You know that feeling when you find the one little thing that just might get you out of your rut? Like you're down at the bottom of some dank wet hole, groping blindly at the slick walls for something, anything to grab on to and hoist yourself up, and then you feel it, a sturdy root or branch reaching out to you, waiting patiently. It's not much, but it's enough. And you start to move upward. You start to see light.

Forgive me if I sound dramatic. While I have been feeling like I need to shake things up in my life as a whole, the rut I'm referring to is a creative one. I like this blog of mine, and yet I somehow never want to visit it. Sort of like the yoga studio down the street, a place and activity that I know is good for me and I know I love, but lately lack whatever flutter of inspiration used to get me there.

I think change is what makes me tick, what makes me look at myself through a different lens, what makes me write. I recently observed the anniversary of my first day at my job, and that tired thought washed over me, the one we've all held in our hands time and again, turning it around and around like a Rubik's cube, trying to figure it out:  

It doesn't feel like it's been a whole year.

But then I thought, for the first time, how absurd it is to pretend I even know what a year "feels like". Has a year in my life, from start to finish, ever felt like any one thing? Have I ever really felt the passing of time in the same way twice?

I'm reading Joshua Foer's book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to reevaluate how they see the world and themselves. I heard Foer speak at a City Arts & Lectures event last spring and he is just as charming in person as he is on the page. He's also the brother of Jonathan Safran Foer, who wrote two of my favorite novels. A clever family, to say the least.

Anyway, there are many notable ideas in the book and I may write a separate post about them, but on the bus today, a line jumped out at me: "we forget our lives almost as fast as we live them."

This is true, is it not? Foer calls it an "elemental human problem", and it is, without a doubt, one of the major reasons so many of us post the every detail of our lives onto the Internet. At least the details that we want to make sure other people know about and we remember.

In the past four months, aside from living my daily adventures in San Francisco, I've been to New York, DC, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tahoe, and Colorado, and I'll be in Chicago this coming weekend. I have told you almost none of it, any photos are still shriveling up in my iPhone, and I haven't kept a journal in years. So aside from foggy, surface memories, much of it is, and may always be, lost.

Of course, this blog can play only a minor role in any attempt to remember everything, and I'm comfortable seeing it simply as a time capsule of that which I thought worth writing down. I think I feel the gears shifting again, shaking themselves free of rust, and I will be here more. I also think, however, that sometimes it's OK, instead of writing about stuff you just did, to go do more stuff. Or, equally acceptable, to go to bed.

And speaking of ruts, I did make myself a proper dinner tonight for the first time since Idon'tknowwhen.

And over the weekend I chopped off most of my hair. Hello bob!

Have rut-free, memory-filled week, my pets. See you soon.

1 comment:

  1. It's so strange looking back on things... when I was in high school, I wrote *everything* down. Literally. Especially my freshman year. I have friends who bring stuff up from then - arguing about who said what or who acted what part in a play - and I'll pull out my handy journal and retrieve the answer. Amazing, right? It's been a steady slope downward from there, and it's interesting to think of our blogs, Facebook, Twitter and realize that despite our "writing down" every little thing that happens, there really isn't anywhere to go to find the real details - the nitty gritty of our experiences and feelings... the secrets.

    So much time spent worrying about not writing things down or posting photos so everyone can re-live our experiences. But I have to wonder... is this the right way to think?

    I have no solid answers, but I did get an opposing viewpoint one time that changed my perspective on the matter:

    The summer after college graduation, I spent the 4th with a friend's close family friends on their houseboat, and this included a boy (yeesh - man!) named Scott who was my age. He was active and exciting and spent his free time doing such incredible things: climbing mountain, riding his bike cross-country, building homes in other countries, learning other languages... After our trip, I asked my friend "Too bad we didn't get any pictures of this weekend," and she turned to Scott, saying: "That's weird, we never seem to take pictures when we come to the houseboat - why is that?" And he said simply:

    "I never take pictures. I'm too busy having fun."

    Going through school and graduating from college with Facebook at the forefront of all of our lives, we took pictures and updated statuses to let others know (and remind ourselves) of the spectacular things we were doing. But looking back, I realize how much time I wasted trying to make my life seem more exciting than it really was.

    Enjoy your time LIVING and creativity will find you in, perhaps, unexpected ways.