The plan is to live in Chicago, then Denver, then San Francisco, and then Seattle, as a way to be both young professional and nomad through the remainder of my 20s. The plan is to move back to Philadelphia to reduce the stress of starting over in another new city. The plan is to stay at my current job and save as much money as possible so I have the freedom to start over someplace new sometime soon without having to find another job in my current field. The plan is to apply to jobs in my current field to give me a reason to move to a new place. The plan is to decorate my apartment so it feels like a home and not a temporary storage space. The plan is to get a part-time job that pays just enough to cover bills and gives me experiences to write about. The plan is to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible so that I can reasonably be unemployed and focus on writing or photography or starting a business or some other thing I feel too weighed down to take seriously as this point in my life. The plan is to quit drinking because drinking costs too much money and is not entertaining enough. The plan is to stay single and make friends and have fun with those friends. The plan is to go out and meet someone I can eventually marry and do the whole parenthood thing with. The plan is to take life day by day and see which changes come because changes will come, but they will not come all at once. The plan is made up of contradictions. The plan is a source of anxiety. The plan depends on only me.
One billion lives asynchronous,
acting towards uncommon cause.
Broke arms, broke legs, forgotten wings:
daydreams siphoned for products to be dissolved
in too hot turned too cold undrunk tea.
The queen wears her crown:
holding onto hierarchy’s working order.
The ants come marching one by one:
alone too small to seek a change profound.
It has been almost one full year since I left the structured-by-semester schedule of higher education behind, although my estimate would have been quite uncertain if I hadn’t just checked my calendar. The days blur – the ones into the many – out of repetition, monotony, and a lack of notable milestones. I have been accomplishing tasks day-to-day, and I may have accomplished some set goals. But looking to the future, I fail to see a point of demarcation signally the end of this time period, and the start of another.
I am working now. I may work for the next forty years more or less, and they may look very similar to this last year, if I choose not to stray from my current path. I am working now. It seems endless. It is endless. Not the individual days, but the days in aggregate. I am working now. It is what I have to do. I enjoy it at times, but it is what I have to do more than what I want to do, and it is what I will continue to do, for as far as I can see.
I chose my own adventure, and I chose to sit at a desk for many hours every week in order to earn a salary. I chose my own adventure as a high school senior, who believed there was one direct highway to success and it was paved with hard work and degrees. I chose the future I wanted. I wanted success. I defined success based on what I was told success is. I chose a future I wanted, and I wanted to be successful in a field, and I wanted the benefits associated with being a success in a field.
What are the benefits? Health, vision, denial. What are the benefits? A few weeks of pained vacation. The weekends to acquire. A plan for retirement. A plan for retirement. A plan for when I have worked for long enough that I have saved enough currency to rot for the rest of my days in comfort. Comfort. The benefit of work: comfort. The goal of life: comfort. The definition of success: comfort. The opposite of desire: comfort.
I chose my own adventure, and I chose to be comfortable, not for one day, but for many. I chose my own adventure, and I chose to be successful in a field: I chose a life of boring comfort. As many have done before me and as many are working tirelessly to do while I am still here. Still here. Still here. Still working. Working. Always working. Type, type, typing at a desk. Exhausted from being so motionless.
I chose my own adventurelessness. I chose to be a monotonous miniature success. I made my very own bed and now I’m lying restless tossing turning in it. Screaming silenced into pillows. Fighting swinging punching: mattress-cushioned softened blows. Waking dreams for living nightmares: searching for a sensible end. An end. An end. A place where the next part starts. A point of demarcation signaling a change. A chapter heading: A Once Stagnant Life Turned Oh So Strange.
I won’t get there sitting here, but here is a run-on sentence: lasting so long it stops making sense. But today I chose comfort, and tomorrow (place your bets): I probably will too.