I know I set a goal to write something every day on the blog for the entire year of 2019, and it kind of pains me to say this, but…I’m not going to make it. I’m going to take a couple weeks off of writing new material here while J and The Boy and I travel across the country in our RV. So today is going to be the last ‘new’ thing you see for a while. I’m going to repost some older writing daily for the next few weeks, but I think that’s okay, because I’ve gotten a lot of new followers since I started up on here (thank ALL of you for following me and reading the stuff I have to say!).
Anyway…on to why I’m taking some time off, tied in with a movie about summer vacation that came out when I was a teenager, about teenagers who came of age a couple of years before I was born. Of course I’m making a weird connection. Do you expect anything less at this point?
I love the movie Dazed and Confused and have since it first came out, even though I never drank underage (and still don’t drink at 40), I’ve never smoked anything…period, and I never went to a big party in high school. I just love Richard Linklater’s writing style. He’s real. And funny. And human. Even in this large ensemble cast, I cared about the characters in a real way. He managed to develop more than ten with depth in a comedy under two hours long. That’s impressive.
But what I liked most about the movie was Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd’s struggle with being told by the adults in his life
1. what to do with himself, and
2. that he should be grateful for it.
Pink just wants to be himself and not be pigeon-holed. By anybody. Not the adults telling him who to be and how he has to behave and conform, and not by his friends, either. And high school was really about that. And some people never grow out of high school…wanting to be accepted into cliques…wanting to label other people with neat little monikers that reduce them to one thing and rope them into one social grouping with its set of prerequisites to get in and dues to pay to stay…wanting to treat people as ‘less’ according to which labels they wear and groups they belong to. Pink moves around in different circles though; he doesn’t just stay in one, which is weird and to a degree, unacceptable in high school. In the 1990s, when I was in high school, it wasn’t much different than the 1970s when Pink was. I wanted out, just like he did. And especially my senior year, all the manufactured socializing and celebration and promises of nostalgia from older people…parents; teachers; coworkers; other family…that I’d miss high school someday…that I’d long for high school when I was older, when life managed to wear me down. People say that, but I’m not sure they were paying attention in high school, if they liked it so much. I always felt like the social structure of high school (and beyond into adulthood, whenever I’m reminded that some people long for high school, or mentally and emotionally never left) was bullshit. I felt a lot like Pink then.
Now, I’m 40, and I have to say…I don’t consider my time in high school anywhere CLOSE to the best days of my life. I mean…not even CLOSE. I had some individual good days during my teenage years and made some individual amazing connections, but I felt cornered and caged a lot in high school. Stifled and lied to and misunderstood and impotent.
I don’t feel ANY of that garbage now, and it started melting away for me almost immediately after high school was OVER. The cursory connections I’ve made there that really mattered have grown and blossomed SINCE, away from the boxed in social hierarchy they first formed in. I’ve lived all of my best days since. ALL of them. I know I’m lucky and privileged and I certainly will own that, but I’ve also worked hard and learned a lot and my life has done nothing but improve since I turned eighteen. Better and better and better. Really.
And that’s why I’m taking a break from writing new stuff here for a while. I feel like my writing is stalling and the quality is lacking and I’m just generally in a rut and I need an attitude adjustment. I need to get out of the box and all the way into the experience of traveling; to unplug and see if I can spend some time with J and The Boy and hopefully a friend or two on the road and make a few more best days of my life.
I have to do some livin’. To make my writing better and flow smoother. And to cache some more best days. I know I’m going to need them. The world is rough sometimes, but that’s no reason to quit on it. And writing is rough sometimes, but I’m not quitting. See you all on the other end of my trip. I’m hoping I have a lot of new stuff to write about. I hope you enjoy the older stuff. Maybe there will be some stuff that pops up that’s new to you. I hope so. If not, I’m sorry for the reruns. I hope they aren’t too annoying and repetitive. I will be back. With new stuff. I promise. I’m just doing some livin’.