distracted mosaic

I need to take a snapshot of my life. I need to stop for a moment and take a snapshot of this day, of this time, not only of my life in a more restrictive sense, but in a more general and abstract sense. I need to pause and take a deep breath. Somewhere along the way I picked up the ridiculous notions that time is scarce, that there may never be a tomorrow, and that, worst of all, time is money. Which is a flat out lie. There’s always time. And there’s always a tomorrow. And time belongs to us all.

So I need to take a snapshot. It’s mid-October now. I think the last gasp of summer was this past week, and now that the wind’s picking up and the leaves are falling I suspect that autumn is finally here. Autumn. A time of change to be sure, and for myself always a time of personal reflection. A time to look into myself and take stock of what’s going on in my head, in my life.

But I’m distracted. I’m distracted by so many things lately. There are as always larger concerns. There is the war. There is the election. But these feel more like backdrops as of late. (Maybe that’s just the complacency of being a California voter setting in.) More, I’m distracted by friends and family rushing off to do great things &#151 grad school and China and babies and new jobs and weddings and all manner of causes to celebrate. I’m distracted by my own projects &#151 my own grad school, French and Japanese, and work and web sties and reading and my dog and my own circle of friends and travels and all manner of things to dive into whole-heartedly and soak up.

The truth is that this is a very self-conscious rant. I’m getting the distinct impression that someone is actually reading this stuff. Buddhaworld’s been live now for over a year, and I know that at the very least my friends and family have been reading. And according to the statistics I get back, folks from all over the world have at least looked at the damn thing. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that they’re reading these rambling thoughts, too. And sometimes I feel somewhat.. obligated isn’t the right word but it’s in the right direction… to write something. Something that might even border on profound or at least meaningful.

But more often than not I don’t feel particularly profound or meaningful. And other times, particularly when I’m feeling self-conscious, I don’t feel like baring my soul for the world to read in this pretty shabby little site. Which from a certain point of view is counterintuitive. I’ve been told that when I’m feeling isolated and depressed, the last thing I should do is clam up and not express myself. I’ve also been told that I have a penchant for doing just that. For not being expressive enough. But I’m not going to degrade myself too much here for that one. I mean, after all, writing about your feelings on the internet isn’t exactly the best way to express yourself. The best thing to do would be to call up a friend and have a cup of coffee or a drink or something and really let it all go. But that ain’t gonna happen today. Today I have too many things to do. Too many little projects that are distracting me and pulling my mind this way and that.

God, is it November yet?

Why am I so impatient for November? On the one hand, I feel like I’m holding my breath for the election to be over. I’m sick of thinking about it. On the other hand, I’m already looking forward to my birthday, not so much because “it’s my birthday” (which, incidentally lands in the middle of the week this year so I’m not altogether excited about), but because rumor has it there’s going to be a much needed multi-purpose party round that time when I’ll be able to let loose a bit, put some of these projects away for the weekend and have some well-deserved fun. In the meantime it’s work work work.

But I digress. Like I said, I am the definition of distracted today and I’m surprised that I was able to get this much out in one sitting. I think the best course of action at this point would be to just post this damn thing and get on with my day.

I’ve been doing a lot of tinkering behind the scenes lately around here at Buddhaworld. It’s a bitter-sweet sort of gratification, you know. On the one hand, no one sees that stuff (unless you’re a bigger geek than I am), so I don’t hear much in the way of “Good job with that code, man!” On the other hand, it’s deeply satisfying in the way that cleaning my apartment is satisfying. That is, it’s a simple, straight-forward project with a beginning and an end. And I can immediately see the results. There’s none of this long-term commitment of working on a project over the course of weeks, months and years whose final project is nothing more than a loosely thrown together set of ideas which are all abstracted and never really solve anything. Not that I loath being a scholar. I love working with the abstract ideas and developing them and wrestling with them. But sometimes I need some instant gratification. So the satisfaction I get from writing some code no one will ever see is refreshing in comparison.

And maybe that’s what I’m on about today. Maybe that’s the end result of this rant. The recognition that I’m distracted by a million little projects which, all together, add up to a complex and beautiful mosaic. Yeah. I like that idea. I like that as a snapshot of my life here in the middle of October. All these projects and ideas that I’m doing my best to get out, to complete, to add to the overall picture. A work of art, really.

So today I think I’ll pause and appreciate it for it what is. I’ll add it to later.