Something I like to do lot is just sit by the water. I don’t fish. I don’t hunt. I don’t scuba. I don’t spear, don’t boat, don’t play basketball or football. I excel at staring into space. I’m really good at that.” -Iggy Pop
As someone renowned for spacing out, I adore this Iggy Pop quote. My monkey mind, as the Buddhist like to call it, is always going full throttle. I have heard it said that our greatest strengths are often our biggest weaknesses. My great ability to daydream is the root of my creativity, and in some cases even my compassion and intellect; I am always thinking. It is also the root of my history of mediocre grades, multiple jobs, and fierce patience on the part of family and friends forced to endure my endless scattered ways. I wonder if Iggy has experienced the same kind of triumphs and failures associated with his great talent, or does Punk grant him some kind of exemption? Celebrities do seem to get away with things us average people can not, like getting married a million times or wearing Chuck Taylors and sunglasses with your tuxedo. Staring into space makes Iggy more interesting. When I stare into space, however, I feel like I am a step away from receiving a permanent life coach, and an endless supply of Ritalin. Why is that?
“Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.” -Henry Rollins
I was at Cornfield Point this weekend. A tiny beach tucked into the shoreline of Old Saybrook, Connecticut like belly button lint in the navel of the east coast. It has been “my” beach for as long as I can remember. My grandparents built a house there before I was born; a small ranch my mother now occupies. I made sandcastles on its shore when I was a child and swam drunk in its water while an idiot teen. I have walked to the end of its jetty in the middle of the night surrounded by nothing but fog while contemplating my place and future in this world. As far as beaches go, there is nothing empirically special about Cornfield Point. It is not even on the ocean. There are no palm trees. No Pina Coladas or Coral Reefs. Katherine Hepburn had a house nearby. For years, my friends and I would drive by her estate hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary movie star. Once, I thought I saw her gardening, but then realized decades later, her actual house was further up the road, out of sight to us snooping star stalkers.
“The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.” -David Russell
I am the poster child for false starts. A master of misdirection. Traversing, building and, yes, often burning bridges as I go. It is not uncommon to find myself in unfamiliar territory wondering, “What the hell am I doing here?” Sometimes I continue to move forward, veering directions like an old meandering river cutting and forming the landscape in its wake. Other times, I meet an unwelcome obstacle and run in retreat back over the same path I so diligently committed to. A scared soldier in the face of battle. A coward of sorts, unsure after climbing a few rungs, that his ladder was, indeed, ever up against the right wall to begin with. How many of us have come across this metaphorical struggle in our lives? In what direction should we go, and do we look back once we have taken the first step? When I peer over my shoulder, it often feels like I have led a hundred different lives. Gone in a million different directions. Oh, the bridges I have crossed and burned; in relationships, careers, academics, even, on some occasions, hobbies and interests. Although, the latter being much easier “structures” to rebuild. The Native Americans have a saying, “When you reach a great chasm in your life, jump. It isn’t as far as you think.”