Friday, February 8, 2013

words, like birds. leaving, like leaves.

"life is nothing but choices we make, right?"

my friend said this recently. although we rarely speak and have only seen each other in person a handful of times, the nature of our conversations deem friend more appropriate than acquaintance. he's a little older than me, quite successful, and holds some beliefs and opinions that are oil to my water (or vice versa, in case he might prefer to be water. and who wouldn't, what with all its "i can't be bothered" flowy-ness and whimsical ability to rise and fall). it's all our dissimilarities that make the exchange of words between my friend and me so easy. each email exchange changes in length, forming different patterns on the screen, like the aerial dances of migrating birds. like those birds, our words never race out of bounds. flawless execution in life is extremely rare yet exists time after time in our typewritten words. i wonder if he knows i consider him a mentor. he believes in me, encourages me, tells me i'm gonna do great things, kiddo...okay, he doesn't say "kiddo," but if he did i wouldn't take it as condescension. how could i, when i do look up to him, bc he made it. he had a dream and he made it. that's worth looking up to. i often think he is waiting, patiently, for me to tell him i made it, so he can say, i knew you would. or, perhaps by that time, so many moons will have presided over so many nights that i won't even think to tell him or he won't think to inquire. at some point, i'm certain, i'll remember his encouragement and thank him, even if silently to myself.

he's right. life is nothing but choices. i soveryoften interrogate myself about my choices. is it right? wrong? will i be okay with it next week? next year? on what path will it take me? am i sure that's the path i want?  i won't go so far as to say there are no wrong choices, bc i wholeheartedly believe the opposite. those choices, however, fall under a particular category called selfish, hateful, and neglectful things people do to hurt other people or animals, and that's deeper in the dirt than i want to dig. i could also delve into the notion of fate, which somewhat, sorta, kinda precludes self-determination, thus choice. fate is also a subject for dirt digging. today i'm content knowing that, sometimes, a choice is a choice is a choice and nothing more.

i once chose to leave my job in advertising, which was my first impressive accomplishment in memphis. impressive considering i was hired over a girl with experience, when i had none. impressive bc of paychecks and insurance and stability. i left anyhow. i couldn't take one more day of counting the minutes until 10 am for a coffee break; 12 pm for lunch and a quick nap with kaiser and phaedra; 3 pm, for no reason other than it meant two more hours till 5 pm; and 4:50, bc i could pop out my earbuds, shut down my mac, and sit there until exactly 5 and then book it (as my dad says. a phrase whose etymology leaves me curious). upon learning my intentions, back in wv, i'm sure my parents were crushed. they thought they could finally exhale bc i had finally settled down. nah. not even close. so i flicked that domino again and watched them fall. here's the thing, or a little thing: the coffee i would drink on my breaks at the ad agency was from a small, local roaster i would later, as a newborn freelance writer,  solicit to write their website. they obliged, too. it was a fun job, too. these coffee guys, unlike the austere corporations of my ad-agency days, had a sense of humor. they wanted me to write funny things. they were paying me to do it. if i had been incredibly green, i might have thought, freelance writing is so cool! work is gonna be fun and awesome every day! instead, in typical me fashion, i didn't think about what would happen after that gig. the world was the wind and i was a leaf. floatin'. flittin'. crushed into billions of bits by some guy's shredder. preserved on the page of some kid's science project. peed on by a stray dog. drops of dog pee glistening under the autumn sun.

all sorts of things happen bc of choices. and while i regularly question mine, i still ain't scared to be that leaf.