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Of Dragons and Fireballs

So I’m back from home. It seems fitting in a way that I left 2011 one way and 2012 begins and it’s feels different. Going back east always enables me to reconnect to a former self that I often forget exists. Years of moving places, meeting new people and so forth leave me constantly reinventing myself. While this offers me new opportunities, it leaves me wondering what I’ve left behind.

More than anything, going home always makes me remember who I’ve become and more comfortable in that. My uncle always reminds me when I see him, “when you were a kid, you always said you were gonna move far far away and you did.” Then he laughs. I think back to that loquacious little guy and I wonder what we have in common now. 

Our hopes and our dreams. He saw the globe and believed the world was smaller than it was at a time when it really wasn’t. Now it is, but I look around and wonder where I fit into this whole mess of things.

Driving back I thought about video games. I don’t really play them. But life can sometimes be like them. If you think back to the original Super Mario Brothers, there are levels and each has a boss at the end. You beat the boss and advance to the next level. At the end, there’s a big boss and you win if you beat said creature. Older games didn’t allow you to waste time deviating on your own little tasks. I watch my brother or friends play current games and it’s possible to be part of the ecosystem while specializing in a particular kind of gameplay. (Guys who only sniper in Call of Duty)

In real life, there’s the path you’re on and where you’re headed. Then there’s all of these extraneous things on the outskirts. I told my dad that when I was younger, I saw possibilities and opportunities and always wanted to take them. Not because all of them were necessarily fit for me; but simply because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. When you traffic in the mysteries of what’s possible, you want an escape hatch or a scratch-off ticket that gives you what you want faster than just hunkering down. 

When you’re younger, life seems full of mystery. When you get older, it feels very different. People still impose their will, they still communicate their expectations and want you to ascribe to the absolutes that govern how they live their lives. I’ve always been estranged from these ideas because they simply defy how I see the world and live my life. But I’ve been fighting upstream for years trying to get where I want to do in the face of all of it.

Right now, it’s about building a foundation from which the other stuff can live on. It was interesting when someone said as much without me having to express it. “You’ve got these goals and you’re working towards them. You’re building the future you want for yourself and I’ve got nothing but respect for you for that.”

I try to be ethically consistent. I don’t necessarily know my ultimate destination, but I know what I don’t want now in a way that I never used to and have become a lot better at avoiding it.

So another year of chasing down dragons and dodging fireballs.