Perpetually Unfinished
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Originally uploaded by brittgm.
I've been busy. Physically busy-- I've been traveling a lot for work-- and mentally busy too, my mind always racing, pondering the next thing or four on my plate.

And we are back in that uncertain stage, where we don't know where we'll live a few months from now, how our futures might change. In January or February we might be moving to the DC area, or we might be here in Chicago for yet another year (or longer). I try to hold the two possibilities in my mind at the same time, envision two futures at once, two paths, so that I am ready for whatever comes. But it doesn't work well; instead, they both seem somehow unreal. Like Schrodinger's cat. (Sort of.)

I have a few months of reality left-- the rest of October, when I'll be out of town for 2-3 weeks straight; November, full of travel and of NaNoWriMo; December, preparing for the holidays and then celebrating them; and then a few weeks into January and a great big blank. Even January will either be full of packing and logistics and other challenges if we move, or my first month of real relaxation since the summer, if we don't. So it becomes fuzzy too, since I don't know what to expect from it. That's all I see ahead of me right now, busy-ness and then a blur.

I have noticed this problem before, in thinking about the future. When there are too many possibilities, I find myself disengaging from all of them. I have a hard time seriously thinking about life in my 30's (let alone beyond!) because there are so many variables-- it all becomes blurry, and I'm unable to take any of it very seriously. That doesn't mean I can't make plans for my future; it just means that it's hard for me to evaluate their ramifications, to think "What would that mean to me?" because it could mean so many different things in different entirely plausible situations. (And because I can't fully wrap my mind around the fact that the "me" is me, regardless of what events in the interim affect and change me.)

So, as always, I try to make plans that leave as many avenues open as possible. Or I delay planning, delay making choices altogether, which, as my mother told me the other day, "is in itself a choice." Decide has the same root as homicide, suicide, patricide, regicide. I have a hard time making decisions because I can't stand killing off my options, shutting down possibilities. Really, I think, I just don't want to have to accept the consequences of the road not taken.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth...

Yep, that's me, staring at my options, vacillating, and stalling. And I am just as ridiculous about it as Frost's friend, probably more so. But at least I know it. Self-awareness has got to count for something, right?

Okay, enough for now, before y'all start gouging your eyes out. "I waited two months for this?" you're asking yourself. Well, next time I will surely try to be more concrete. And maybe even throw in some funny anecdotes or something for flavor. Or puns maybe? The lines are wide open for your requests...
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Nature attains perfection, but man never does. There is a perfect ant, a perfect bee, but man is perpetually unfinished. He is both an unfinished animal and an unfinished man. It is this incurable unfinishedness which sets man apart from other living things. For, in the attempt to finish himself, man becomes a creator. Moreover, the incurable unfinishedness keeps man perpetually immature, perpetually capable of learning and growing.
--Eric Hoffer

Malavika (and the rest of The Quitters)

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