Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Serenity... later?

So, I just tried this Guatemala roast coffee from Starbucks, and man, is it awesome! My morning just got a little better. I was having a pretty lousy morning, actually, and considered not even making coffee, but now I'm glad I did. True story. I'm going to stop, though, before I start sounding like those stupid McDonald's commercials that are like "Susan didn't know she had feet until she tried our coffee... now she walks everywhere!" Whoever came up with that ad campaign deserves a unique and painful experience. Maybe not death, but at least a painful experience of some sort.

Maybe I should go into advertising. I could sell things to college students with an ad like: "We're not going to tell you that something deep inside you needs this product, in fact, you probably don't need it at all, but if you're going to buy it anyway, buy it from us, because it's cheap!" I would buy from people like that. When you're in college (or just out of), every cent saved is one cent closer to a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. Mmmmm.

So today will be the 11th day in a row that I have worked at my retail job. Sunday is my first day off in a long time. I'm like 98% sure I'm going to quit; the 2% is waiting to confirm with the school that I'll have a job with them through the end of the summer. I'll be able to save some money that way, and either put a down payment on an apartment closer to my dream job that I'm certain to get by August, or spend the money on a plane ticket overseas, to meet a very nice, patient, and unassuming family who wants me to live with them, spend their money, and occasionally babysit while I learn about their culture.

In all seriousness, though, I have been looking for Au Pair jobs. I think it could be cool to go overseas for a year as an Au Pair, and learn about other cultures and ways of life (maybe another language while I help them with English??). But then, it could be a complete disaster, and you pretty much have to take that risk. I'm trying to be realistic while not castrating my dreams and it is a tough balance. Some of the things I want are so outrageously impractical, but if I only live a "practical" life I am miserable too. I wonder where I'm supposed to fit in this world?

But as cyncial as I may be, I can't deny that this is an amazing place, full of mystery and challenge and romance and beauty. That's why I would like to experience more of it. I'm a little afraid... afraid of spending my entire life stuck in some city, sitting among my piles of junk, wishing I had the courage it would take to sell my stuff and get out, and go anywhere. I don't even go downtown Chattanooga by myself. No wonder I feel I have nothing worth writing about!

I suppose I am a Romantic through and through, despite my best efforts to be sensible. But there's a place for us as well, I think it just takes a little longer for us to find our fit because this culture seems to be run by practical, career-driven people. But last month I met this awesome hippie lady who makes incredibly beautiful jewelry and sells it at fairs, and from a little store in her basement, to raise money for an orphanage in Guatemala. I bought some of her earrings and told her I'd pray for the orphanage whenever I wear them, and so far I have remembered to. We talked for a long time, and she was very encouraging, saying that when she was about my age, in the 70's, she lived in her car and sold jewelry so she'd have something to eat.

At first I felt inspired to go out and buy and old VW van and turn it into an art studio, like I've always wanted, and then I realized that it was her contentment that attracted me so much, not just her Bohemian lifestyle. Eventually she found herself. She said she never fit the mold of a career lady and could never hold down a "traditional" job, but that she was happy, through and through, and had found a life of serenity and contentment. She spends months raising money for the orphanage, then goes down and helps out for a few months, then comes back to America and raises more money, etc. Her creations clearly show that she spends a lot of time on them, pays attention to detail, and desires to make something lasting. The best part is, her life work is not really the beads and clasps and wires she works with, but the children whose lives are changed because she cares enough give what she can for them.

I think what I most want is to be a writer who creates something influential and lasting. I don't care so much about personal immortality, but I do care that what I create is something of value, something that reflects the beauty and mystery and hope in this world. I hope that, 30 years from now (and sooner, if possible!), I will be able to say that I have found a life of serenity and contentment, and rest in the knowledge that I have created something beautiful to leave behind. That's something the people who make ads for McDonald's can't say for themselves, however monetarily rich they must be by now.

I think that achieving the kind of life that I hope for will require a decent amount of risk, which I have never been good at. Maybe going overseas will be a first step...?

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