“When I was fifteen,” Miss Saeki says with a smile, “all I wanted was to go off to some other world, a place beyond anybody’s reach. A place beyond the flow of time.”
“But there’s not a place like that in this world.”
“Exactly. Which is why I’m living here, in this world where things are continually damaged, where the heart is fickle, where time flows past without a break.”
In February of 2014, I published a post called Blossom Where You’re Planted. During that time in Houston, I had come to see that I was pursing the dreams of my 23 year old self which the 30 year old me no longer wanted. I had to reset the course of my intentions: I wanted a career in design, and to be back where I could surf and have easier access to nature.
Two years later and with the great support of my boyfriend, I have accomplished many things. I have traveled to far off kingdoms, surfed off beaches that border jungles, and have had a flourishing freelance design career. I currently have a job that I love — I work as a designer for a small, upscale dinnerware company. My work challenges me, I have gained a wealth of knowledge in overseas manufacturing, and I respect and value the insights of my peers. I feel fortunate to say that I experience great fulfillment in my work.
Not only have I found a job that fulfills me, but I am also back in Santa Monica — close to the ocean once more. Many mornings before work, I paddle out into the cold pacific waters and watch the sunrise over Venice. After ten years of bouncing around the US, I wake up filled with excitement to be back in California where the mountains and the water are at my fingertips.
I chose the quote above because although I have achieved these professional goals and live in an amazing location, my situation is still not perfect (continually damaged), and in my attainment of certain goals, I realize that new desires have slipped into my life (the heart is fickle).
Where things are continually damaged:
Although I live on the coast, David and I now live apart, and the distance has challenged us in unexpected ways. In Hawaii, we were inseparable; adventuring around the island and jointly working on exciting and creative projects. In Houston we were a team — both focused on our careers and encouraging each other along the way. Now, 1500 miles away, our interactions have become an abbreviated curbside, hello-goodbye. Perhaps the most challenging and puzzling aspect of our new situation is that the new situation does not challenge us at all.
My housing situation has also changed: In Houston, David and I shared a 1 bedroom condo in which I worked in complete and absolute solitude. I relished the many uninterrupted hours I used to tinker on my projects. In stark contrast, I now sleep in a twin-sized loft bed in the living room of my mother’s two bedroom apartment. As a resident of the living room, I am understandably obliged to interact with and not sour the happy vibe with all living creatures that step foot into the room.
Where I once had a badass work station with papers, paints, adhesives and various tools at my fingertips, all of my most useful and precious possessions now live on four shelves and 3 boxes in a bookshelf — my boards live in my car. Although this is great for now, it is not my optimal situation where both David and I live together…in a room… with doors.
Where the heart is fickle:
As I have come into my 30’s, I now think about my mortality in terms of aging into a long life, rather than with a monomaniacal focus on my projects and artwork. Ironically, as I grow into my career and into a position to save money, I feel a greater sense of financial insecurity. My expenses are few and I try my best to capitalize on my rent-free living situation; yet I feel the fingers of fiscal anxiety reaching into me. One night, my best friend and I were laughcyring over the sublime & tremendously likely possibility of us growing into little old ladies with a great accumulation of experiences but scraping by with little else.
With the advent of this new need to create financial stability, I find myself starting at a similar place I was when setting out to find my professional niche.
Where time flows past without a break:
Like time, and like waves, desire seems to be a constant companion in my life.
Sometimes, I look out into the ocean and feel a cool emptiness in my stomach. Regardless of how my muscles feel, the waves never tire. They are relentless. I suppose a symmetry between man and nature lies in man’s relentless desire. Desire cyclically wells up in a barreling swell and levels placidly into a fluid and benign mass. Swells roll in at different directions, as desire pivots to claim its place in the direction of my life.
When in the water, I catch some waves, miss others and sometimes take it on the head. Although I want the wave, I don’t attach a great deal of significance to it because I know there will be more. In the same sense, I may choose to let my desires set the course of my intentions but limit its significance, because like the waves, there will always be more.