Returning to a point in the past is a fool’s quest, to be sure. When I think longingly of my 20′s, I force myself to remember the whole picture: the poverty, the hangovers, the anger and frustration. My 20′s were about trying to have a bigger time than the night before, and I have very little to show for it but memories. Many good. But dim and growing dimmer.
But there also are opportunities to try again. Things I tried: music, Japanese, writing, sports. Things I didn’t have the confidence to to as well as I wanted to. Lack of time prevents some. Oddly, fear slows me still. The difference is now I know the fear and can own up to it.
Next right action. I’m not in charge.
Stripping the kitchen table
Exporting this blog
When I first start studying Japanese, I listened to podcasts like Tokyo Calling. It was fascinating to listen to people living overseas talk about their daily experiences. Scott Lockman, the host, has discontinued his podcast a few times, often to revive it for brief periods with differing formats. Because I like the guy, I kept my subscription to his podcast going all these years, but recently he announced he was letting the domain expire. It was kind of sad to hear.
I think it’s especially sad because my second great passion after playing bass, Japanese, languishing. I never have time to study. Work keeps me so busy that I come home stressed, with my chest tight. I spend time with my wife, do some more work, and go to bed. I like the job, but miss the hours I spent studying, making progress, and the feeling of those lightbulb moments when some grammar comes together.
I am lucky; I have had the opportunity to realize many of my dreams. This is one of those times in my life where I need more patience. To put my head down, like when I was practicing bass as a teen, or saving money for Japan by working 2 jobs.
I have fear during these times that the fun is over, that my life from here on is to be a slog. It’s never true, I am just dramatic.
It was a beautiful cool morning. I walked over to the Gold Coast, by all the beautiful homes and into a park where every bench was home to a sleeping man and his piles and piles of rags and newspapers. The moon was high in the sky, even at almost noon,trying to act as if it belonged there. The day appealed to me to forget about tomorrow. And to turn over my fear.
I am comfortable back studying with my old methods and my old book. I started a new job this week, so I fit it in where I could. I haven’t had a “9-5 in an office” job in, oh, about 10 years, so it is taking some adapting.
I went to the Chicago Air and Water Show, which is about 1/4 mile from my apartment. Some of the planes went so fast that there seemed to be visual distortion around the plane. It was loud and fun. Or as fun as it could be by myself. I stood between a father and son and a family of 5. The father and son were being bothered by the incessant and nonsensical blatherings of a semi-homeless man I have seen around the neighborhood. I recognized him because he tells everyone he is on sabbatical of his phd studies. He’s about 65 and has been on sabbatical for years. He kept leaving, only coming back to ask more questions and distract the father and son’s picture taking.
The family on my right featured a know-it-all father. He made sure to explain the specific maneuvers the planes were doing, but only in the most obvious terms: “Here they come again, this time inverted.” When about 20 skydivers jumped from a plane, he made sure to let his family know that they couldn’t be the Navy, because “they don’t jump like that.” It turned out to be the SEALs. It was pretty windy for a jump (I am not an expert, but have jumped static line twice), and I mentioned that, but he assured me they can control it. Later, he went on about needing to get recertified to jump to his family. All of the child were under 6 and thoroughly disinterested. It seemed to be for his wife’s benefit or mine.
I headed home and am gradually starting to feel the sunburn taking over my body like a ravenous pinkish predator.