I promise, I'll come back for you

(AUSTIN, Texas) — At this moment, I’m watching the most painful scenes of the English Patient. By the way, if you’ve never seen it, I suggest you stop reading now.

This is the part when the woman is dying, slowly, alone in a cave while her guy is trying so desperately to get back to her. He promises to return, even though there’s a desert and soldiers and a war to get through. He’s determined, however, and finally, after going through hell, he does make it. But she’s long since dead. It’s that feeling of his, of being so utterly helpless while his future vanishes, that I identify with. I don’t necessarily think this is happening or has happened, but I still carry that fear with me always. What if I’m simply wasting time while my real life is somewhere else, slowly slipping away? It’s partially that worry that has made me move so much, even before this trip. After I graduated college, I lived for six months in Portland, Ore., until finally that cave visual pushed me into greener pastures. Then came a year-and-a-half in Silver City, N.M. Then it was a year and change in Glenwood Springs, Colo. (even if the economy hadn’t made me leave, the cave eventually would have). Then Moab, Utah. Then my trip.

And now Austin? God, I am feeling a million things right now. Part of me has the cave fear and worries that maybe my real life is somewhere else, away from all the traffic and cool movie theaters and hipster cowboys. Part of me feels lucky to be here. I mean, if you have to run out of money, there are far worse places to do so. There is a real sense of funky innovation and pride in this city. Where else you can you buy cupcakes out of a shiny, tiny Airstream and go bowling at a swanky cocktail bar? This place is bursting at the seams with things that make it original and cool, and I appreciate that. Those things are what whisper in my ear to settle down, get a job of substance and place a personals ad. But I haven’t committed to any of that, not yet.

I do not mean to complain. It’s just that, when you step outside of society, it’s so hard to step back in. As exciting as getting a prestigious job here would be, so is the idea of picking up and leaving in a month. I think, perhaps, my fear is that if I settle down somewhere, I won’t be special anymore. Now, that’s embarrassing to admit. I’m scared to live a “normal” life.

What if I can’t do it? Worse yet, what if I like it?

All of these questions and more are swirling around me ask myself the real question, the big one I asked when I graduated college: Now what?

God, I fear I sound just like every other 20-something, getting all philosophical about her or his place in the world. I can imagine how these words sound in your head and am cringing a bit because of it. Maybe I really am more conventional than I think.

I guess I’ll do what I believe others do in this situation. I’ll keep working. For me that means I’ll keep writing, describing some of the events from my trip that I failed to get to earlier, and I’ll keep looking for jobs. I’ll give Austin a month, and if things don’t work out, I’ll leave, even though I’ll be hilariously low on funds by that time. I don’t know what these next few weeks hold, but having a light game plan makes me feel better. It makes me feel I have control over something, even though, deep down, I know that’s not true.

But perhaps I don’t care. Believing in that is better than becoming all cerebral and dwelling on my fears. It’s certainly better than focusing on that depressing cave metaphor of mine.

Perhaps it’s time to watch a romantic comedy.

2 comments to I promise, I’ll come back for you

  • Chris


    Keep living the dream. Remember that perception is reality, and there is no such thing as a normal life. Your blogs are always good. Keep it up.


  • This sounds like me, but better than I could ever articulate. You are also much braver than I am for traveling around the way you do. I feel like I might spend the rest of my life wondering what else is out there, but you at least can cross some things off the list.

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