They Didn’t Tell Me About the Brain Knots

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Brain knots. Thought tangles. Spaghetti mind.

I have used all three of those terms in the last week to describe the heavy cramping feeling invading my head space. I have an itchy feeling it’s what they call “stress,” although I normally refer to these episodes as an existential crisis. I’m not old enough for midlife ones yet.

It has been one of those fun weeks where I felt, upon driving home late one night, that I could split myself into five different people. They would each have the dreams and drive they needed to live their lives. The likes, dislikes, passions and intentions that could take up every one of those elusive 24 hours in a day. But I can’t split myself into five people, and all those thoughts and dreams and intentions collided into a giant stress-ball in my one brain.

I think this must be a common feeling, because there are six billion people in the world, and I’m sure a lot of them are like me. All those decisions and indecisions and the desires pulling you every which way like a personal hurricane.

So what do you want to be when you grow up?

A scientist, artist, traveler, entertainer, woodcarver, builder, gardener, gamer? Because I think I would choose every single one of those if I could, and believe me, the list goes on.

But that’s the beauty of choosing to be a writer. I am going to take all of those things, I’m going to bundle them into a great big ball and I will spend the rest of my life telling the stories of where all they take me.

Now hold me to it.

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In the Bleak Midwinter

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Winter. Those dim, cold months of short days and long nights. We have kept inside so much from the snow and cold, building up our warm cocoon of blankets and frosty windows.
And we have been scheming.

Appalachian Trail 2015! Already two years in the making. It started with a handful of change Levi had collected from work. He jingled it into a giant empty pickle jar and plunked it on the counter.

“This is for the Appalachian Trail.”

And we’ve been doing it ever since. On slow shifts of serving when people leave piles of coins on the table there is the comforting knowledge that those noisy bits of change in my pocket get emptied into our jar of dreaming. It’s important having this plan, it’s something to talk about when we’re tired and feeling a little hopeless with life.

Or to write about when the thought of homework and another year and a half of school is frustrating and old. Which is also a good time for looking up the perfect lightweight backpack!

Granite Gear Crown VC 60

For a touch of technicality, but as quite an amateur, I like this pack because it looks to be a lovely blend of lightweight comfort and durability. I’m hoping to break it in with a wintery Spring Break hike in a few weeks.

What dreams keep you warm and hopeful through the short days of winter?

A string of colored beads

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Within the first year of our marriage we have experienced and learned a great number of things. From snowy backpacking trips, to lonely evenings filled with the moving, unbearable and beautiful story of Battlestar Galactica we are taking in life one day at a time, sometimes with an apathetic sip and sometimes with a gulp that is so much and so clear it is a little overwhelming. Over an uncharted course of hesitant decisions and sudden changes we have stumbled into a new school, new (but familiar) jobs, and the third new apartment of 2013. And we have learned more and more what we have suspected for a long time: this is life as we love it best, unexpected and simple.

Plans are tricky, and when we make plans we often find ourselves changing our minds halfway through because Levi is really craving Taco Bell, or the laundry room flooded or we are suddenly summoned to watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy right when we are climbing into bed. So plans don’t generally work well for us, but maps are cool. When you look at a map one of the fun parts is seeing how many different ways you can take to get to the same place. It all changes depending on if you’d rather take the scenic route, not pay tolls or arrive at your destination A.S.A.P.

Well, we are people who like to take the scenic routes (we also like to not pay tolls, a sadly inevitable part of life). We hope that these scenic routes help us discover new adventures, tell new stories and keep us always exploring our surroundings.

So here we be: a $200 car, less than $100 to our names, a lot of bills and enormous dreams but we are off to find and experience the most interesting life that money can’t buy.

Hooray 2014!