conflicted

I have conflicting desires in my heart of hearts. One part of me wants to live in the middle of Manhattan, seeing plays at night and working some bullshit writing job during the day, hustling from my tiny apartment to the coffee shop to the subway in a fit of type-A focus and aggression. The other part of me wants to go off the grid* and live in a yurt out in the middle of nowhere, growing beets and honey bees and meditating in my zen garden. Which begs the question: What the fuck is wrong with me?

Are you conflicted like this? Do you have desires that are at cross purposes? Am I trying to satisfy both urges by living in the city but on a one acre lot, growing a little garden and patronizing Houston’s indie theatre once a month? It would seem that the half-assed commitment to each lifestyle isn’t a long-term solution. So what is?

No clue. As I struggle with the (fucking cliche) mid-life crisis, what happens next? Pick one option and go for it? I’m not moving to NYC. I have no interest in being totally broke in an expensive town. Plus, my books wouldn’t fit into whatever tiny place we’d rent there. But the beet farm…I’m not sure I’m ready for that either. I’m definitely ready for sitting in a shack and writing my manifesto. That’s been brewing for some time. But I’m not ready to move into a yurt, which also wouldn’t have room for all of my books.

I guess for now I’ll keep tending my tiny little garden in my big back yard in the fourth largest (and first hottest) city in the US. Just until I get pulled more one direction or the other. For now, this tug of war is at a standstill because both sides are pulling with equal force. Which means? No momentum either direction.

*I would have to have internet access whatever I did, so I don’t think I could escape the grid completely. But I could run on solar power and be at least partly off the grid. Right?

{side note: Just reading over this begs another question – is this some bullshit hipster ennui? Am I mere steps away from being the type of person who drives me crazy? Jesus.}

7 Replies to “conflicted”

  1. now I see – we are in sync because we are at some of the same places in our lives. I was just daydreaming about living on a remote island the other day. I have no idea where to go next but I have to do something.

  2. What you need to do is not answer your phone or say yes (except when I call or ask you to do something). Seriously – you need a break. And I guess I do, too. And you're right – we are in sync. Once we've reached the point of simultaneous Brittny quotes, I just don't know what else to say. Except: do you have an interest in farming?

  3. Totally relieved that I am not the only one who feels this way. One day you are happy with where you are or not, then daydream like Mr. Dennis and wonder, "is this it?" or "what could I do next?". Perhaphs I am way off, but really happy and enjoy reading your blog. What ever you choose to do, please keep on writing.

  4. Dittos on the feelings. I think both sides of the urge [big(ger) city vs. yurt] are longings for a life on a more "meaningful" scale. Big City is a call for more meaningful career – success in a big celebrity way. Yurt is a call for more meaningful connection to environment – to God as it were. Fuck that. NYC and/or LA or Paris don't have the corner on ART or success. Yurts are overrated. I'm happy where I am and with what I'm doing. I let those desires for success help inform and evaluate where I am and give me guidance to where I want to be. (Well, on a good day I do.) Last night I sat on my back porch and sanded a porch swing for a couple of hours. I'm not going to be some amazing carpenter someday, but I enjoyed it. If you want to swing by and do some sanding on it too, I won't mind.

  5. Oh – and by the way, you owe me $5 for the psychiatric evaluation.

  6. Todd – Thanks for writing. Based upon the few comments here and the many comments on the link to this blog post on facebook, it would seem that many (most?) of my peers are suffering from the same conflicted desires. Working in the yard has been my version of sanding the porch swing. You're totally right that it stems from a need to have a more meaningful life. Losing my brother was certainly a wake up call for me to get my shit together and take a hard look at what I spend my time doing. I realized that sitting at a desk under fluorescent lighting wasn't my ideal. It's just figuring out the next step that is hard.That's why conversations like this are useful.

  7. I always thought the perfect compromise would be to have a farm or lakehouse(more space than the yurt) and a pack of dogs…along with a helipad and copter i could use to fly back to my penthouse in town. But i still haven't won the lottery so…

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