Thursday, October 23, 2008

Walking on

This is a longer post, but I hope it will be worth your while.

People change all the time. It’s the only thing I can think of that is constant in life. It’s certainly not something that’s new in my life. My life has been a constant stream of changes. I’ve moved more times than I care to count, changed jobs more in my short post-college career than some people do in their whole life, and flip-flopped between potential future plans like a fish out of water.

I’m getting ready to make yet another change in my life. I’m moving down to Salt Lake City in a few weeks. Going to the big city, the S-L-C. I’m actually very excited about this move. It presents new opportunities for social interaction, a new environment and area to explore and just new experiences in general. That’s always exciting for me.

I seem to thrive on change, even though I don’t want to. Sometimes I feel like I have something inside me that is compelling me to move on to a new place. I heard a song by Modest Mouse that really resonates with me. Sometimes I think that if my life were ever made into a movie, this is a song that could be a theme song for the movie. I wanted to just include the lyrics that I felt were particularly applicable but after reviewing the song, I’m just going to post the whole thing and I’ll just bold the parts I feel describe me.

"Ice-age heat wave, can't complain.
If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another plan.
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.
I move on to another day,
to a whole new town with a whole new way.
Went to the porch to have a thought.
Got to the door and again, I couldn't stop.
You don't know where and you don't know when.
But you still got your words and you got your friends.
Walk along to another day.
Work a little harder, work another way.

Well uh-uh baby I ain't got no plan.
We'll float on maybe would you understand?
Gonna float on maybe would you understand?
Well float on maybe would you understand?

The days get shorter and the nights get cold.
I like the autumn but this place is getting old.
I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast.
It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most.

The days get longer and the nights smell green.
I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave.

I like songs about drifters - books about the same.
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane.
Walked on off to another spot.
I still haven't gotten anywhere that I want.

Did I want love? Did I need to know?
Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights.
Adding their breeze to the summer nights.
Outside, water like air was great.
I didn't know what I had that day.
Walk a little farther to another plan.
You said that you did, but you didn't understand.

I know that starting over is not what life's about.
But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.

My thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud..."

I really like that song – it speaks to me. I always feel like I’m chasing something, but I’m never quite sure what it is. That makes it hard to ever catch it. If I did catch it, would I know what it was?

What set me off on this line of thinking? My move to Salt Lake did. Greener pastures…or so I think. I always see greener grass somewhere else and I head off in the direction of the green. Is it ever really greener? I don’t know. But I don’t see any reason to not check it out…you know, just to make sure.

I have thoughts of this type of thing (greener pastures) more than I admit to most people. I don't know how many times I've been watching Cops or World's Wildest Police Videos and thought, "yeah I want to do that, in fact that's what I'm going to do when I grow up."

I've finally found a job I enjoy and have been at it for over a year now. That is a personal record for me and the surprising thing is that I don't see myself wanting to leave anytime soon. After I finish my Master's degree then I will reevaluate my position and potential. But until that time, for the first time in my life, I am content with my job. I don't foresee any changes in this area for a while and amazingly enough, I'm perfectly okay with that.

And that makes me happy.

One final thought before I wrap up this blog. For as much change as I’ve gone through, I think I’m basically the same person I’ve always been. Moving to a new place, starting a new job, selling my car and getting a new (to me) car, making new friends…all these things are extraneous changes. They’ve had little effect on me, on who I am. If I'm staying the same, I wonder why I am constantly looking for change. What is it that makes me want something different? Am I unhappy or dissatisfied with an aspect of my life? Am I unhappy with myself? I don’t think that’s the case because if it is, I’m going about it the wrong way.

True change doesn’t originate on the outside, it starts on the inside. None of these changes I’ve been describing have come from inside. If I really wanted something to be different about myself I would have to make the change on the inside and that can happen anywhere, in any job, regardless of the kind of car I drive or who I have for friends.

Years ago, Harry Chapin sang a song called W*O*L*D about a disc jockey who left his wife, drifted around for years and finally tried to return to his wife and family. In the song he describes the jockey getting older and noticing the world changing around him. The jockey makes this profound observation on life:

“Sometimes I get this crazy dream
That I just take off in my car
But you can travel on ten thousand miles and still stay where you are…”

I’ve been around a bit and traveled on a good deal, but in some ways I feel as if I’ve never left.

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