Starting Over. . . And I’m not Talking About Stories this Time

I’ve got to got to got to move on, where do you move if what you’re movin’ from is yourself?  -Modest Mouse

Alright. I’m taking a break from writing to air some personal thoughts. Enjoy my catharsis:

I would say that this time in my life is one of transition. But if I’m being honest, the past 5 or so years of my life have felt like a time of transition.

The good news, and the bad news, in some ways, is that I am pretty damn adept at putting myself into other scenarios and perspectives. I can see myself in a more settled position with a good job and a family, and know that that me would long for freedom, for personal time for my hobbies and pursuits. I can see the me that would leave my hometown, go travel again or move somewhere new. It would be invigorating, but I would miss my loved ones, and feel a sense of missing out on precious time pursuing my goals.

I’m 28 years old. Most everyone I love is married, has kids, or is in a serious relationship. Most of the people I know have moved away. If I’m being an honest, I’m a man-child in some ways. Perhaps that’s needless self-degradation–I’ve always been a kid at heart. I knew I would be that way as an adult even when I was very young. . .


But I feel as though I’ve got so much more I want to do and figure out about myself. At 28 with this kind of mindset, you feel alone in a very real way.

Not alone in any sort of sad way, because I know I have so many people that love me, whom I love–people who would do anything for me. (and I, anything for them.)

I feel alone simply in that I am so starkly on my own in a place of change. No longer are the days where I get to hang out with my friends and family regularly, goofing around. I don’t even live near most of them anymore. The people I love are settling in to their families and their lives–a beautiful thing. But I can’t see clearly what I want for myself.

I see the glory of getting married and having kids. I visualize it all the time. But also, I love dearly my personal time, and the freedom of being on my own. I have more hobbies and pursuits than I have time to give to them–god, I feel like I want to learn everything, try everything, just do it all and enjoy the growth that comes with it. Part of me wants to spend my whole life selfishly pursuing every skill and hobby (writing being the chiefest.)

But the desire to get a home, settle in, raise a family is always there. I know in doing so many of my personal pursuits fall away–the sacrifice you make for raising kids (which seems to me to be by all accounts a life-changingly beautiful, incredible thing.)

Other People’s lives seem more interesting ’cause they ain’t mine. -Modest Mouse

I’m not so naive as to think I’m the only 28 year old to think this way. In fact, I’m sure this a very, very common occurrence.

But I feel so powerfully connected to my past, mostly because my past is unilaterally amazing– I’ve had an incredible life by all accounts. Lucky and blessed are not the right words. In poker, we call it a heater when everything is going right. For sure, many things have gone extremely wrong/sideways in my life. But on the whole, I’ve been on a heater for nearly 30 years.

But my enjoyment of the present feels as though it’s being soundly clocked regularly by a cartoonish mallet named “Former Clarity.” I feel old and alone, though I know I’m not. I feel young and goofy as hell at heart, though I know I’m matured and maturing.

I want to start over. Not back in time, but start over anew right now. Clear out the clutter and figure out which rhetoric that’s chiming away inside my brain is true and genuine thought and feeling, and what is fear and paranoia and unfocused memory babble.

When I was younger, I had a clarity on such things. As I get older, everything seems to get more ambiguous. Maybe that’s just what comes from years of learning.

I know that starting over’s not what life’s about, but my thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth. -Modest Mouse

Maybe starting over is all wrong. Maybe there is no such thing as starting over. I think that’s more the truth. But I know assuredly, something is changing for me. I can almost feel it. I just don’t know what the change is yet. It’s like a fragrant aroma that you recognize, but can’t remember the memory connected to the smell, despite how impossibly familiar it is.

In the meantime, I’ll take a deep breath, stop worrying, and let go. I’m old enough now to know sooner or later I will figure it out. That’s how it’s worked in the past. The harder you cling to something, the more you force it out of your fingers. So let go.

-Evan Pickering