests, too.  When you find yourself seeking something out, in numerous ways over years of your life, and you can while hours on the never-ending pursuit of learning more, diving deeper into connoisseurship, I'd say it's a passion.  Mine in this example is music.  I played music instrumentally for years, and have long believed that while listening to music can be amazing, it can never compare to the emotionally evocative power of being part of producing the music. It has to be a piece that hits me the right way, but when it does, it's a strength of emotion that can't be put into words.  I lived that passion for many years... and then the activity structure became less interesting and inspiring to me, and it fell out of my life.  Dancing grew to fill that space.  But as I got more into dancing, my musical interests regrew in the form of listening for the purpose of perhaps djing for dancers.  This gave me a whole new perspective and set me on an everlasting search.  I also was lucky enough to meet a friend whose passion and hunger for music that reaches him surpassed mine by a long shot.  I was simply amazed time and again by his desire to find more and not only that, but to share it with me.  He sent me off into another forever search of my own, to find music in the genres I love to listen to.  My musical world has expanded astronomically since, and I could probably spend forever seeking and categorizing and searching for those songs you fall in love with instantly.

But there's more.  I've realized, maybe only just today, that passion can be in the form of love.  Not romantic or physical passion - those are at best fleeting in the picture of life, I think.  When you really simply love somebody, with whatever relationship it may be (family, friend, or "significant other") - it is another passion.  I don't feel necessarily qualified to speak of love in the form of those kinds of relationships particularly, but I have been and am loved.  Love is caring and having concern, wanting the best for someone, giving to them ahead of your own wants and needs, being there for them.  It's not sacrifice and service all the time, but more an ongoing mentality, and a willingness to also give more concretely in those ways.  It's a calm but strong passion.

So passion gives our time purpose, gives us satisfaction in its fulfillment, gives us direction, ways to help others individually and at large, gives us joy and life, makes us who we are.  People are more important than things, so I think love comes first.  All the other kinds help make our lives full.