Earlier today I signed up for a Georgia library card. And I’ve been giddy ever since.
I’ve wanted one for a while now (note: since I moved here in June, but even more since I finished East of Eden a few weeks ago), but I haven’t had the time or when I did the library was closed or I forgot to bring a proof of address and yadda yadda.
Today my dream came true – I finally have access to a vast array of books, movies, music, magazines – ALL FOR FREE. Yes, please.
Something about having a library card makes me feel more like myself.
Lately, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. When one part of my life gets thrown off I end up letting everything go haywire. Reading, relationships, healthy eating habits, spiritual disciplines, errands, entertainment, nightly walks, laundry, flossing, blogging, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
if I can’t do one of them, I don’t do any of them. I’d like to learn how to live a more balanced life, if possible. But what does that look like? I’m coming to the conclusion that I have to let something go. That “something” seems to be relationships – I guess I can’t be best friends with everyone. So I make up my mind not to be…but that feels countercultural to who I am.
Basically, I don’t know what to do. I can tell I’m changing – that my desires in life, for life, are changing. This confuses and terrifies me. There’s a big, interesting world out there – I’m living in Gainesville, Georgia and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. Wait…what?
I want to want the old things I wanted, but the truth is I don’t want them anymore. My dreams are different now. I’m sad to leave those old dreams behind – I feel like I’m losing a part of myself with them. Is this what it means to grow up, dammit?
A few weeks ago I was in Starbucks reading East of Eden when I read this paragraph. It left me in tears:
Every man has a retirement picture in which he does those things he never had time to do – make the journeys, reads the neglected books he always pretended to have read. For many years the sheriff dreamed of spending the shining time hunting and fishing – wandering in the Santa Lucia range, camping by half-remembered streams. And now that is was almost time he knew he didn’t want to do it. Sleeping on the ground would make his legs ache. He remembered how heavy a deer is and how hard it is to carry the dangling limp body from the place of the kill. And, frankly, he didn’t care for venison anyway. Madame Reynaud could soak it in wine and lace it with spice, but, hell, an old shoe would taste good with that treatment.
Oh gosh, my heart just about broke when I read that. My heart broke for the sheriff, for myself, for everyone who’s ever suffered from a dissipated dream.
Last fall I sat outside a Diary Queen with my best friend from high school. We used to frequent this DQ after school – we’d split a banana split (or maybe we each ordered our own? Probably.) As we sat there last fall we updated each other on the people we had become. She told me about how she had recently been offered her dream job – a position with a prestigious dance company that performs all over the world. It was everything she had worked for in college – all the sweat and tears and late night rehearsals.
She told me about how she turned it down. She had fallen in love – they had just moved into a cabin in the woods. He supported her joining the company, but she didn’t want to leave him or the life they had created together. Being with him in the woods was her new dream – turning down the dance company wasn’t a difficult decision.
“I didn’t plan to fall in love,” I remember her saying. “But I’m happy.”
I don’t think I understood the complexity (the simplicity?) of what she was saying. Only now do I have a glimpse into what she meant when she talked about her changing desires, about how she no longer wanted what she had always wanted.
This whole idea of reformed dreams fills me with sorrow. And hope. And confusion for being both sorrowful and hopeful.
I think that’s partly why the library card thrilled me so.
At least some things never change.