"Not everything moving is chasing. Not everything running is hiding or fleeing", said VJ in his comment on his last post.
Thanks, VJ. You have managed to draw me out of my silence for yet another self-styled Namaste rant. Here goes:
I am at my very best in a moving vehicle. Planes, trains, automobiles, you name it. I am particularly good at sitting still for exceptional lengths of time; I am even better at sitting still when in transit from somewhere to somewhere else. The adventurous child in me finds this very exciting. In fact, it is little wonder that I get this sense of momentum from my childhood: Some of my best, self-sustaining memories are the long hours of travel that it took to visit my favorite, far-flung relatives. By the time I was 12, I was such a good, little traveler that my rather eccentric, white haired great-aunt used to take me on road trips with her just for the company. For the record, yes, I am terrific company. Why? Because I enjoy looking out of the window and making up stories in my head more than chatting away about nothing. I speak when I have something constructive to say, which doesn't make for a lot of speaking, to be honest. I also have a bladder of steel, but we can leave that for another post.
I am also at my best when I am being productive. Those six weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday? Not my best. Not at all. Sure, I had elaborate plans to get a bunch of work done, but I really only got about 1/10th of everything accomplished. Why? Because I was spinning without direction. I wasn't moving from Point A to Point B, and to make matters worse, I didn't even like where I was. Yes, I am one of those unique people who can make up her mind to be exceedingly happy just about anywhere. This decision, however, is fully contingent upon my solitude. I am great at making myself happy. It's when I am left with the destabilizing task of making inherently unhappy people happy around me that I begin to break down.
For this reason, I am not at my best when I am not moving towards a goal. The goal itself need not be a physical destination, but it does need to be an attainable "something" that makes me reach. In that reaching, whether it is writing 5 pages a day, or completely reorganizing a course syllabus, or simply planning a lovely dinner and shopping for a few ingredients, I find my sense of purpose. Ultimately, this leads to a feeling of living in the moment, even though the irony is that living in the moment requires me to be forward-facing.
Perhaps that's the beauty of travel. Perhaps this is why I have allowed my love of travel to infuse the constant unfolding of this beautiful place that I tenderly nurture, called my present tense. At the moment, I find myself reaching for a great deal of things, both personally and professionally. Yet, in the end, I am happy to say that I am just living in this moment.