Friday, November 26, 2010

moderation itself can be a kind of extreme

being alone, it can be quite romantic
like Jacques Cousteau underneath the Atlantic
a fantastic voyage to parts unknown
going to depths where the sun's never shone
and I fascinate myself when I'm alone

This year I have to spend many, many more hours alone, or in the company of strangers, than I will ever have to again. I must spend hours away from sincere conversation and plunged into the fast-paced busyness that keeps us all forgetting what it is like to sit and think. It will be several months before I will be able to break free from this measured and constant existence, so I have decided that I must make something from it.

I haven't had this many hours in the pleasure of my own company at any point in my life. I have always been surrounded by family, then friends, then partners - mixed into the cacophony of other people's thoughts. Due to this, among other reasons, I never developed a deep sense of my own thoughts. I instead became an excellent listener, thinker, re-arranger of other people's problems so that they may be able to see them anew. I became so good at this, and felt so satisfied in being helpful to others, that I rarely spent time in the depths of my own mind.

This year is different. Although I could have probably gone my whole life in this previous state if given the right situations, the circumstances of this year make this impossible. So, I am going to make like Andrew Bird and learn to fascinate myself. I must first remind myself that this is a useful endeavor, and not get caught in the pull of meaningless socializing. I want my relationships always to be sincere, and must truly fight against getting caught in the tides of insubstantial gatherings.

There is so little sanctity for time spent alone in the comfort of one's own thoughts. It is like people are afraid of what they'll find. Any time alone is spent flooding the senses with input from phones or tvs or computers. No great philosophy has ever been written in the state. Only when I respect this act of being alone can I then learn to use it for growth. I can let myself indulge in the sensory history that is revealed in novels, I can learn to stand over a flame in the kitchen and use it to magically transform food, I can just gaze at the blazing afternoon late fall sunlight that pierces through the water glass on my counter, setting it aglow in warmth and life. Quite romantic, indeed.

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