I feel like this is the first time since getting off the boat that I’ve been able to think clearly, been able to breathe. Some days it feels like my life is being held together with zip ties, nothing solid or certain or remotely comprehensible. I totally underestimated how difficult it was going to be to cull my belongings, a mountain of minutiae that I haven’t been able to rustle up since at least college, never quite having had enough emotional space, or the luxury of time. What’s throwing me the most is the birthday cards from my parents that I’ve kept over the years, holiday cards and notes full of well-wishes from old family friends or relatives who are no longer alive; pictures of me as a child with my grandparents; a note to my mother from my father; my first tiny tooth in a tiny box among the accumulated shadows of a lifetime up to this day. What do I do with things like that? I’m afraid I don’t know. But all of the junk I’ve kept, that I have no idea why I kept – that’s been easy to toss. You could supply a small country with the boxes full of God-knows-what that I dropped off at the Goodwill last weekend. So it will continue until I have a living space that contains only what is useful. Unnecessary clutter stifles creativity.
And now I’m on a plane headed to the Bay Area to celebrate Russian Christmas and see my parents, brothers, and best friend. It felt good when the plane left the ground; like an invisible hand closing around my rib cage, lifting me straight into the sky, into something new. I didn’t know how I’d like the idea of this quick excursion south, but I’m thinking it will probably be a good thing.
The weeks of my last hitch, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, were helpful; I’ve been struggling to get on top of the Valdez routine, and I was also expected to start taking on training chief mate responsibilities as well. It was a reality check for me, as it ended with a rather painful and very beneficial eval from a captain I trust and respect. Armed with a clearer view of where my energies need to be directed, I think I can go back and start my next hitch with a little more enthusiasm for the opportunities that wait for me in Valdez. Working in Alaska has made me so happy; truly I have nothing to be afraid of.
I wrote down a few thoughts here and there last month, and I wanted to post them but couldn’t bring myself to step up and talk to the outside world. I’ll share them here soon.
Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!