anna and I had a long talk last night about what the hell we’re doing with ourselves in turkey. important conclusions reached–america is a country which encourages you to stay in one place. it’s set up so you lock like a barnacle on some fixed location and let detritus collect around you. It sounds sort of negative like that huh. but she has a lot of friends in florida who can’t afford to live anywhere else except with their parents (and I have friends in similar situations as well). In a place like florida or alaska, you have to get a car, which ties you to a place, and a heavy american lease, which ties you to a place.
you know, the most excited I’ve ever been for the future was right after I graduated college, and I just could see it. I’ve never really been able to see beyond maybe a year or so. (the biggest difference between me now and my younger self is that I have more faith that things will materialize if I pay attention, but it caused me a lot of stress back then). I was thinking–here I am in seattle, I’ve always wanted to be an actor and become an artistic force–before I went to college, i imagined a combination where philosophy would be the research to fuel my theater work–and I realized I had all the time and power and energy to make that sort of thing happen. It was really exciting and I could see it. Then I gave it up.
That really bothered me for a long time. Why would I do that? I gave up that future — again, not just a dream, but something which I could see and feel so near to me, something which gave me a lot of hope — to basically be homeless on a train for four months or so. And then Georgia, and then (seattle and AK again and) Turkey.
I guess my life experience had been sort of narrow. If I had stayed, I would have just wondered the whole time what it would have been like, to travel around, as my priorities would have been tied to where I was. The price, anna and I discussed, for living as expats (especially in Istanbul, the zaniest of cities) is that we live in a liquid uncertainty. I have no idea what will happen next. That keeps me very humble and pretty content, usually. Living in the US and doing it right, for me, would have meant knowing exactly what was going to happen.
Younger ernie really wanted to know what he was about. Very obsessed with the meaning of life, many years spent certain that once he figured it all out, he would finally move forward on Changing the World. Given the choice of a future he understood and a future he didn’t, guess which he chose. It was the only choice.