Sometimes at work, colleagues and I talk about whether we are more “process” or “task” oriented.
Metaphorically speaking, would we rather build the ship or sail it?
Personally, I would rather build the ship. I want almost nothing to do with sailing it.
I like starting things, creating something from nothing.
Maintaining something after it is built has a quality of endless monotony to me.
On Saturday night, K and I went out to dinner and then saw the play Mauritius.
[Excellent script, props to the playwright.]
After dinner we stopped for coffee.
“I want to tell you something,” I said, “but I don’t want you to take it personally. It’s not about you.”
“Okay,” K said.
“Lately I feel vaguely dissatisfied, kind of bored I guess. It all seems to stretch out endlessly ahead of us.”
K smiled, understanding.
“Every day is the same,” he said.
We talked about whether or not we aren’t officially entering… [roll suspense music]… middle age.
The innumerable possibilities open to us in our twenties and thirties now appear limited, to some extent, by the choices we’ve made.
We’ve built a number of ships – career, family, home.
K and I reflected on the wave of friend’s marriages and births we have witnessed over the last decade or two and speculated about the next wave.
Macabre as it may seem, we laughed at ourselves for imagining that all that we can look forward to is the incoming tide of divorces and deaths.
Last night, my friend Gail invited me to join her and some of her friends for the movie Revolutionary Road.
“You’re going to see THAT the day after our middle aged ennui conversation?” K said.
He prepared himself for a psychiatric intervention upon my return.
Oddly, the film made me feel better somehow.
I certainly don’t feel trapped and without options in the way that a 1950’s housewife might have felt.
Falling asleep after the film, I thought about gardening instead of ship building as an alternative contextual metaphor.
K and I planted two little seeds that sprouted into a family and now we must bend to the task of cultivation.
I should try to learn to find joy in the small, repetitive tasks, such as the pulling of weeds.
After all, I hear it's the careful, daily tending of the plants that brings about a good harvest.