Tuesday, January 04, 2005

push and shove

sometimes when i look at my creative life, i'm not sure if i'm driving on the autobahn or loping along on a rickety treadmill. or maybe i'm just running in place and everything around me is moving. i am forever falling behind. and so living in nyc becomes this constant effort to catch up to where i'm "supposed" to be. how good i am on guitar. how long it takes me to run a mile. my freakin' student loans. but where am i supposed to be, exactly? who set that bar? the media? my insecurities? my subconscious? is it realistic or have i set myself up for perpetual failure with an impossible dream that keeps me grasping at things that are just out of reach? because as soon as i get there, i have to go someplace else. if i can't look around me and see steady progression, i'm just not satisfied. (insert muddy waters "can't be satisfied" here.)

there are moments when i feel like sisyphus. (insert kate bush singing "running up that hill" here.) there are moments when i feel like atlas. and then there are times when i feel like hercules. but i really don't think i'd be feeling like any so-called mythological diety if nyc didn't challenge me the way that it does. it definitely doesn't treat everybody that lives here the way it treats me.

of course, all of that is compounded by the fact that i can't stop challenging myself. i am constantly pushing and shoving inside of me for The Next Thing, whatever that is. the book i want to read. the thing i want to learn. the person i want to collaborate with. i am constantly making lists, sketching out ideas on everything from my palm pilot to cocktail napkins, setting goals, shifting priorities. i don't know how not to be that way. i'm always thinking of my goals. i listen to people say things like, "i don't know what i want to do with my life," and i'm like, how do you get out of bed every day and not answer that question? that would loom over me like that cloud of dirt that hovers around Pig Pen whereever he goes. i guess after awhile, you get used to it, like any other habit. the next thing you know, ten years have gone by and cool things have happened to you but you still haven't really happened to yourself.

i moved to nyc to escape all that. imagine my surprise when i met people here that lived that way. when i was a kid, i didn't believe that this city could foster such a mentality because it was such an explosive place. the truth is, it can be--but actually, it's not.

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