Yearning for the Abstract
Now, I don’t know if there’s something in the water, but I’ve noticed that there’s been a recent trend in the travel community that seems to be prompting people to talk about the concept of “Home”. Legal Nomads wrote about the somewhat surreal feeling of being homesick when you haven’t had a home in years. Similar to my own post about why I’m settling, Nomadic Matt wrote about how and why his travel lifestyle is coming to an end. Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic has been struggling with the existential complications of moving home after years on the road.
What about me? Well, I’ve been dealing with my own version of travel/home-related angst.
A little over a month ago, it looked like Marc was going to get a job out in rural Winchester, VA (near the West Virginia border). Without going into too much detail, it would have resulted in us being able to afford to rent a house with money to spare, made it easier for me to make the jump to being a full time photographer, and would have improved our quality of life in general. I like where we live in Alexandria, across the river from Washington DC, but it just isn’t…me. Marc and I have talked before about eventually moving somewhere cheaper, more rural, less steeped in stupid city bureaucracy, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I got really revved up over the idea of finally getting to make some of the changes in my life that I had been waiting for.
Well, there have been complications with that job and it’s looking less and less likely that he will be able to take it. He’s pursuing two strong leads for other jobs in his field, one with a government agency and one with another contractor like the one he already works with, as he is getting really fed up with the antics at his current employer. It’s great that he has so many opportunities, but I am finding it hard to be happy for him, because all of his current prospects necessitate us staying exactly where we are, keeping the status quo.
There are two things pulling at me these days: fear and yearning.
I say fear because I am really worried that Marc is falling into the trap of just going with the flow and that our existence five years from now will look largely the same to what it does now. I don’t want that. Right now we’re kind of floating down the river of life but aren’t particularly engaged, and I really hate that. I certainly don’t want more of it.
I say yearning because I feel like I am yearning for a life that I can’t even really define. I’m yearning for something of an abstract melange of life traits that is more like a movie montage than anything else. The difficulty here is that while I felt I was on my way toward that life, now that we’re not moving, I feel lost.
So, I’m reevaluating. I’m taking stock of my life and what I do and don’t like about it. The next step is to figure out what I can do to get rid of the bad and increase the good.
I’ve had a few thoughts about what I could do, but they’re all pretty clearly based in a desire to have a life that is “not this one” without really having a plan on how to turn them into the life I want. I’ve thought about going back to Korea for a year, or over to China or Vietnam or even Argentina. I’ve thought about saving up the money to buy an old towable trailer to refurbish and live in while driving around the country, doing photography projects. I’ve thought about going back home to live with my parents and work and save up money for who knows what. The issue with all of these plans is that while they’re all tempting, not of one them really get me closer to what I want my life to look like (except, possibly, the trailer plan). The only thing they have in common is that they’re not the life I’m currently leading.
The additional complication is that I don’t know where Marc fits into all of this. I have a bad habit of postponing or even shelving my own plans and desires in favor of those of my romantic partner. It’s a really bad habit and I worry that I’m doing the same thing once again. How do you reconcile your own plans and desires with those of your partner when they’re rather radically different? It’s just not something I really ever learned as a child because my parents were always on the same page, on the same path. So, I don’t know how most people do it. On one hand, I don’t think that I should have to shelve my own wants and needs, but on the other, I don’t want to be a jerk who says “my way or the highway”. Frankly, I’m stumped.
This is one of those side effects of living a less than ordinary life that nobody ever talks about, I suspect.