29 Mar 2009, 10:04pm
1 comment


it takes seemingly endless iterations for epiphanies to stick. do we ever learn?


i have always been very good at following directions. as a kid i did very well in school and scored well on standardized tests and all that. ’cause really the biggest key to that stuff is reading, understanding and interpreting directions correctly. piece of cake. i am pretty sure i could cook or bake anything given clear enough directions. i am good at reading maps and i relish the challenge of figuring out public transit in foreign cities (for example). i am a whiz at flatpack furniture assembly. blah blah blah…

anyway, i realized recently that i get anxious when i don’t have directions to follow. when i’m riding a new bike route, i write out all the turns i need to take on a little piece of paper and tape it to my handlebars. i am pretty incapable of cooking without a recipe, and i once actually got into a fight with an ex because he wanted to make a certain kind of soup without a recipe and i insisted that if he didn’t use a recipe it was sure to turn out horrible and tasteless and, i dunno, burn the house down. (if you read this, g., i’m sorry. i was totally in the wrong.)

this is not something i really like about myself. which is good ’cause i’m gonna have a lot of chances in my life to not follow directions, to try to create a happy life out of a bunch of pretty diverse interests and priorities and blah blah blah. life sure would be simpler if i wanted to go into academia. or computer science or something. oh i am so lucky. oh my first world problems. i am not bored.


last night i went to a party at some friends’ house near mount tabor. i’ve biked there a few times with my nice little pre-planned route taped to my handlebar. which takes me over part of mount tabor and back down again. last night i thought, hm, i bet i can avoid all those hills. i have lived here for five and a half years, i know southeast portland, i know more or less where the grid is inconsistent… so i pedaled off into the relatively warm and dry night (weather’s been variable lately), only had to backtrack once or twice, and found my way to the party, directionless and happy. changed into my ridiculous pink goodwill prom dress and danced my ass off with my amazing friends.


i keep thinking, “well, at least i’m not bored.” because i am awash with petty drama, most of it in my head. i think, oh my gosh! look at all these amazing people in my life! do they know how amazing they are? do they know how important they are? how do i let them know how important they are? how do i keep them in my life? maybe if i tie them up in my petty personal drama somehow, they won’t leave me. and at the same time, i am thinking, maybe i should leave. maybe i should go back to hawaii, or bike down the california coast, or bike across the southwest, or go live in the south of england with my cousin vicki and walk in the new forest every day with her collie jessie and the cows and the horses.

and FOR GOODNESS SAKE. this is not what to do. oh this is fun, all this petty nonexistent imaginary drama. it’s fun as hell, in its way. but it’s not happiness… and it’s totally useless. it accomplishes nothing. the way to keep my friends near and let them know how important they are is to be totally awesome and support them in their passions.


there is something to be said for boredom. i don’t know… maybe not boredom. i think life’s challenges have a sort of fractal nature. there’s the big obvious shapes/challenges(problems/decisions/whatever), and then you move past them, and you find other challenges, and so on and so forth, an infinite regression/progression. when you’re dealing with the big ones, self-created or not, the smaller ones are irrelevant. but when the big things are solved, or when you decide to be content with the way they are arranged, i don’t think you have be bored. you can always learn to garden, or to rockclimb, or to communicate better with your loved ones, or you can follow politics or mentor at-risk youth or write a play or build a teepee, i dunno. you don’t have to decide to shake everything up just because everything’s threatening to get good and boring.

is there value in a well-placed shake-up? probably. but i don’t know what life is like without a good (or bad) shake-up every now and then… might be worth it to find the challenge in that.


a couple months after i graduated from college (in 2007), i wrote a list, titled, “things to maybe do in the next couple of years, or, i have no excuse to ever be bored (a work in progress).” it looked like this:

–take acrobatics classes
–learn a martial art (kung fu??)
–take psych and women’s studies classes
–learn to ballroom dance
–learn to do handstands
–learn to play my guitar
–write songs
–learn to sing again
–get my wings tattooed
–get a puppy
–bike across the country
–go to india and nepal
–go to kyoto and hiroshima again
–fold 1000 paper cranes, with intention
–commute to work by bike
–think about selling my car
–see spiral jetty
–write plays
–produce and direct plays
–write stories and novels and poems, terrible or not
–try busking/street theatre
–plant an herb garden
–learn about medicinal herbs
–cultivate academic obsessions
–go wwoofing in hawaii
–go to an “ecstatic dance” class
–go to a rave
–throw elaborate dinner parties
–learn to make homemade pasta
–climb trees
–camp on the beach
–canoe (whitewater??)
–learn to sew my own clothes
–knit fingerless gloves from the pink cashmere my mom bought me
–create elaborate treasure hunts in public libraries, etc
–throw parties
–make limoncello
–revise my thesis play
–educate myself about feminism and environmentalism
–go to concerts
–go see theatre
–go on dates
–have sex
–learn about obscure theories of the universe/physics/time
–go hiking
–plant rosebushes and learn how to tend them
–grow blueberries too
–write letters (penpals??)
–learn bookbinding
–make my website awesome (learn css? flash?)
–work on that career thing (keep doing theatre)
–bake cookies
–bake croissants
–take pictures
–play in the snow and get totally soaked through
–dance in the rain and get totally soaked through
–go skiing
–roll down sand dunes (again)
–memorize beautiful poems
–work on some monologues
–learn to meditate (vipassana?)

sometimes it feels like everything in the world has changed since i graduated. but i look at this list and i recognize myself so very clearly and strongly in the person who wrote it. and i have done a lot of the things on this list, without even really trying, because i am that person and that person is me and these are the things i feel passionate about,

and It Was Good.

what’s next?

31 Mar 2009, 8:10am
by Miranda

this is inspiring.



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