Monday, June 22, 2009

take my weight off the ground

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted something? I mean really wanted something, with every fiber of your being and every conviction that it was the absolute missing link to your continued success as a living organism? Yeah. Growing up means no longer trusting that instinct.

Growing up means having to wonder whether what you want is what's best for you.

At what age must we override our instincts? We start small. We suppose we don't really want to be a fireman when we grow up. We stop reaching for the fruit-roll ups just because they're there. Pretty soon, the teddy bear goes into the closet. The thumb comes out of the mouth. The blankie stays folded at the bottom of the bed. But then, fifteen, twenty years later, we find ourselves suddenly sublimating the (often oppressive) urge to consume the entire basket of focaccia bread at the restaurant. We work off our sins and our sexual tension in the gym. And we wonder what we will do with our lives when plan A inevitably fails.

The question is: Where is the balance between living in the moment and practicing prudence? When did our desires run aground of our well-being? I find myself torn. Between. What I want versus what I thought I always wanted versus what I may or may not need.

The result is indecision. As if it were a disease. I don't even know where I belong anymore. One minute I'm ready to heave myself from the moving vehicle that is New York, next I'm lying on a wooden park bench in a West Village church garden, reading Anna Karenina and loving it here. Or drinking Wild Turkey from a brown bag on the pier, watching New Jersey twinkle across the Hudson, getting my butt wet on the grass. I want so much to be young and stupid, but I also want rocking chairs and living rooms and trees. Trouble is, I don't trust my capacity to commit to either.

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