Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pebbles and Burning Bridges

Reading this excellent post at a favorite blog of mine, as well as recent events in my own life, have me thinking about the future again. Right now I'm adrift. I had a job, moving and cleaning rental cars down by the airport, but ParkWest, the company who was doing this work for Enterprise, had its contract terminated. So we all got laid off, myself only a week and a half into employment. This is alright, the job wasn't great anyways, nor the pay. But it was something, useful especially since my truck needs some somewhat pricey repairs.

Now, I'm wondering, looking at all my options: Should I keep looking for work here in Dallas? I like being around my sister and brother-in-law. Should I WWOOF, and learn about farming? Should I go back to Florida, where I have residency, and try to go back to college? Should I just go piss away the winter in the desert, like a friend of mine is suggesting, then hike the PCT as I still intend to do?

Any choice I make rules out others. Right now I'm thinking work a few months, then PCT, then school. But It's a very hard thing for me though, because school means leaving behind the freedom of this more or less bohemian, hiker-trash lifestyle I've been living-- having adventures and trying to do the things I want to do. To saddle myself with a 3 or 4 year obligation, complete with massive loans (being in debt scares the shit out of me) is an extremely difficult move. I know it's the rational thing for me to do-- I know I'm better than the minimum wage jobs I'm looking at, and the future, though not guaranteed, is as it turns out pretty likely to occur. I'm not going to die next year, probably, even if the future to me still continues to look like a giant Void.

If I continue to forgo education, I may never climb out of this hole I'm in, yet how do I balance the fact that it's only a "hole" if one measures life by money and material success, a ruler I'm not prone to use? That's society's measure, not mine. I'm happy as hell out on the trails, with next to nothing. Mountains, sunshine, simple, down-to-earth people. It's all good. It's just the inbetween time, the winters and time spent saving for the next adventure, living in the slum that is modern life, around selfish, frustrated people that is so depressing for me. I have dreams of being a writer, and of having a little "homestead" and living more or less off the grid, the simple life.

But it's hard to live against the grain, being on the fringes, looked down upon, having your entire lifestyle put down constantly even by those close to you. It's also hard to live with the grain, and be so lonely and unfulfilled. But who knows? Maybe the choice to continue this life of "adventure" would lead somewhere great for me. Or maybe it will crush me. It's all so uncertain. As stated in the first link, he ripples from that pebble (choice) hitting the water will go out, and who knows what it will do out there.

What's both deeply frightening and madly exhilarating is to know that every decision we make, in every moment, is going to make more ripples, have more unforseen consequences. Ripples making ripples of their own. Every moment we live changes our possible futures, by closing some doors forever and opening others. How does one make rational decisions when the information needed is infinite, and the outcomes completely unknown?

I've never been decisive. The future is a wild adventure, enjoyed in the present. This is the cutting edge. And I'm afraid of burning bridges.


  1. I'm also afraid of living in a little box, which is what modern America is all about.

  2. The best advice I can offer is to follow your heart. Too often people follow their head, but their heart isn't into it. So, they end up going through the motions without any passion or zest. In other words, they make the so-called "right" decision, but all it leads to is self-loathing and alienation.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear about your job, Brandon. :-/

    For what it's worth, I don't think you need to buy into the whole go to school, get a job scheme if that's not what you want. It's crazy that school's purpose nowadays is just to be a means to an end. I feel like people used to be free to choose to go college or not because they felt they could be enriched by the experience. Now it's like it's all part of one big corporate dream.

    Anyway, you're way more accomplished than people who've just gone through the motions for four years. That should be good enough for any employer! And hell, if not, the desert and the PCT await. WWOOFing really sounds wonderful, too. I'm eager to do that the first chance I get. :)


  5. Sorry I get to rambling sometimes, I think my previous comment was a tad bit too long, so I got rid of it. But you get the idea. And like Rambling Taoist said: Whatever you do, following your heart is probably the best course of action to take.

  6. Thanks everyone for your input. I don't mind long comments, Cym, so don't worry about it.

    Basically I'm trying not to stress about it. But sometimes I wonder if I'm too neurotic to be living this free spirited life; I mean, I worry that I worry! Ridiculous!