Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Friends with Quirks That Irritate You? Or Things That You Fear in Yourself?

I have this friend who I adore but who sometimes exasperates me. For the years that I've known her, she has been a planner of things, a meaning-to-do kind of person. She's got various creative projects she can't manage to muster up steam to finish--or in some cases, even start. She has trips she's been just about to plan, she's got vague plans of getting married someday and definitely having kids. Usually, though, she's caught up in the details of day-to-day life, there's always a crisis to endure, a problem to be sorted out, better weather in the future.

As someone who has been yammering about writing for over ten years, I really empathize. I've lingered in miserable jobs longer than I should, and, as most of you know, I've always been that person to duck the whole concept of dating in favor of tucking in at home with a good book. I'm not one to cast stones.

And this is perhaps why lately I want to weep with frustration at her vague plans. Does she know how sad it is to live your life waiting for a better time to do something, at some unspecified time in the future? Does she know that if her past is the pattern, she will never do any of these things? In yet another decade, she'll be in the exact same place, only now options will be closed off to her. We none of us are getting younger, and age 38 is not exactly a point where you can wave off the whole kid concept to some theoretical future.

I believe that things happen in your life when they're supposed to and that maturity and wisdom make you a different person. Could I have written what I'm writing now ten years ago? Maybe not, but maybe. Perhaps if I'd actually started the hard work of writing instead of talking about it, I'd be closer to where my friend, the published novelist, is. She, with whom I used to talk, over lunchtime taco salads, about shared dreams of writing. But, of course, she actually did it, and as a result, she's spent years I haven't spent doing what she loves.

Maybe this inaction just all feels contagious to me. I spend so much of my day-too-day life surrounded by people who mean to do all sorts of lovely things--who talk about it and pursue earnest research--but who never do.

Personally, I don't feel like I've got the time to waste anymore.

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