Blank Spaces on the Map

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

I was feeling melancholy recently about my circumstances. Living with family, employed in the same place that I worked at in college, not working in the field that the very expensive piece of paper that I owe about 27k on tells me I’m qualified to do.

I wonder if in a parallel universe there’s an Anne who is married with children. In another one, there’s one where I’m a famous actress who has just won her first Oscar. Another where I’m an astronaut. A few where I’m not there cause I was sick, or chose to end it. There’s an infinite number of lives I could be living (if one were to hold to the belief of parallel universes, that is).

At some point you have to pick a path, right? You have to choose, and stick with it.

Do I want to go back to New York and find a job in production or a media office? Do I want to move to Los Angeles and really get this writing thing right? Do I want to travel and wait tables and write about what I see, the people I interact with?

I was given a book titled, Daily Afflictions: the Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe as a Christmas gift a few years back. One of the essays discusses commitment to a path, to a career, to your life, and there’s a line, just one, that says “The future is full of possibilities that I must shoot in the head.

That’s what all this boils down to. I’m scared of commitment. I’m scared that if I pick one path it’ll be the wrong one and I’ll end up back where I am. I can’t imagine picking the wrong path.

But we have to fail right? We have to make mistakes and we have to hit the bottom and pull ourselves up. We have to learn from those lessons.

It’s also selfish. I want to do ALL those things. I want to have a steady job in LA or NYC (I’d love to be bicoastal!) that allows me to travel all around the world. I want to backpack across Europe and go from place to place, working as I see fit. I want to spend a year in Italy, a year in France, a year in Ireland, I want to drink wine and coffee in cafes all over the world and I want to be able to live comfortably when I decide to stop moving.

I want it all.

I won’t be able to have it all.

That’s probably the first lesson isn’t it? Knowing that I can’t have it all, and that I have to commit to one thing fully. To commit and know that things may not turn out perfectly.

I have to take all those possibilities out back and put a bullet in each and every ones head.

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One thought on “Blank Spaces on the Map

  1. Hallo, darling. I don’t remember if I gave you this book or not – I just know that I have given it to many people because I love it and find it incredibly powerful. I think there is a melancholy to this realization, but there is also an incredible freedom from the paralysis of the infinite. I think, perhaps, the infinite is a concept for our spiritual lives and not one we can endure on the day to day. So when we concede to the fact that our lives are finite, our choices limited, our final outcome assured, there is actually an incredible release because we can only do as best as we can. We can only optimize, not perfect. But where Perfect is hollow, cold, the throne of gods, we humans get to operate on warm intuition, the energy of struggle, and connecting to one another. You get to give one of these things your all and change your mind about it. You’re on the pathless journey. You can’t go the wrong way because there is no path, there’s just the way you go.

    The thing I know about you is you feel deeply and passionately. Where it might be directed might change, but that seems to be constant. Perhaps focusing there, and releasing the need for it to look one way or another might be a help.

    Just some thoughts!
    -K

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