Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Thrill of Anonimity?

Sometimes I find myself pre-editing what I am planning to write out of the concern that someone whom I do not want to may find their way to it. What a blaring ridiculocrity - that is not a word.

A squirrel just jumped up in the corner of my window. Bold.

I know sitting down to type this that I was not sure I was in the right mold of mind. It seems that it is happening anyway.

Back to the original, stated purpose of creating this jumble of words - I have been realizing, in the last few days' newest installment of 'oh, shit, am I running my life the best way possible?' that the answer is no, and one of the ways I have come upon to fix that is to have less friends.

Wow, that sounds stuck up and ridiculous, melded into one goofy little sentence. But think about it just a bit more . . . how much time do we now waste trying to maintain relationships that may not hold much stock any longer? Because we are provided with tools that make this 'easy,' we march to our instant messaging programs, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else, relying on them to maintain what were once meaningful connections.

Let's face it - not ALL meaningful connections you create in your lifetime can last. A personal example of this - I am currently feeling very disconnected from my friends from Calgary. It has been over a year now since I moved home, and my contact with most of them has largely reduced to little chits on Facebook, or has all-together dissappeared. Whenever I realize this, it makes me very sad, but in contemplation, has pulled me back to a new year's resolution I made several years ago - to truly believe that friendships do not have to be life-long to be life-changing. I came to writing this after having spent an amazing week as a 4H camp counseler the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. In all honestly, I no longer talk to anyone that I met there, including the guy I ended up dating for awhile. While I could look upon this as sad, I realize that I'd rather look upon it as what it really was/is. It WAS one amazing week of my life that I truly will never forget (down to the water-squirt games in the field, setting up my cabin to Dave Mathew's 'Busted Stuff,' on the little silver boombox that no longer works, the maple-flavored sausage that could not possibly have been good for us in any way, and paddling a canoe out into the lake to provide a performance version of a camp song that included the canoe tipping and it's contents dragging itself back to the fire drenched). It IS a golden memory that I cherish, and a big part of that is the people - Kayla, Alex, Cooper, and others - that created it.

In writing this, it occured to me that one of my favorite teachers from Calgary, Joanne, used to regularly read my blog, when I was living up there. It flattered me at the time, and now it makes me sad that I do not interact with her on a regular basis. However, in considering the larger picture, a return home was inevitable, and along with that, a reduction or loss of regular contact with the relationships I established. Seeing it in this light can at first be discouraging, but ends up being a reminder of the beauty that life carries in it's flexibleness and unexpectedness. I could have as easily never gone to Calgary and met any of these people, and in realizing that, I MUCH prefer it the way I have it - I did meet them, I did have to leave them, but I will always have what it was while it was happening, and connection points to the universe that I would not have had before.

In it's flexibleness, life also does a version opposite of what I had just described. Sometimes, you drift away from close relationships in which you are unsure of what kind of connection you will maintain, only to discover a number of years later that your connection has weaved itself out of fishing line rather than grass. I always knew I would maintain a relationship with Sarah, but never could have expected how important she has become in my life. It is somewhat of a joy to be able to name on your ten fingers the people you really want to see regularly in your life, and she is one of those people. Along with her came Aaron - leaving high school, I never would have expected that he would be a pivitol person in my life, but he certainly is now, and that unexpectednes makes our relationship all that much more enjoyable.

In this same line of thought, as much as I want to maintain relationships I find important, I also have the relatively newfound desire to shed excess ones. That sounds terrible when one has the gumption to actually state it, but we all know it is true. In a world where we are expected to process more and do more, limits have to be drawn somewhere, or we will 'more' ourselves into an oblivion. There are all sorts of art pieces and commentary and movements out there who project this feeling - "We Are Not Gadgets" by Jaron Lanier, the Slow Food movement, the backlash against fast food. While these sorts of things may make this idea seem unattractively trendy to some, I find a lot of value in them. As someone whose natural tendency is to want to do as much with my time as possible, I am realizing that I may not be wrong about this desire, but rather, the way I go about it.

