I was in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend and had lunch at corner bistro I used to dine at when I was 19 years old. It’s a block or so from where I used to live in the Alphabet District, and it’s still there 26 years later.
When I was down there, I drove around some of my old haunts. So much of the city has completely been transformed, and I can’t help but feel like someone “queer-eyed” entire neighborhoods, revealing a more gussied up version of itself. But the apartment I lived in is still there. The restaurant I used to eat is still there. And I am still here. Which is all wildly comforting.
This trip is a culmination of something new I’m trying. I’ve always been a seeker, someone who thinks a lot about enlightenment and truth and doing what’s right. But a few decades of seeking and not finding that much is exhausting, and I need a break. And yes, I do realize these pursuits are a privilege, but all of us get to “cry uncle” on our lives. And never in my life has “crying uncle” garnered so little consequence to anyone other than myself.
So gone are the days of only looking backward and forward, I’m examining where I’m at right now. And guess what I’m discovering? Being in the now is kind of extraordinary. And also, whoa. How in the heck did I get here? I think I misplaced an entire decade.
It’s only been a few weeks into my new modus operandi, but it’s shaping up to be a split between forcing myself to chill the F out, and asking myself what I want to do right now (vs. what I should do). Since I like checking off lists and accomplishments (a habit from my former life, a whole three weeks ago), this is what my new life looks like:
five six novels. SIX! I used to only read heady nonfiction like Michael Pollan latest book on psychedelics or inspirational business books (aka the Cinemax of self-help). But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten lost in reading for pleasure. In case you’re wondering, in no particular order –
- Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (okay maybe this isn’t a novel, but it reads like one)
- Eleanor Oliphant is Just Fine by Gail Honeyman
- Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkin
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
- The Last Romantic by Tara Conklin
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I made a shamelessly 80’s playlist on Spotify. It feels very much like making a mixtape for my BFF. I am thirteen.
I stopped dwelling on what I should be doing. I know I’m not the only one watching back to back episodes of Big Little Lies. We’re in this together.
I bought a Lexus instead of Toyota. I’ve been sans car since 2015 and finally bought myself one. Most people I know don’t go through the mental gymnastics that I put myself through when making a large purchase. Buying something I want, versus something practical is a luxury I never give into. Until now.
And I took said Lexus and drove it to Portland.
I got a subscription to Masterclass. Just for my own edification. Judy Blume’s class made me want to fly to her bookstore in Florida and give her a great big hug. She speaks so tenderly about her characters, and I can totally relate.
I started this blog.
And am co-writing a television pilot.
And am starting a novel.
It all feels like a funny little experiment, where I don’t care too much if something will come of it.
Though I am, of course, hopeful that something will.
Here’s what I haven’t been doing much of:
- Worrying about becoming some future, better version of myself.
- Thinking about what I should be or could be doing.
- Dwelling on all the big and little mistakes that I’ve made. The kind of things that still make your cheeks feel flush.
I don’t yet know what to make of it all, but I am okay with being untethered and directionless for a while. Life feels like it’s opening up in a new, different way, and though it feels scary, I am surrendering to it.
I hope your life is unfurling in new and beautiful and mysterious ways as well.