Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bodies, Rest & Motion

Estimated time of arrival 9:30 a.m.
Been up before the sun and now I'm tired before I even begin.
(Now you're flying)
I got so much work in front of me,
(Really flying)
It stretches out far as the eye can see.
I can see.

Spend half my life in airports doing crosswords and attempting to sleep,
And when the bar is open then you'll often find me warming a seat.
(Now you're flying)
I never find a place where I can stay
(Really flying)
I'd rather be a thousand miles away.
A thousand miles away.

I’m back from my trip. Thanks to all you darling people for the comments and emails while I was out of commission. I was able to occasionally take quick peeks at them while I was away, but not much more than that. I’ve got me some catching up to do.

So, yesterday I spent most of my day driving back to where I currently live. Driving away from people from my past.

I do a lot of that.

I moved to the city I’m in now about five-and-a-half years ago. That’s a record for me—it’s the longest I’ve lived in any one locale since I was 18. But even so, I've moved house three times. And even now, I think about moving away from this place entirely at least once a day.

When some people want a change after a few years, they get a new haircut. Me, I move.

There are benefits to having a strong tendency toward wanderlust. You see things others never even knew existed. You learn new ways of seeing, speaking, tasting. Your personal lexicon continues to grow. You gather good stories. You meet people who make your life more than it once was. You grow more open, more sensitive to the world around you, and to its needs.

And you get to start over, again and again.

I’m the queen of beginnings. I love the start of everything. Opening a hardcover book and smelling that new book smell. Hearing the opening strains to your favorite song as it comes on the radio at just the right time. The first swell of the orchestra as it hits you at the in a theater. The feel of getting into a bed made with fresh, crisp, new sheets. Staring at a beautiful, mouth-watering dish that’s been placed in front of you, placing that fork into it for that first cut, raising it to your mouth, waiting for how good it’s going to taste. A new notebook, full of clean, blank pages to fill. The first rush of attraction to someone. The first time he touches you in a way that’s more than just a touch. The first time he moves toward you and you know that, after all the imagining, in only miliseconds you’re going to know exactly what his mouth feels like against yours.

And of course, I love moving. There’s something so amazing about packing up everything you want to keep, getting rid of all the crap you don’t need, and moving toward something new, light and hopeful, with new things to look forward to.

My family have never been big movers. When my parents chose to move an hour and 15 minutes away from the city of their (and my) birth, the rest of my extended family responded to the news like they’d announced they were moving to Siberia. Needless to say, my own mobility around the country and the globe is not genetically programmed. And most of my friends, though many were travelers at one point, have now decided to settle down and have families, and stay in one place. I don’t see this as a bad choice at all. Just not a choice I’ve been able to make myself so far.

Why do I keep moving? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just into change, and as I’ve always told others, “I have a high stagnation rate.” I get bored quickly. I want new things, new sensations.

Or maybe I keep looking for the perfect place where I “fit.” I’ve not really found that place yet. I’ve found places where I fit with the people, but not the surroundings or my job. Places where I fit with my job and my surroundings but hate the people. Places where I fit in the spring and summer, but not in the fall and winter.

When I’m in a small town, I want a big city. When I’m in a big city, I want a small university town. When I’m in America for too long, I miss the rush of living in a new country and learning the culture. When I’m in a new country, I eventually feel I need to go home to be not so far away from other friends and family.

So I keep moving, and leaving places and people behind. I wonder if my friends who have chosen the long, long middle instead of the many beginnings are happier or feel more settled than I do. I wonder if I’d just decided to bite the bullet and stay still in a place that wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t horrible, if I’d be more or less happy than I am now. I honestly can’t say. The people I know who have stayed in place don’t seem unhappy, necessarily. They certainly have more sense of permanence and security, at least in terms of accruing property and possessions, than I do. But most don’t seem to be decidedly happier than I am, either.

The irony is, of course, this: You might travel to find that place you “fit.” And yet, as you’re doing that, you’re continually leaving all that is familiar to you. And while you’re away, those familiar places and those people change, too, even though they’re staying in place. So when you get back, nothing is exactly the way you left it, or exactly the person you remember. Which means you don’t quite “fit” there or with them anymore, either.

But still, even when you know this; even when it’s become perfectly clear to you that you’re exponentially increasing the list of people and places you will love and miss; and that when you go back to visit those people and places, you’ll end up missing the memory of them that you thought you were missing…even then, you will still yearn for the new beginning. Something new, something that won’t stagnate.

So you keep moving.

And sometimes you’re sure your life will be richer for it.

And sometimes you think maybe you’re just not built to fit anywhere, and that’s your fate.

(Now you're flying)
I'm told I'm going places - who can say ?
(Really flying)
I might arrive but I'll be gone the very next day.
I must be on my way.
A thousand miles away.

Promised to myself someday I'd take the time and try to make sense
Out of all those opportunities I've lost from trying to sit on the fence
(Now you're flying)
But right now I've got no time for yesterday
(Really flying)
Yesterday's a thousand miles away.
A thousand miles away.

(Photo credit: trainspotting by addie_reiss)


Blogger Cherrie said...

New beginnings are a good way to stay young. And there's nothing wrong with moving constantly and experiencing more of what the world has to offer.

When my man and I first started seeing each other, he said one reason he loved being with me was that he would never be bored. That may apply to you, too.

4/19/2006 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Tory said...

first off, next time i am moving i am calling you to pack all my shit up. I thoroughly hate moving. it seems like a giant waste of time to take everything down and then set it back up.
But i do know what you are saying about the whole new expereinces with each place. After i graduated high school i got a job 900 miles away from everything i knew. friends and family thought i was crazy but i felt i had outgrown that place. plus i wanted a fresh start without everybody knowing all the stupid stuff i had done. Everything was great for a couple months but i soon found myself doing the same ol stupid stuff i was doing at home.
It help me learn that no matter where i go, i am going to be me. I had to learn to change me and not everything around me. if you catch a wild zebra and put him in a zoo. The zebra is still going to act like zebra.

4/20/2006 2:42 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Cherrie and Tory: You're both right. New beginnings keep you fresh...and you're also always who you are, no matter where you go. It's interesting being old and new at the same time, all the time.

And Tory, I'd help you pack any day, darlin', if the incentive is right.

4/21/2006 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Tory said...

I am sure we can come to some sort of arrangement. I have a feeling I am going to have to raise the ante of a few cold ones. It is hard to find good help these days.

4/21/2006 10:44 PM  
Blogger Romancing Simplicity said...

This post took me by surprise the first time that I read it and I've re-read it a few times since.

Those words could have come from my own mouth. Er, my own keyboard.

As time passes, I am getting better at staying in one place and with one man and in one group of people and working for one company, etc. In other words, I settle down as I get older. But every now and then, I'll look around at my life and the desire to start anew will seize me unexpectedly. The first time that I moved to France, it really surprised me when a few months later I was ready to move again.

This is a marvelous entry and once again, I thank you for writing something that speaks to me so directly.

4/23/2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Romancing Simplicity: It is so odd the way you find common ground on blogs you don't find in your everyday life. Maybe if people just communicated more openly in person...but they don't seem to be able to.

Or maybe people end up seeking out the blogs that "match" them, looking for some connection in the world they don't have elsewhere. Who knows?

In any case, thanks for your kind words. You're sweet as cotton candy.

4/24/2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Tory: Don't call me Auntie. I'm not that old!

4/24/2006 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Tory said...

Syl, what do you wanna bet?

4/25/2006 2:09 AM  

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