Friday, September 07, 2007

. . .

Times are transition-y and weird.

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Everyone is at different levels of adult-i-ness right now, all of which are appropriate for our age. I just learned that a friend from high school bought a house. My last purchase, which seemed like a big deal too, was a quiche pan.
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Last weekend, a friend was talking about spending an entire year feeling detached, I suppose intentionally, with the justification, "This isn't permanent." These physical surroundings, this living space, this routine, and these people - this isn't permanent. There's no point in getting attached, or there's no duty required of me to get attached. )That last sentence was mine entirely, not what my friend said.) I've just been reflecting, ever since, on this idea of detachment. It was interesting that someone would admit to it, especially one so long-lasting. I can't say I haven't felt that way, which is why I have been thinking about it (particularly the sentence that I added in.) The funny thing is that I can't remember exactly what I was being detached about. I guess that's the nature of the thing, isn't it?
Anyway, I was thinking about why people do this. What are the reasons we would intentionally, or at least - in a way over which we have control - remove ourselves from situations? The easy answer is, "To avoid getting hurt." Is this valid? What I mean is, should people do this?

Is there ever a good reason to limit one's own capacity to feel, and therefore experience? I don't mean detaching from something traumatic; I mean detaching from a situation with good and bad, not allowing oneself to experience any of it - good, bad, other. Things like a transitory period in life.

A slight tangent - it's weird the things that can feel like a Period In One's Life. A chapter. It's interesting how a three-day camping trip can seem as substantial as a period of six months working at the same job.

(For example, I used to reflect in some ways I could not put into words how strange it was that I would work at the software company for the summer, go to school for three months and experience a "chapter," with a beginning, middle, end, and all kinds of intellectual and emotional growth or at least, adventures - things that become stories - and then I would return to the office and find that everything and everyone was unchanged. It put things into perspective. For me, a SEMESTER seemed like a long time, and I felt like I was sooooo much different, but for most of the world it was simply three months.)

(Or when you see friends that you haven't seen in awhile, and they treat you exactly the same. There's this inner adolescent that wants to assert, "Hey! Haven't you noticed that I'm different!? Don't you see how I differently? Use different vocabulary? Have new inside jokes and slang? Make references to different current events and great thinkers/writers/whatevers? HEY!" I guess it's a little humbling to have them treat you the same way, but it's also a reminder that as much as we grow, we're still the same people. Growth and change are two different things, I guess. Anyway, we're still the same people and this isn't necessarily bad.
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So anyway, detachment. There are so many times when it's acceptable to do this. I think even if we don't put it into words, we might think, oh it's ok that soandso is being standoffish, or whatever. He or she doesn't want to get too close, because he or she is leaving soon. I think this is often so unrealistic! I guess what I'm getting at is, maybe it's better to plunge into things emotionally, to be fully present for things such as meetings with other individuals. To allow oneself to like people, to become friends, to become attached.

This summer - well, two weeks ago - when I was getting ready to leave my job, I was thinking how I really hoped the friends I had made there would want to stay in touch, stay friends. Not just be friends of convenience, because we were in an office together and it made sense to eat lunch together and therefore, converse and therefore, learn about each other's lives...but as soon as we find some other people to fill that niche, we can move on.
I want to look at the people I meet as unique and not just interchangeable parts.
Anyway, I was glad when they all expressed some kind of interest in staying in touch.

So, this is what's on my mind right now. I am wondering how much I have missed out on by being detached, by refusing to acknowledge what was right in front of me, and how much I can consciously change this without being a total weirdo. I guess on some level I have acknowledged that this life I have now may be temporary - this living situation, this academic and work situation, these friends who are physically close. In a year and three months, I could be anywhere. I supposed I have decided that I don't want to treat it that way. I don't want to half-live this temporary life, this little chapter.

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