Saturday, May 3, 2014

On Living

Somewhere in the foggy hours in between two jobs this week I found myself caught up in the formative years of Hunter S. Thompson's life, flipping through the pages of Gonzo, a Thompson biography I incredulously snatched up up at a used book sale this past weekend. Hunter S. Thompson was a man who played life by his own rules and made no apologies for it. He was one of those rare souls who grasped the brevity of life and had the courage to do something about it. For those of us who struggle to come to terms with the latter, he was an icon. Here, I thought, was a man who was alive.

Not just alive, but truly alive. And as I exhaustedly sunk into the couch, my mind sapped of any meaningful thought by the working man's blues, I wondered how long it had been since I truly felt alive. The work week has a way of prying me from those things that make me feel alive, and I realized it had been some time since I had done any writing or hiking or anything really that I was proud of. Living with friends again, too, can discourage me from going out and making something of the day. As it was in college, it can become all too easy to forego that hike or the trip to the used book store or grabbing a notebook for some writing in lieu of another evening spent watching mindless television when the roommates are already beckoning from the sofa.

Feeling truly alive:

-  Bob Seger coming over the radio during a drive down a country road
- An Ernest Hemingway sentence inked across the page of a book
- the mangled sheet of ice during double overtime of sudden-death, playoff hockey
- The crisp, cool shade of the trees draped over the Rouge River
- homemade chili in the Fall
- new romance
- conserving memories by putting them on paper
- the sandlot where we played baseball as kids
- watching the landscape change - farmlands, pine forests, Northern sky - when driving North in Michigan
- hot dogs and baked beans roasted over embers in a campfire on a camping trip

I've never been of the type to feel fulfilled by a job alone. I've worked plenty of them, and have yet to find one that leaves me feeling satisfied with the way I've spent another day that I will never get back. I need to find time to seize the day in between the hours spent on the clock. Time to make a concerted effort at that this weekend, and this summer too.

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