Monday, August 16, 2010

The Price You Pay

I'm doing things and seeing places and meeting people and learning stuff, which means while I am doing, seeing, meeting and learning, I am also missing everything and everyone that is elsewhere.

How many close friends' weddings is it worth missing to continue my stagnant lazy adventurer lifestyle here? Then again, how many of those friends actually noticed whether I was there or not? My parents are getting old and it's starting to show - I should be there for them since they won't be around forever, but all they do is sit on the couch reading library books. Stuck at work during my 36 hours of free time each week, I can't shake the nagging assumption that at this given moment I could be anywhere on earth doing something else. Maybe tripping on a mountain with hippies and pagans at the Beltane festivities in Heidelberg, fighting my way through restaurant menus in China, or going for a cherished morning exercise walk with my white-haired mother through our quaint suburban neighborhood.

No matter what you find yourself doing, you'll always be faced with the painful dilemma of missing out on one of the other areas of your life. Everyone has experienced the minor yet really annoying annoyance of missing something fun because you couldn't get the time off work. It's shitty because you need to make money but you really, really wish you could have made it even just to say hi. You just know someone there said "oh, [your name] had to work" and everyone else said "oh too bad" and that was it. They didn't miss you as much as you missed them, yet of course you built up the event in your mind until you were convinced it was PARTY OF THE YEAR WOULDN'T MISS FOR THE WORLD fantastic. It's not really rational but it still sucks, yeah?

I suppose that's how I feel about being in Japan in general. I have to do my job and put in time and to be frank I certainly have a much more "exciting" life from an outsider's perspective than the average Jack or Jill in my hometown. But sometimes I do yearn to be in two or more places at once, living both my main lives plus living all the fragmented sub-lives I've built through meeting people and making connections in my travels. I often wonder what the people I know and care about are doing right now, and feel irrationally jealous of them for having quick access to futile crap like Nordsee or Dunkin Donuts. And I hope they do too.

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