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#006; And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.

May 13, 2009
When do we reach adulthood? It might be much later than we traditionally think.

I am in a very strange period of my life. I’ve called it limbo, others have called it the quarter life crisis, the wasteland. Really, it’s just the mid-twenties. That malaise-filled era when you must ask yourself what you want (and actually mean the answer); when you must realize that decisions made on a whim will actually have a consequence (backpacking through Europe or going to grad school? One must pay the bills either way lately!). When did life become about getting up and going to work and living in a city you aren’t still all that wild about? When did juggling projects and family visits and dating and best friends all become so tiresome? It’s as if I walked through an invisible barrier, and on the other side is all of those things I can’t seem to get back to – no worries about saving money, taking trips on a whim to anywhere I might want, taking classes just for the hell of it, enjoying my work and debate and happy hours.

On this side of the barrier? Debate: confusing and often upsetting particularly if someone is just ‘trying to be the devil’s advocate’ – don’t, you know? Nine times of ten both people arguing are all ready set in their ways, so why aggravate each other like that? Partying all night? YEAH RIGHT. Being hungover is only an acceptable reason to call in sick when you’re on nostalgic for the days of being verge of first-frat-party-as-a-freshman-almost-poisoned-by-the-jungle-juice sort of sick. The desire to pick up and leave becomes a project, which becomes impossible, which becomes discouraging.

And of course, there’s the mere feeling that the impossible is finally, truly, exactly that. Impossible. Some things just can’t be done. I’m so new to this feeling, to being confused in my beliefs and my station in life. I’ve always been so driven and sure. I find myself questioning more than I ever have (which I suppose is why I consider this limbo? There is no black and white anymore, only shades of gray).

These questions take every form except for two (those would be religion and being pro-choice, both of which are notions so solidly implanted into my being that I doubt anything could shake them, even each other):

Politics – is there really such a thing as progressive Republican? What is it about the Democrats that I find so hard to join? Are the Libertarians really as insane as so many of them seem?
Old ties – is it really necessary to friend every single person who requests on Facebook? How about how often to visit the town you grew up in even if your parents have retired somewhere else but your nephews/cousins/the little-siblings of people-you-once-knew really want you to visit more often?
Food – why am I too damned lazy to cook and what am I missing?
Learning – why am I obviously so hesitant about grad school, am I too late to try anyway? What if I get in, spend thousands, and hate it? What if none of it works out at all and I’ve put all this effort and all of these hopes into it?
Hopelessness – Why can’t I just catch a break and finally do some real saving, some real soul searching, and some real life-loving all at once?
Hobbies – when does something you do for pleasure just become a waste of time? Do they ever?

I don’t know that the answers to these things ever solidly form themselves to our consciousness. I don’t know that I’ll ever be someone who can be satisfied or if this is just the mal-contented ramblings of a twenty-something. I do know, however, that Rilke said: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.” All I can do, I suppose, is to continue trying to do just that.

…In less depressing/existential news: I rediscovered KT Tunstall today and am very glad for it. *rocks out*

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:39 PM

    scalderwood said…

    I feel the same way. I would add one: Being on the path to achieving your lifelong dream less than a year ago, and yet now that path and dream seem no longer possible. Or wondering how you ended up where you did when less than 3 years ago, your path was crystal clear.

    I don’t know if there is such a thing as a progressive Republican. And yes libertarians are insane, as a former libertarian I can say that with a degree of credibility. Are you a Republican because of economic policies? (You don’t have to answer if you don’t want. 🙂 )

    No, you neither do not have to nor should you friend everyone who makes a request on facebook or any social networking site.

    Re: Cooking – I *LOVE* cooking, but I find cooking just for me to be not worth the time. If I’m not feeding anyone else, then I’d rather spend my time reading/coding/researching/etc. than cooking. But cooking is amazing. It helps when you have someone to cook for.

    You are never too late to try, which also means you don’t have to do it now.

    And I hear ya about the need for a solid victory right now.

  2. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:40 PM

    resident of limbo said…

    Oooh… and you’ve given me my next post, thank you, sir!

    I really don’t know what I would do if I had a goal that simply didn’t come to fruition, which I suppose is one of the bright spots about just not having any goals?

  3. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:40 PM

    Mike H said…

    Historically, being progressive came from the Republican party (Teddy Roosevelt). But, the term means different things to different people. Progressive used to mean the change things from within the system. Now, it’s more about being liberal w/o using the term liberal. So, if you want to change things (everyone wants change, Obama overused a meaningless word) from inside the system, that’s a progressive republican. If you want a pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-tax Republican, no, it doesn’t exist.

  4. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:41 PM

    resident of limbo said…

    I suppose I should have been more specific in my curiosity about Republicans. I’m anti-tax, anti-big government, and pro-military, but I’m also socially “progressive” (as in, pro-choice and pro-equal rights, or as you put it, “pro-gay”).

    This is my real curiosity – can one be socially liberal and still welcome in the GOP?

  5. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:43 PM

    KatieFavazza said…

    Hey, I wanted to thank you for posting a comment on my blog. I have ready a couple of your posts and this is probably my favorite. I’m in much the same boat, and knowing that, I’m even more interested in following your blog. Thanks again and I hope we’ll get to “chat” more soon, via comments or otherwise.
    –Catherine Favazza
    http://www.catherinefavazza.com

  6. atlimbo permalink
    May 13, 2009 4:43 PM

    resident of limbo said…

    Hi Catherine! Thanks for stopping in, I’ve love discovering your blog lately!

  7. August 12, 2009 1:38 AM

    You’re way too young to start thinking things are impossible. Yes, you could be President some day (if you really wanted to put up with all that bs).
    My girls have learned from a very early age that the answer to “What can you do?” is “Anything!”

    And as you show, some things are black and white. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. Do the right thing, and you’ll never need to be ashamed.

    Like you, I’m very disturbed by the way the two parties define themselves, in practical terms. Jay Leno said (20 years ago?), “Every time I start thinking I’m a Democrat, they do something stupid; every time I start thinking I’m a Republican, they do something greedy.” These days, neither has a monopoly on greedy or stupid. So, I’m a swing voter who tends toward the Republicans, but I often hold my nose when I vote.

    My folks retired to another state; so I’ve been back to my home town 3 times in the last 10 years. It’s sad. But I make a point of having a good time visiting the folks: my brother and several friends from various stages of life are all nearby.

    Enjoy your youth while you’ve got it. Do right, and trust that everything happens for a reason. You’ve got lots of great stuff ahead of you.

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