the way life plays


“The hard structure of the world,
The world structure of illusion.
From seeing too much of the world
We do not understand it.”
from “The Hard Structure of the World”, Richard Eberhart

I find that when I am telling stories about my life – or even making a casual reference to something I have done – it often sounds like I have gone on wild flights of fancy, been a dilettante, dabbling in all kinds of strange, though not terribly exotic things. It all sounds disconnected – the shy childhood in America, the adolescence spent shedding the that skin, the strange descending back into that not shy but really awkward and unhappy cocoon when I reached university, the firm belief that I would become an academic and focus on Russian and eastern European languages, literature and linguistics followed by the dashed dream of pursuing postgrad studies in the Slavic disciplines… getting stuck even longer in the US, resenting the education I was undertaking for what it wasn’t (some false idea of what I should pursue) rather than appreciating it for what it was, taking a job in the federal government and focusing on postgrad studies in public administration and policy, thinking of writing a thesis about English as the official language of aviation (I worked in an air traffic control center full of men) but ending up writing about the economy of Slovenia on the verge of EU accession. And this was all just a handful of years – the early years. So gnarled branches I could have climbed out onto – missed opportunities? Near misses? Wrong choices? Learning experiences? Rice pudding? Escapism? Jumping out the window into dark, murky water below? Just the course of how life unfolds, the way life plays. Where do we end up instead? Would it not be interesting to be able to explore the alternate universes, had we taken a different path?

All the millions of things, events, people, choices, decisions and everything that went in between… how did all of that add up to where I am now? Planning to run from the grey abyss of what occupies me today, closing out the grey year this has been. As I wrote before, undoubtedly, I changed everything this year only to find that what I already had was best. I am working on convincing myself that I want something other than what my brain and body have been prodding me to want for several years. Some things we want are never going to happen, and it’s heartbreaking to face and accept the realization that letting go of whatever it is we were striving for/dreaming of is the only way to continue on.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the tram and nearly burst into tears thinking how much of myself I want to remake or have remade. Somehow. It sounds strange and desperate in some way. But that is how I felt – possibly the worst week in a long time without tangible reason for it being that bad (or perhaps it was the eruption of all the bad things that had been boiling up slowly for months). It is not my style to burst into tears and have emotional outbursts or reactions. Most people in fact find me a bit robotic, aloof, indifferent but sometimes nothing could be further from the truth. I am only made of steel to a certain point.

Things are fine now but I can’t seem to be social, can’t do anything but read, watch films and sleep. This too is the way life plays.