Wow...Sounds great. Sort of unbelievable to think that you actually made it. Like all the obstacles and such that kept coming up ...let alone the human part of being a human being and all those issues.Well...congrats. I really hope you have a great time. You sound like an 8 year old totally ready to "play house" with a vengeance .....GO!!!
Danny, you have not known me long enough.
This sort of thing happens to me all the time. On my occasional visits back to San Francisco, while living in Mexico, I'd run into acquaintances and tell them what I was up to. They'd say, "Wow, you SAID you were moving to Mexico, and then you actually DID it." Like this was something extraordinary.
How unfortunate, not to mention an evil omen for society in general, that so often it IS extraordinary when a person does exactly what they say they're going to do. So often, talk is just blather. People throw propositions into the currents around them, simply to test the response. It's why I've declared an indefinite moratorium on collaborative projects--repeatedly I'd get involved in something, meet with other 'collaborators,' go home and assiduously do exactly what I'd said I would, then turn up at the next meeting to find that everybody else had just been talking. And were perfectly prepared to talk some more, as long as this was all that was expected of them.
But enough of carping. It is nearly impossible to carp when you wake up here:
and the view out the window looks like this:
My darling sister knows me extremely well; she saved all the fun jobs for me. After I got the kitchen clean I was in a dilemma as to which room to attack first--the garden room, which I am converting to a painting studio, the Zen bedroom above (which I am keeping in its Zen state for now, although it requires an almost inhuman restraint on my part. I like simplicity in theory, and I am a big fan of desert camping for its mind-cleansing effects, but in practice my taste tends more toward the baroque) or the Library Loft.
After about half a day of chaotic multi-tasking, the Library Loft won out, because it was the biggest mess and had the most latent potential. It's about half done, now--I got most of the useless junk semi-sorted and stashed somewhere else, the bookshelves arranged, the desk set up with Internet connection, and a theme and some artwork decided upon. Then I took a break to blog. Sitting at a cute little desk in a cute little loft with this view at my right elbow, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to start writing a Stephen King novel, or something.
About this issue of Obstacles, though. Danny, you have got it all wrong. According to the World View of Serena, obstacles are not obstacles as such; they are clues.
You see, I see life as a combination mystery novel and five-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. It is not something I have control over, but something I can possibly influence, by the choices I make in response to it. Additionally, I choose to believe that there is some inner guiding harmony that links it all together. I could very well be wrong about this, but believing that it's all just some random chaos that is out to crush me produces immobility and despair, and thus is not productive.
So, my process in getting myself a month's working vacation in Maine went something like this:
Clue: Feeling of overwhelming Big City burnout.
Clue: Massage practice falling off in summer, due to client base feeling same Big City burnout.
Clue: Sister moving into rambling farmhouse in Maine, requiring help decorating such, and also some company.
Hypothesis: Perhaps spending the month of August in Maine is the way to go.
Clue: Car requires several repairs before long road trip.
Clue: Laptop hard drive crashes; flaky repair service in Queens does not repair it before August 1.
Clue: Potential subletters for August 1 are all shameless flakes; one of them unilaterally re-scheduled an appointment, without consulting me, because he had a job interview in Brooklyn the next day, and didn't want to come all the way out here twice. (And he wants to LIVE here?) Another hemmed and havered for two weeks, and finally called me July 30 and said "Is the apartment still available?" Another said she loved it and would probably take it and disappeared.
Clue: Best friend calls from Wisconsin and says she'll be in New York from August 1-9.
Clue: Sister going to Austin on business from August 1-7.
Hypothesis #2: Perhaps I should postpone my trip until after the first week of August.
Clue: Responsible-seeming person asks to sublet my apartment from August 17-September 18. She is a biochemical engineering Ph.D. student from Cleveland; her boss, a surgeon, informed her that these were the dates she was to look for a job in New York. We talk on the phone for 45 minutes, and she's a go.
Conclusion: Trip to Maine conclusively scheduled for August 17-September 18.
Results: Got to spend lovely week with best friend; got car and computer comfortably overhauled; had plenty of time to clean and organize apartment; have apartment expenses covered for month; get to spend time in Maine in absence of summer tourists.
In addition: Ph.D. student gets housing to suit her needs; friend of sister's, visiting first week in September, in desperate need of bodywork; other, perhaps unknowable, benefits may arise from this concatenation of circumstances. Who can tell? It's a mystery.
Do you see, Danny, how perceiving something as an 'obstacle' is an unnecessary value judgment which merely increases one's stress? Whereas if you take the attitude that any seemingly unwelcome information may be a vital clue as to the direction of the upcoming path, everything works out?
Beliefs, I maintain, are merely tools. You can choose to believe something, act as if it were true, and observe the results. If the results are uniformly chaotic, chances are high that your chosen belief is a crappy tool. If the results are increasingly harmonious, the more you let go your judgments and follow the clues--well, that works for me. Of course, working hypotheses are subject to modification any time they cease to be effective. This is just good science.
Additionally, I'd like to speak to this business of guidance. One of the reasons that it so annoys me when people talk about 'what they're going to do' merely to observe its effect on others, is that this, to me, is a back-asswards way of making decisions. You cannot trust a person who is not operating from his or her core. A person who depends upon the approval of others in order to determine a direction is both unreliable and unhappy. I regard my own inner certainties and inner aversions as the biggest, most non-negotiable clues of all; any external input may affect the peripheral choices I make, but they won't affect the overall direction.
Thus, when I know that I am miserable in the city and I need a friggin' vacation, I will find a way to take that vacation. It might have involved, worst-case, availing myself of the unconscionable amount of credit that foolish industries persist in throwing at me; it might have involved curtailing my trip; it might have involved a precipitously permanent departure from the city, if nothing else transpired. But there was never any real danger that I wouldn't do it.