Monday, January 11, 2010

Stairway to heaven...

You may or may not know that Bill Gates released mosquitoes into the crowd at last year's TED conference. He was trying to recreate at least one condition of the developing world. "Not only poor people should experience this," he said unscrewing the jar of whining insects. While Mr. Gates was making a point about malaria, his gesture, today, reminds me of something far more local. In short: my life.

These are happy days. Sarah and I continue to find new ground, and our free time together has never seemed more alive and sparkling. Work is good. Friends are challenging, entertaining, and full of poorly-masked love. Venice is a dream within a dream. Family grows closer and more wise with age.

So why this burbling underlying feeling dread and encroaching anxiety?

I'm learning that the price of all this contented present is a blurry, less touchable future. When I was miserable, the future was all I had. It was crystal clear. I lived in it. The present was a condition to be endured.

Now the future seems hard to summon. The big dreams have flattened into digital files lingering on my desktop. I want to dive in to them more than anything, but the plate-spinning act of the present keeps me busy. When I think about the future, when I yearn to work on the dreams, all the small niggling demands of the present descend upon me like a swarm of mosquitoes. It's not that these are so important, many of the things I occupy myself with are quite stupid or mundane. But what is important is that they command my attention and distract me from my dreams - just as the mosquitoes can distract you from a beautiful summer sunset.

I won't etch all this in stone. Just a blog entry, a comment on a current configuration. And I'll say this: Anxiety beats depression any day.

I never had to build a bridge to my own future. It was always upon me in an imagined form. Today imagination alone fails to sustain. I simply fall through the cloud that once held me high up in the stratosphere. I know I can't buy a stairway to heaven, but maybe I can borrow one? I promise to return it.

("Umschreibung" by Olafur Eliasson)


Blogger kissyface said...

I'm probably confused and you probably aren't seeking advice, but aren't you now living your "future" dreams at present, and isn't it enough that you are enjoying them and expressing your gratitude for the present perfect?

Perhaps the future is difficult to summon because you are fulfilling it, and the real anxiety is fear that it will be whisked away. From an outside perspective, you seem to be doing everything right, but I'd suggest turning away from the anxiety and trusting that more good things are in store for you.

Sometimes the anxiety is simply the sensation that all these things we wanted are here and carrying us right along.

1:46 PM  

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