Wander

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All through my life, up until I finished graduate school, I loved to wander. Go for long aimless walks, long aimless drives, browse books in the bookstore or library for hours, think about nothing in particular and wait to see what came to my mind.

I stopped after graduate school. Not at first, at least not entirely. I stopped driving so much, stopped going to the bookstore so much. I still read and walked. In fact, for about a year after graduate school I walked to the library to pick up books, walked home, read them, and walked back.

Then I started writing again. And stopped reading. I’ve already talked about this. If I tried to read someone else’s words, I just got more inspired to write my own. I went for fewer walks, too, because I became so obsessed with writing. I don’t think that was a bad thing, but I did gain a little bit of weight. Oops.

Then I got into my job, the whole responsibility thing. Working, practicing, thinking about violin in a different way. It became a routine of teaching, practicing, teaching, playing, etc. I wouldn’t exactly say it was boring, just that it was a routine. For a while I went for walks any time I had a gap between students. I walked to the studio to teach. I got up early to walk.

Then at some point I got kind of tired and jaded. I think it was last September, when my neck really started bothering me again. That’s when I got into this whole cycle of feeling like I don’t like violin, don’t like teaching, and whatever other negative stuff I talk about all the time. I stopped walking, stopped reading, and lost my wanderlust. I just robotically went to work, whether teaching or playing, and kind of let myself sink into a rut.

I wasn’t depressed. I still enjoyed most things about my life. I was just bored, I think. Tired of doing the same old thing. I still loved writing, so I latched onto it as THE thing I was doing. Something to care about when everything else had become kind of meh. I’ve been in that same kind of rutty routine ever since.

The only thing that has shaken me out of that routine a little was starting school. Finally, something new. Yeah, it was school again, but different school. A science focus instead of a music focus. Hustling through campus between classes because all of my classes weren’t isolated in one music, theater, and dance building. A new twist on an old experience.

I’ve already written posts about how hard it was for me to settle into being a 28-year-old freshman. I thought going back to school was exciting, but there were things about it that bugged me. That is not the point of this post.

THIS post is about the fact that, now that I’m learning again and seeing new things and having new experiences, I’m slowly climbing out of that old rut. In the last few days I haven’t been able to focus on any one thing. I’ve been thinking about possibilities and how my brain works and how exciting it is to learn new things. I’ve been getting genuinely interested in biology, not just so I can pass exams or get my degree, but because I want to learn.

Since Friday at around 9 in the morning, when I finished a biology exam, I haven’t been able to get into anything. Not writing, not watching TV, not running errands, not cleaning, not studying. I’ve been going for drives and walks, browsing the shelves of the bookstore, and reading the beginnings of interesting books by naturalists. One was by John Muir, who I’ve been learning about in one of my classes. I found it fascinating, and am about to go to the library to see if I can find that book so I can read more.

I feel like I’m waking up again. Like I’m remembering who I am and that an important part of me is a wandering, musing, drifting space cadet who gets lost in her thoughts as often as not. I’ve been trying so hard to be responsible and be focused and do my job and learn new things that I haven’t left myself free to be natural and to learn the things that you can’t put into words, that you can’t learn from books. Those things that come to your mind when you aren’t thinking about anything in particular.

I think those are the most important thoughts I ever have. I don’t know how to explain why, just that when I have those thoughts I learn things about myself that I’d either forgotten or never knew in the first place.

This may all sound like the ramblings of a crazy lady. If it does, fine. Because that’s another thing I’ve been realizing lately. I’ve gone through my life thinking there was something wrong with me because I’m quiet and weird. Then I got to the point where I was okay with being weird. In the last year I’ve kind of been defining myself by my weirdness.

All of those thoughts were wrong. None of it matters. I just am how I am. I don’t need to define it as weirdness or anything else. I don’t need to apologize for it or explain it. Everyone is different. If we weren’t, life would be pretty boring. So I think I need to just be how I am, think how I think, and not worry about people understanding it. I don’t even need to understand it, really. I just need to do what is natural.

I have to thank some new music for my sudden revelations. One of my favorite one-man bands, Radical Face, just came out with a new album that has inspired some of my wandering simply because I can’t stop listening to it, and listening to music while on the move is one of my favorite activities. I think that finding new music by a musician I love is another of my favorite things. Thank you, Branches.

Anyway, partly I’m writing this post because I wanted to share my thoughts on my long-lost, returning state of mind. Partly I’m writing it because I want to go for a walk with Raine, but she’s napping and said she’d go later, so I need something to do in the meantime. Since I can’t focus on my behemoth right now (an odd change of pace for me, since normally I can’t stop thinking about it), I’ll probably check out the library after this. I might want something to read over Thanksgiving break anyway.

On that same note, I haven’t had a single thought about my behemoth in days. DAYS. It’s weird.

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