Stumbling forward,

published at 9:03am on 03/01/08

The stairs leading up to my office are steep. That I have an office to go to is remarkable enough, and the fact that I ascend those steps several times a week is nothing I would have imagined were I asked, years ago, “where will you be?”

I ask myself that often. I walk up those stairs, my backpack strapped to my back, my laptop and my camera weighing me down. They do weigh me down. The camera is a weight that I welcome; the laptop a weight that I accept as a continued reminder of my independence. It is my laptop, it is my camera. The laptop belongs to me, and when I leave at the end of the day, the laptop comes with me. If I never wanted to walk up those stairs again, I could. I leave nothing behind when I walk out that door. I learned that a long time ago. The camera, the camera reminds me that I am more than what is contained in this computer, more than what I churn out, day in and day out.

I walk up those stairs, with my life on my back. Walking is just falling forward and catching yourself, over and over again. I think I read that somewhere. Walking up those stairs is taking a leap of faith, over and over again, trusting that I will not land flat on my face. I could lean forward and touch the stairs with my hands if I wanted to. If I fell. But I don’t. I stumble up the stairs and plod down them, day after day.

I am on an airplane right now. Literally, sitting on an airplane, returning home, glad for the distraction of being away from home while looking forward to the familiarity of being back. I remember returning to Boston a number of years ago, feeling as though I was ready to dive back in to my life. A few years later I remember returning to New York and feeling that I was ready to attack my work with a renewed vigor. This time, I return home with as little conviction as I’ve ever had, and a sense that something must be done.

Why is it that so many people I know get so agitated so quickly?

We demand so much from the world. We must remember, on some level, the the universe is under no obligation to accommodate our wants, or even our needs. So many people I know demand so much, and are willing to toss away what they have in pursuit of something bigger. Grander, perhaps? More, certainly. More excitement. More challenge. More passion. More intrigue. Is it noble, or just fickle?

I have this discussion a lot with myself.

“What do you want to do with yourself?”

“I don’t know, but I’m not happy with where I am now.”

“Well, what would make you happy?”

“I don’t know.”

The obvious followup, that I suspect I never actually get around to asking myself, is if I don’t know what I want, and I don’t know what would make me happy, how could I possibly know that this isn’t it? But I tell myself that I know.

This is, of course, completely idle speculation, to be mused upon only, and certainly not acted on.

They say that change comes when you least expect it, so for now I will continue to strap my life to my back and stumble forward, step by step. Some day soon I hope I’ll trip, and I’ll be forced to pick myself up, and figure out which way I really want to go.

Filed under: Personal

At 3:38 pm on 03.03.08, Danielle said,

That I have an office to go to is remarkable enough, and the fact that I ascend those steps several times a week is nothing I would have imagined were I asked, years ago, “where will you be?”

You seem to go on a what– two-year cycle? eighteen-month? between startup-style laptop camper and Going to a Job in an Office.

At 4:00 pm on 03.03.08, jcn said,

Anywhere from 11 months to about 2 years. I’m at two-and-a-half years right now, so I’m long overdue.

At 6:50 am on 05.29.08, jenny said,

hi there…
just stumbled upon your page… i feel myself moving with you… find it touching and recognisable… joyful no more.

after much unrest – and looking outside i realise that all that is to be done is fall within.. with every step, with every breath – the world will come to pass, there will be fotos to make and what you call unrest will be recognised as energy in movement…joy, life.

At 4:14 pm on 06.23.08, nash said,

perfection is a journey, dear friend – not a destination. if you’re not happy in the direction you’re pointing, just flip a coin a couple times and go in a different one. sometimes the wrong answer is better than none at all.

you’re missed!

At 12:28 pm on 06.16.11, Rick Dickinson said,

There’s a Laurie Anderson song, “Walking and Falling”, that seems to be what you might be remembering:

I wanted you. And I was looking for you.
But I couldn’t find you.
I wanted you. And I was looking for you all day.
But I couldn’t find you. I couldn’t find you.

You’re walking. And you don’t always realize it,
but you’re always falling.
With each step you fall forward slightly.
And then catch yourself from falling.
Over and over, you’re falling.
And then catching yourself from falling.
And this is how you can be walking and falling
at the same time.

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