I’m currently some 3,000 miles from the offices of The Wilton Bulletin, San Francisco to be exact, so forgive me if my perspective feels a bit skewed; today was 73 degrees Fahrenheit, my thoughts are bleached with the sunshine of irresponsibility and carelessness. I try not to let the vagaries of geography influence my mood, but from this distance almost nothing bearing any resemblance to college decisions or AP testing exists, and so I am in peace, and so am I in agitation.
The restlessness of living permeates everything here; even in the laziness of brunches and late nights I notice the insistence with which people throw themselves into the future, like the vectors Mr. Delzell taught me about. They burst out from their single-point origins into the ether in one continuous direction, projectiles that never feel the force of gravity. This isn’t true, of course. We are all dealing with some weight upon us, but perhaps the façade of flight will suffice when we walk down public streets to or from wherever. No matter the realities, we want you to believe that we have somehow subverted the laws of physics, and are now on a projection path that ends in a place both far away and very beautiful.
The day after this column runs, I’ll be forced to ante up and actually declare the direction in which I’ll be launching myself for the next four years, and what terrifies me most are not the unbreakable pillars of professional institution, it is instead that my future will look exactly like this: busy, moving, regular in its rhythm simply because it must be. There will be no more slow walks in Golden Gate Park, no further pondering on Californian afternoons that stretch out like mewling cats in sunlight, at least not without a motive or a schedule.
I hesitate to say that purpose frightens me; it is, after all, purpose that has driven every action leading to this moment, and even a trivial purpose has its importance. But at the end of it all, I am a born idler, and it troubles me that my idling days draw close to their end. Indecision, my old partner, will either have to leave entirely or accompany me into obscure failure after Wilton ceases to be the place I call home. I know people that can brush away their past connections like burrs because the meadow of new ones just keeps rolling onward ahead of them, and the ground keeps rising up to meet their every sure step. As much as I’d like to share this characteristic, I must say that sitting in the shade has always suited me far better.
Therein lies the anxiety that has resisted placation since the start of this year — I’ve finally succeeded in capturing it in words. And while I’m sure you’re all aware by now that writing is a coping mechanism of mine, no amount of self-expression will lock down where I’ll be when those four years have faded back into the past. My best bet, like that of any vector, is to just keep moving forward through the emptiness of three-dimensional space.