I’ve decided that I’m done with “The Open Book Test.” For anyone who was enjoying it: (graceful bow). If you don’t know what I’m talking about–don’t worry about it. I was going to continue it for the whole of 2015, but I changed my mind. That’s the great thing about having a blog. It’s yours. You can change your mind if you want to.
In place of that project exploring the past, I’m going to try come up with occasional posts about what’s going on in my mind in the present, and hope that they are reasonably interesting.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about a particular kind of annoying person and how I fear I might be turning into one. The ones I’ve met are usually ex-missionaries of some sort–people who once did something awesome and unusual, but then proceeded to live totally normal boring lives but continue to define themselves by the one interesting unusual thing they did 20 years ago. I hate that. It drives me crazy. The other day I realized that I think I might be turning into one. I felt like kicking a hole in the wall.
Well it seems like there are only two possible ways to avoid this or change it.
1. Do something interesting and unusual now (take it out of the past and put it in the present)
2. Redefine yourself (as in: use the mirror and not old photo albums)
I wish I could think of another option, but I can’t.
I’d like to do the first one. I am dying to do the first one. Honestly. And I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell is stopping me. It’s not like I have kids in school or anything. I am married, though, to a wonderful man who is about as different from me as a person can be. He’s unusual and exciting by nature. If you know him, you know what I mean. He’s also older than I am–not a lot, but enough–he’s had a significant number of health problems in the last several years, and he’s an Aries. All of these things add up to: he’s not in the mood to do exciting, unusual things that don’t involve full health insurance and regular paychecks. All things considered, I don’t blame him. And then there’s this: he IS doing something exciting and unusual. He’s an Italian living in America. This, for him, is as awesome as it would be for me if he took me to live in Italy. So, there you go. You get it. We were all amped to join the Peace Corp a few months ago, and for about three precious hours I felt like I came to life again. Then I discovered that he can never join the Peace Corp because he’s not an American citizen. So I let that go, too.
The second one is not as fun. It’s sad–or it makes me sad. How do you do that? I mean, how do I do that? I don’t want to be a middle-aged community health worker living in a redneck town in a cold desert when the world is full of places with oceans and languages and sunshine and open windows. In my mind, I am ready to take my surfboard and paddle out, but instead I take my scissors and walk around the house snipping off the heads of the roses that have bloomed. Again and again. Instead of packing suitcases I switch purses a lot.
It’s not easy. That’s all I’m saying. It would be a lot easier to do something hard, than to keep doing easy things over and over. I’m standing here with my machete, ready to swashbuckle through the jungle, and then I realize I’m in a field of daisies. It’s disappointing. Tennessee Williams said something about that.
I can’t tell you how I’ve resolved this, because I haven’t. I’m just posing the question. That’s the difference between me posting from the past or posting from the present. I can’t tell you how it turned out.
Gardening with a machete: Outside my house in Costa Rica, 2010