within the last 2 weeks, i’ve been asked a question which really just reads like a laundry list of to do items by several people, almost word-for-word.
that question is this:
“you’re going to school, working full time, playing in two bands, and raising a kid…?”
you’ll note the ellipsis which sort of trails off into a question mark.
idle hands being the devil’s plaything and so on, my idle mind thinks of picnics and Margaret Atwood poems, so i think the safest thing to do right now is fill my head with things to learn and do and be.
stuff sort of creeps up on you, and tonight while driving around re-familiarizing myself with campus (or driving around looking for the building containing one of my classes and passing it once before finding it, whatever. don’t judge me.) i realized that this is supposed to be the future, right? do i take notes in a notebook anymore? ah, fuck, i need a notebook. or do i? a set of pencils? fuckfuckfuck.
my kid’s got all the school supplies she needs, but am i just going to roll up there with an ipad and clickety-clack some notes? do i take a notebook and pen just in case? it’s pretty clear that i am In No Way Ready For What Is About To Occur.
i went to illinois today to audition for one of my favorite bands. they just put out a new record. it is excellent, and i’ll be playing drums for them for a few shows toward the end of the year and into the next.
i should have spent more time this weekend relaxing. or any, really. shit.
Are you ready to change?
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass
All your life long
i start school on tuesday.
i still have only the vaguest idea of what the hell i’m getting myself into. i decided that it feels a lot like a scene in Evil Dead 2 where some unseen thing moves through a darkened, foggy forest toward a run down cabin.
sadly, that’s not on youtube any place i could find it, though admittedly i didn’t look too hard.
i am apparently a finalist for a scholarship they give to people who haven’t been in school for 5 years or more, so that’s good. it seems to me that the price of college has gotten exponentially higher than it was when i started, but a lot of things were different then.
every once in a while, a visual metaphor for living inserts itself into my consciousness. today’s was a mechanical pile driver, forcing some otherwise strong metal beam deep into the earth. clank-clank-clank-clank-clank-clank-clank and so on.
i used to think that life was occasionally like running across an ever-eroding, ever-narrowing precipice of earth and stone, giving way under each footstep until the only thing left to do was fall into the dark. it’s possible that this is also the case.
i was last a student just over eleven years ago. after my father passed away, my life spooled up into marriage, parenthood, homeownership, corporate employment, and myriad other responsibilities that were at odds with whatever scheduling would be required to pull off the completion of my degree. my daughter is nine, my marriage is over, and my career has left me feeling empty and stagnant.
today i enrolled in some classes with an eye on finishing my degree, finally. i never considered it a prerequisite to a career. the career i’d chosen for myself didn’t really need any schooling, luckily or unluckily. a Philosophy degree was, in a sense, a luxury i didn’t particularly need to survive. how quintessentially white of me. billions around the world would wish for the means to have a college education, and here i was considering it ‘unimportant’.
for a long time, i’ve felt that web development – the thing i’ve been doing for 15 years or so – was deeply unsatisfying, on a visceral level. the ephemeral nature of the thing only presents itself after a long time. long enough to watch the cycles repeat. there is no permanence in programming. nothing lasts. if you’re lucky, something you build with 200 hours of your life might stick around for 2-3 years. if not, somebody else will replace it without even telling you it’s going to happen. there is nothing like civil engineering, carpentry, craftsmanship, or governance that allows the person who programs for a living to create something that will last.
this is ok. at least i have music to try to put something into the world that will enrich somebody somewhere. i know it enriches me.
i can’t be a programmer my whole life. i’ve never had the peculiar intellectual bent that gave me the desire to create sites or applications with my free time. i envy that in others, but have never been able to find it for myself.
i have decided that of all possible professions, i should be a teacher. this makes sense to me. i was raised by a teacher and a computer guy. i’ve been a computer guy. i don’t want to be that anymore.
i believe that life can be what you want it to be. that ultimately with enough desire, with enough effort, and with enough compromise, that all things are possible. this is at odds with the feeling of being driven into the ground, or of falling from such great heights. i know that. it is this hope at odds with the belief that everything falls eventually that makes me carry on.