I’ve been spending some time recently thinking about my life, and its direction, and ultimately where I’m heading. Perhaps it’s this new law-school thing, or setting off for a new life at the other extreme end of the country. Perhaps it’s partly spawned by my own fear of change, or the trapped feeling I think I am escaping by yet another move. it just seems my life continues to move in spirals, and I want to know why. Why do i get this sense of wanting to achieve? Why do I then feel trapped by that achievement, and an intense urge to move on to the next thing? Why are all of us trapped in this larger cycle of acquiring things, or getting that better job, or marking our status in some other significant way? What are we really trying to hold on to?
I come to the conclusion again and again that there’s a great number of things I can do without. I can do without a house – I would be content to rent for the rest of my life. I can do without the stuff-trappings of suburban life. I can do without a garden, even though I don’t want to. I can do without a fireplace, porches, a dishwasher, ice cream, candles, bookshelves, and garlic. Eventually I will probably have to do without my parents, and I will deal with that. I can do without time to myself or time enough to consider all the long term implications of my decisions. And yet, I have this great desire to hang on to the markers of my life, both tangible and intangible. I build up picture albums of the people and things important to me. I tell myself stories, post on this blog, and in a hundred other ways seek to preserve things of value. I collect all the patterns of a life, building my self image into it, only to feel more and more hidebound as time wheels on. Eventually I ask myself what I’m doing here and how I can get out. Freedom beckons and I run to it, damaging some of the life I’ve built up along the way. And for what? Am I really free in the end, or do I just fall back into the same habits and patterns again without choice.
The only solution I can come up with is that I can’t help but be a Cotterpin. I’m a builder by nature. I am happiest making something – knitting, baking, building my own house, sand castling, or working on some other constructive project. At the same time, I am not satisfied being identified by objects. Once I begin to feel that I am only known as the builder of certain things, that there isn’t enough structural flex to allow me to be percieved differently, of course I feel trapped. I’m not just a Doozer, after all. I’m a little bit of a Fraggle, too. Until I can build without having to destroy, I guess that personality will remain split. Regardless, I always come back to being a builder. I guess the Doozer in me is stronger.