Almost feels more meaningful after opening up my vision to new parts of the world. That sounds horribly clique, but as I've said, I think cliques exist for a reason, I suppose.
I'd really like to get back to my notebook habit (choice language - "really like to," not "need to"), though dumping thoughts here seemed to be a good lead-in for my hope to get a post written about my/ our experiences in Japan.
Having been away from my computer for a bit, my typing seems to have gotten rusty. Along with my ability to pull up the words I'd like to use. A bit scary, actually. Been a little worried it's not just culture shock/ being away, but something wrong health-wise . . . it just helps to write that rather than just think it.
As I try to settle in back home here, some ideas came up during my morning walk, despite my attempts to gently push them away in favor of meditative time. For starters, I want to put in writing that I love the way my neighborhood always seems to smell like hash browns in the morning. It's easier to smell in the Spring, Summer and Fall, but I feel confident it smells so in Winter too. I think it felt particularly pleasant to notice this morning because it's been weeks since I've been out for a morning walk here, and the last morning we were in Japan, while using the outdoor public bath at the hotel, I noticed hash brown smell in the air and it made my heart sing. I had actually commented a couple days before that I missed hash browns. An interestingly specific thing, as I actually don't eat them all that often. At first, I thought the comment was in proxy for all potatoes in general (!), but I'm realizing now it's not. I generally save hash browns for special occasions and going out to breakfast or brunch. They feel special in that way. Yet, they also feel like a signifier of comfort and knowing of place.
Another thought along my walk: "What else would I be doing?" I zeroed in to a time (maybe last Fall, was it?) where I maintained a "Well, what else would I be doing?" attitude as a way to say yes to the moment more often. I has continued to pop into my head, I think it hopes that I'll try it out again. It often applies to simple things like going to the Y with Kris. I get in my head sometimes that I need to be home more, and I think at times in the year that's true, benefitting more from fucking around on the internet than joining Kris at the Y at the end of the night. Right now (besides being gone in Japan!), I've got plenty of home time. With this particular example, I think it calls to question how I'd like to see my weeknights generally end, and perhaps I haven't given that as good a thought as I have given my mornings. I think I'd prefer the Y time regularly to the TV time after: perhaps I negotiate on that more . . . not even gonna be a question for another week . . . where did June go? Life in chunks.
Tangent. Back to topic: "What else would I be doing?" I actually think this passages right into where I think I was headed next: Life in Chunks. One of my first thoughts this morning was "Oh god, where did June go?" In a way, this is just something I think we think, like passing thoughts about the weather. In another way, I think this is a reflection of my tendency to think of life in chunks, or to apply expectations to the way something is "supposed to be," becoming surprised when it's not.
I don't think I'm alone in my desire for an idealized 'Minnesota Summer.' In March and April, I always start picturing myself grilling and beaching and hanging out in the sun, even though I never end up doing any of those things as much as I think I'd like to. I then set myself up for a disappointment of sorts when this doesn't come to fruition. I then write about this exact topic every damn summer at about this time.
Part of me thinks that if I'd really want to change something, I would (a-la Kris). Another part of me thinks that habits are powerful, and it's easy to let something go unchanged even if you really desire one.
I did a lot of fore-thought this summer to paring down my expectations to set myself up for delight. Now can I remember exactly what those things were? A bonfire or kite fly or beach per week. Seems doable. Then this: A June that has consisted of a week of a guest artist and two weeks of being out of the country. Writing that in this context makes me want to get my little violin out and play it for myself. But then I step back: didn't these experiences actually INCLUDE aspects of my idealized summer? We did lots of MN summery things when Rohan was here (walk around Bde Maka Ska, Hiawatha Falls), and went to the beach in Japan. The end cap to my June is working four Saints games in a row and then hauling ass up to Battle Lake for an RS collaboration with DanceBARN. In one way, I could see this month as not having fulfilled my expectations. And really, it didn't. My expectations didn't match my reality. I KNEW this month was going to be like this, yet couldn't reorder my brain to get on board and set new expectations. Rather than being disappointed that unrealistic expectations were not fulfilled, I need to either 1) set up my reality 'better' next time, or 2) appreciate what DID happen. I brought in a guest artist from New York. I went to fucking JAPAN. I get to go Up North, stay in a cabin for free, AND GET PAID to hang and dance and teach. How is this not an utterly amazing month?!
More lessons in expectation management. An ongoing area of learning for me.
I will now proceed to make myself feel a little closer to an intention by making a list of ideas of things I'll cover in my travel post about Japan that will certainly be non-revelatory for those who read travel blogs and that's fine, because it's for me, dammit :):
- Quietness in public spaces
- Having to self-regulate use of the internet when searching for answers while in new situations (i.e. choosing to leave some things to mystery)
- Pickles at every meal!
- Conservatism of clothing and traditionalism in gender roles (bumping up against the relatively public nakedness of public baths!)
- Examining my own tendencies in reductionism (a thing I think is pretty human, actually) in realizing that I had a limited picture of what Japan could/ would be, and it turns out it's an entire country with all sorts of different geographies, cultures and traditions across it
- Routine v. Shake-up, an ongoing inquiry
I'm sure there is more, but this is where my head seems to be pausing and I'm gonna go with it, because it's also time to jump back into everything else. BRAIN DUMP.