I saw my face in the mirror while washing my hands in the bathroom of a Barns n’ Noble while I was waiting for my car’s oil to be changed. I hadn’t shaved in over a week. I have a small sty in my right eye that is almost making it look like I am wearing bright red eye liner. This is the longest week; I worked through last weekend.
I looked old.
I can’t look at myself and say that I am a young man. There is no youth left here. I am a man.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.“
I look at myself and I see experience, vigor, a trace of wisdom. I see the faint lines of crows feet forming and the pits under my eyes are darker. This is the way of all life.
I don’t feel a temptation to cling to my looks or youth. I just want to maintain a fit body for as long as I can, for health and discipline.
The voice of my age–twenty-nine–says, work. I have heard the call to work for a while. I spent a lot of time being frantic, looking frenetically for things to do, most of which didn’t seem to create any real value for myself or anyone else. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know, and I worried that I did not know.
Now, it hardly seems to matter what I am working on, only that I am working. Rather, it does matter what I am working on. But now I feel I am more internally directed. Perhaps I have internalized what society has told me, or maybe I am finally realizing my authentic desire; let me just say that both are the case. Writing this here, I am working. Working construction, I am working. Doing photography, I am working. When I am creating value–not necessarily money–I am working. And yes, there is room for leisure, but no I have not yet struck a balance.
I was laying in bed last Sunday afternoon after a long day of work. Before I fell asleep, I had a moment of stillness. My mind wandered to a thought, a passing fantasy of a likely event. But then I came back to a moment of peace. Then, my mind wandered again to a memory. Then I returned to a place of stillness. Then I wandered away again, but as I did, I saw the attractive current that was pulling me in, as if it were a riptide on the beach or a river with a gravitational field. I was sucked into the thought, and when I came back to the moment of stillness, I saw many rivers: potential streams of thought to experience.
But I also heard voices in the stillness. And some of them were good.
And then I slept for several hours.
Nobody has an understanding of what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, or what forces and principles are guiding them. At least, I’m not satisfied with our understanding. There is too much mystery. But that is okay.
I am back because I need to write. And this is a good place to write.