At the start I applied without ever hearing word. Months would go by and the same jobs would still be freshly posted to the boards. It felt as if we were all spinning wheels in an empty room. Ghost opportunities against a quarantined world.
On LinkedIn, among all the furloughed and newly wfh available, I felt grateful to make connection. To reach out to a total stranger and gain response felt like a breakthrough achievement. I was unaccustomed to it but pushed myself into that unknown. Zoom calls about job opportunities kept my hope afloat.
For months I applied. 15–20 jobs a week. Had meetings, made inroads. I’d get call backs and hiring manager interviews. Then weeks without word. I’d write thoughtful emails. I’d ask for feedback, for insight, for word. My spreadsheet grew. I’d take some amount of joy, by some record of achievement, in changing “Application Status” over to DENIED. …
Notes on living well
1. Happiness is within.
Not within because it’s not without, but because it’s within your own understanding of self. An acceptance of all your selves, and an enjoyment of the journey you are experiencing in life. The outside matters, and causes us to feel, but the inside is what we own, and what makes us joyous in knowing ourselves.
2. You cannot know the destination any more than your past could have known how great it would feel to be who you are today. Accept that you are on a journey, most of which you will not control. …
One small point on an island.
I've always admired the clear sense of humility and truism in Tim Kreider's writing.
If you haven’t read anything by this complex human, start with his book, We Learn Nothing.
I made my way to his collection of short essays after an awful breakup, at an early stage in the recovery process, when youth and inexperience needed those words most. And I found them there, usefully sliced to metaphoric perfection, slender with calm humor and wit, sewn gently in self-awareness, tied to my own unnerving flaws and discontent. …
One man’s attempt at dating and purchasing groceries more efficiently
If you’ve ever been to a Trader Joe’s in New York City on a Monday you’ll know that by the time you get in the door and put your hands on a cart, the line for the register has wrapped around almost every aisle. And well, possibly, while you’re still on this line, while you’re still single and on this line, you’ll consider how inefficient the experience of free choice is.
Maybe you are not single. Maybe you are with someone right this very moment, alternately reading every other word to each other, like people who are not-single do. Maybe your partner trusts and treats you lovingly, but you may still agree, that being single in Trader Joe’s is an obvious disadvantage. …
Coming down to it, just around a bend.
About that end.
Unimagined, somehow planned.
Nostalgia on completion.
Sometimes the temperature of the air brings with it recollection. Some part of the season, a range of emotions, the moisture in Johannesburg at 18 when the year was still 99.
How much of it can we keep?
It was all just living.
And the present.
I’ve got you coming back to it too. Like evenings before catching flights. Summer lakeside nights. Like father and son flying kites. Riding bikes down hill.
As if they saw all of life slightly differently, thin as can be, entirely differently. String theory, alternate plains, both of us still living but not in any of these worlds the same.
Some may see the interconnectness, as if while dying aware of a return journey, one universal truth underlying, a thin veil, what we may have never said in person, what we know to have felt, but that we were all one and the same.
That would be my claim. But the fabric of her world could be made entirely differently. The same people are in it but the meaning not the same. One stitch over, thread leads elsewhere. Self secluded and aware. Hiding there. Who are we to know how she sees it. Perhaps she's always been all alone. …
Perspectives from a series of unfortunate events.
It crossed my mind once it started to rain, after I was drenched and cold and uncomfortable. That’s when it hit me, that there was something to this pain. I continued to drive, logging through words in my mind. "Each droplet, bullets to softened armor." The pellets were hitting that hard, making their cold mark, solid by way of moisture. I was pleased with myself but that was all I got.
When the day got worse I felt the hits, but kept the thought, at the very least, something to write about.
There is nothing like having nothing to write about. …
The long road of missteps
It started as a dream. In it I was flying with wingsuit, a group of us training for landing. In the morning I repeated the dream to a friend, standing in the bird’s rib Oculus, leaning on a badly designed railing. I recalled the specifics of the landscape, the exact shape and curve of the hill, the outcut turned and lined with pine trees, then off into the plateau. The plateau opened near a bend in the road, where we turned and glided overhead, silenced in approach. …
I loved someone. I still feel trace amounts of love for that someone. We are no longer in contact. Silence lightens the memories you hold. It has been years since then. But late afternoon, as the grey clouds moved in, and the cold wet air came across the field I was in, I thought of her.
I thought of her and myself, who we may or may not have been. Only a fleeting thought, as if known from an instinct within. …
Farm life and city dwelling
Depending on that which is in your line of vision.
Idle. On farmland.
I was looking at landscape from above. Takeoff and landing. Wondering what life below were like. Farms spreading out endless, with occasional home near roadway. Roadways cutting the landscape, etched in squares, way out into the distance.
It’s like a map; the farther away from the surface the more you see. The closer to the house the more that one road is of importance.
I am in it now, treelined drive to French farmhouse. Old terrain. Green out for a mile. Houses of stone and clay. When I wake up in the morning I am not on a farm within the farmland, but on this farm, with these farmers, with today’s tasks at hand. …