Tuesday was a very overwhelming day for me, my usual day to dedicate to artistic pursuit. Generally, this is my favorite day of the week, though it can often hold equal amounts of resentful feeling due to it's creation as a day to get 'everything' done. When 'everything' creates more things, my feeling of being in control of my time and life seems to get jettisoned out to the sea. I don't think my life needs to exist in that kind of delicate balance.

In my hopes to be moving toward my goals, I have been trying to do it in the fastest way possible rather than the most efficient. To me, 'fastest' entails dancing in as much as I can regardless of how much I really want to do any given project, and taking on as much as possible so I do not have any spare moments. In that way, I feel that I am doing my best to avoid failure because, how can I fail if I am doing everything possible?

My, I can certainly count the ways if I actually stop to think about it. Here is a way - I am doing a lot, but none of it to the best of my ability. I am doing a lot, but it keeps me in a constant state of flurry that keeps me from comfortably settling, even into my leisure time (which I already try to limit as much as possible). Know what ths necessitates? Maintaining many relationships in impersonal ways rather than having a couple handfuls of really meaningful relationships that I can dedicate the kind of attention I really wish to in order to experience them in the most fulfulling way possible. The age old dilemma of quantity v. quality. And the really difficult thing here? It is that no matter how hard and long you try to figure this dilemma out, it is an ongoing, life-long struggle. That may sound cynical, but I would rather think of it like this - such conflicting concepts keep us from becoming complacent, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable we are in our current or projected lifestyles.

So, in the midst of many question marks, forth comes a great many ponderances and dilemmas. While they may be frustrating, they seem to be catapulting me toward a continued better understanding of how I should/ how I want to function within the world. As the wise lady checking me out at the co-op said after she witnessed me run into an aquaintence from the freshman dorm and muse on how we both seem to be 'still' trying to figure our lives out, "Anyone who tells you they have everything figured out is lying to you." We spend our whole lives figuring, which more often than not seems like a difficulty, but really has its hidden beauties . . .

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amazing and Ridiculous - Two Words with Dual Meanings

That is what BellaVida was indeed. A music festival I attended in Gevena, MN last week, BellaVida is what hecklers would call a big ole’ hippy-fest, and supporters would call the best damn time they have all year. I found myself experiencing the weekend as a curious mixture of the two.

What was + Amazing/ Ridiculous was the music. I felt so at ease and blessed when I laid my blanket down under a huge shady tree between the two stages, positioned just so that each set could be heard with relative distinctness. Looking up at the gentle breeze swirl through the huge old trees while hearing a bad-ass saxophone wail away is certainly an out of the ordinary and welcomed combination. Additionally, I got to meet some pretty fun people and camp out under the sky, cooking my food as quickly as I could on camp stove to encourage my booze to calm down. Lastly, and seemingly one of the most important reasons it was + Amazing/ Ridiculous was the change of pace it provided. Though I still have not managed to nail down a decent routine after what seems like several months of toil, a change of pace is always welcomed by someone like me, whose gypsy-tendencies seem to scratch at their stomachs more often than they should.

What was - Amazing/ Ridiculous: I was amazed at how many people I assumed to be there for the music we so gone from using that they missed a lot of music. There were times when I would look around at the crowd for the headliner and wonder “Where is everybody?” They were back at camp, getting ripped. Now, I do not consider myself someone quick to sentence judgment, it does not take me long to decipher my own leaning toward something. I found myself leaning toward sadness that it seemed to take many people too many out-of-the-body elements to condition their vessel to respond in a way deemed to be exciting enough, big enough. The other – ridiculous that really caught me off guard at this one was how many people truly seemed to be trying to emulate an era that has passed. Don’t get me wrong – Ms. Jazz Dance Crusader is all in favor of preserving the best parts of history, however, allowing them to come back hollow and rot from inside out does not do anyone any favors. History’s elements come back best when they are made to be fused with the greatest of elements that have been seen since and are developing now. In short; Woodstock is over, kids.

So there it is. Amazing/amazing, Ridiculous/ridiculous, much like most things we encounter in this crazy world.