There was a time when I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. A bucket-list ... I called it "my 50". I dragged myself through that list for the past decade, laying the bricks of my edification and education. The bricks -- the places I had to see, the books I had to read, the accomplishments I had to conquer -- were kilned and lain steadily in the hope that I would be something more than I was. But as I started to empty the list faster than I could add to it, I still had an inconsolable emptiness. It was the emptiness of knowing that I was less than I had ever hoped to be. So I paused the list. I took a different tact, and embraced an ascetic life, a quiet and mundane existence. I left behind those things that others might have seen as an extraordinary life and replaced them with the daily repetition of the ordinary.
I found a girl, lived in one little city, worked a somewhat regular schedule, hung out in the local bar. I had date night, poker night, bar night, my phone time with a few friends around the country.
Eliminating the constant distractions let me see that it was not the bricks that mattered, but the mortar. The people who accompanied me for all those accomplishments. The opportunities for self-examination in those hours waiting at the airport.
The road trips are one of the few obviously extraordinary weeks I have each year. But as much as I look forward to them, it's what they do to the 6 months in between. How they gild the mundane, remind me to relish my own smallness, magnify what is important to me -- magnify it to ignition. The last time around, I needed a push -- there's no doubt that I got it. This time around, I don't need a kick in the pants, I'm not looking for anything but to enjoy time with a friend (and maybe grief some Mennonites). I know it will remind me that I am right where I'm supposed to be.
I've removed all but one last goal from "my 50". Phauxtog, keep an eye out for feral cats.