Monday, July 13, 2009

What Do You Want?

Right after what was apparently the most significant event of the summer (Michael Jackson's death), I noticed a homemade sign on Austin City Lofts. "Wow," I thought. "Does someone really care that much?"

I have long said that the key to being happy, to 'getting what you want,' is to know what you want. I think I've failed miserably at that.

My horoscope today (the Creators Syndicate one in the Austin American-Statesman) says "If your environment isn't well-organized, you will feel distracted if not distraught. Make it a priority to get things in order." Well, that might have been true in the old house. No, it definitely was true. But I think my work area is just about perfect now. The whole house, really. I always have some cleaning task queued up that needs to be done and I do need to go through some boxes and files and organize the storage space and better organize the kitchen but, really, I can pretty much find things and, well, that isn't the problem. [I don't put much faith in horoscopes or fortune cookies or seer advisers. However, if I'm reading a paper and it isn't today's paper then I want bother to read the horoscope!]

We had dinner and and outing with a creative young friend on Saturday and she said she needed to focus her interests a little bit. (She is into photography, has a film she's editing, does fashion designs and sells 'reclaimed' fashions made from thrift store finds, etc.) She's only twenty-five, though, and she's managed to get a college degree, do some travel and live overseas a while and make a move here and get and hold a job to support herself with only a bike someone gave her for transportation. I'd say there is plenty of time to focus for her. Of course, she is thirty-five years younger than I am!

When I retired (how many times over the last six plus years have I used that phrase?), I thought I would learn and accomplish things.

The learning? It's a slippery slope as illustrated here. I would want to know more about world events and that would stick me with learning, for example, where the countries in Africa even are and then I'd have to take the time to actually read articles in my stacks of papers that I used to skip over. I'd want to learn more about movies. I considered learning to make one, decided it was too hard and gave away some equipment that could have made it possible. I read scripts and bought, and left unread, books about screenwriting. I started going to festivals, became involved in screening movies for a festival, read some books about movies, took the time to watch some classics. The result is that I still can't tell you who's who in the film world or really recognize many style things except for maybe some Woody Allen motifs.

The accomplishments? I wanted to find some volunteer work to do, but since I don't much like interacting with people that has been limited. I wanted to be healthier (exercise, diet, lose weight, ho hum) and maybe I am, maybe not. Not like I envisioned. I wanted to write, get organized, cook more.

I think it all boiled down to wanting to become an expert at something enough to help myself or others. I think maybe that's what missing from my life. It would probably take focus, though, and I think I'm destined to dabble. And to feel a little bad about it. Some people are thrust into situations where they have to focus and form strong opinions and do something about them. That hasn't really happened to me. In my career, there was some specialization forced from the outside and, I have to say, it allowed me to occasionally seem to accomplish something. (Although not as often as you might think.) Truthfully, accomplishment of anything needs to be forced on me. And I'm very resistant to intrusions in my retirement so it's hard for those situations to develop. I guess if I can force myself to write about the dilemma, though (fulfilling the 'pretending to write but really just blogging' destiny that's been my mantra of late) then I can maybe exert a little influence on myself to force myself to figure out what I want and accomplish it. You think? Honestly, I doubt it.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

The part of your post about wanting to do something to help people post-retirement, but not really liking interactions with people and not wanting intrusion into my life, limiting choices. That's why I joined a group with social action purposes--I can support those who do like to be there one-on-one, making and doing, -- so I am still in support of change, feeding the poor, fighting discrimination of gay couples, whatever, and yet doing my support in the background. Suits me perfectly.