Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Sequel

What happens after one’s epic story has unfolded? It’s the part of the play when the curtain falls, the part of the movie when the credits roll, the page of the book that reads with finality, “THE END.” And we all know that sequels to such epic narratives fall flat. The story was complete and beautiful as it was, so why try to add to it?

But when it’s your own life, you have to go on living that sequel. And every subsequent sequel after that. I know this sounds melodramatic and self-aggrandizing, but to me, moving to Boston and making a life here for myself felt epic. Two years ago, I packed up an SUV that I’d had to pay the “underage” fee to rent after quitting a full-time job in the worst economy since the Depression to get a Master’s degree in publishing – a field which some would say is dying or at least uncertain and which everyone would say you don’t need a Master’s in. The rational side of me knew all this and wondered whether I was making a big mistake.

But the idealist in me, the optimist that is never quite silenced despite all the events and thoughts that make me cynical, dared to dream. I imagined throwing caution and planning to the wind just for once. I saw myself walking the streets of Boston with surety, with confidence, with grace, and preferably while wearing a nice montage of stylish outfits. I saw myself getting a job that actually inspires me, earning a Master’s, and moving into a chic little studio. I hoped for all this fervently...and it has all happened, even down to getting my own studio – a perfect place for just starting out in the world.

So what’s next? Now that the personal legend I worked to fulfill over the past two years has been reached, what now do I pursue? I think a psychologically healthy person would just be happy and rejoice for a few moments in their triumph. But the truth is that I’m not happy unless I’m accomplishing something, preferably something that seems impossible. Yet, at the same time, I’m really exhausted. Sometimes I can barely muster up the energy to do much after work besides watch TV, much less to set out on another epic adventure.

How long until I need a new Boston?

When I was debating whether or not to move out here, the song “Boston” by Augustana was my constant soundtrack [with my personal changes in bold]:

She said I think I'll go to Boston
I think I'll start a new life,
I think I'll start it over, where no one knows my name,
I'll get out of California [Minnesota], I'm tired of the weather,
I think I'll get a lover and fly him out to Spain
[I think I’ll get a Master’s and visit Jamaica Plain]
Oh yeah and I think I'll go to Boston,
I think that I'm just tired
I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind
I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset,
I hear it's nice in the summer, some snow [ocean] would be nice

So what happens when people know her name in Boston? What happens when the sun that rose over Boston starts to set?

To clarify, I mean all of this metaphorically. I’m not planning on leaving Boston any time soon because I love my job and I fit in this town. But I need a new mountain to climb, a new challenge to tackle, a new story to enter into.

Maybe I should work to stop human trafficking or maybe I should run the Boston Marathon. Maybe I should write a book.

Or maybe I could find a way to be happy without being in pursuit of a goal. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more laidback. Actually, that’s the PG version of the resolution. The actual words I wrote in my journal were to “stop being such a bitch.” Now, mostly people laughed when I told them that because apparently I don’t come across as a bitch. And that’s better than the alternative, for sure. But I know my ambitious heart, and I know that I have within me the fire to stop at nothing to accomplish a goal. So apparently I thought the cure to this was to set a goal to be more spontaneous and more laidback. What stepping stones can I set for myself to try to enjoy life more and to take time to stop and smell the roses?

I don’t think I will come to any answers today. But I can at least tie the bow on a different item:

Operation: Defeat IKEA, Part 2
The thrilling conclusion to my epic battle against IKEA is that I hired movers and they disassembled and reassembled my bed. Like I said, thrilling. But they did say that this was the most complicated bed they’ve ever dealt with.

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