I am restless.
Maybe it is that the pandemic has finally got to me, or the social civil war going on, or just wanderlust. I don’t honestly know. I know that the monotony of general living is driving me bonkers. There are stressors I’d rather not deal with and they aren’t the fresh kind of stressors, but the kind that cyclically repeat. And I can’t really escape them.
I’ve referred to this in the past as my “golden handcuffs”. Long ago, I ached for some stability in my life — something that was severely lacking at the time — and so I went back to school to get an education, which landed me a good paying job (although not the one I went to school for) with better than decent benefits, flexible schedule, and no overlord hanging over my shoulder on every task. It was a “flat” command structure at the time, which worked when there were fewer than 300 employees, but growth within the company has somewhat killed the freedoms we all once enjoyed. I don’t miss most of them that much, other than the stronger feeling of ownership I had for the company.
Things are definitely stable now: A second, upgraded home. Kids. Too many fricking cats. I can usually buy what I want and need instead of worrying about how I’m going to eat, because of changed saving and spending practices. Nice vehicles instead of beaters. Enviable health insurance. Etcetera.
I can’t get past that sensation that I might be happier without all of this “stability” in spite of the turmoil other events are causing in my life. And yet, I can’t leave those things that make up the stability for the responsibilities I’ve taken on.
In other words: Trapped.
And maybe it is that feeling of not being able to disrupt the stability that makes me feel restless and straining against the metal jaws clamped around my ankles.
What would I do if I could do anything? It’s not like I know that either. Part of me dreams of the hermit or vagabond lifestyle, the mad poet away from the rest of civilization or always on the move. Another part of me wants to dig deep into the underground, emulate the heady days of the Warhol collective, the beat poets, the musicians breaking and rewriting rules in the 70s and 80s, the punk and post-punk days, to be on the reviled bleeding edge of something different. To reject the pabulum of the modern internet and social media age, to find some red meat in a world of porridge and gruel. To ignore or outright break social norms, mores, and rules. And to find like-minded people to hang with that are equally tired of the status quo, who ache to be done with being offended at everything. Be part of a collective that challenges.
There I go dreaming again…
Those kinds of ideas seem to have evaporated these past twenty or thirty years. It seems like most people are trying to codify their lives, find boxes to put themselves in, find their own stability with wrappings that make their boxes seem different, but are really just replicated like social 3D printers with veneers so thin as to be transparent. They want to draw lines and sides and define themselves by tribal affiliation. It’s enough to make one just throw up arms and quit.
Maybe I’m just a cantankerous old guy. I probably am, in fact.
A cantankerous old curmudgeon who has handcuffed himself to the train and can’t get off to find another.