I’m a creature whose mind wakes up instantly when my body does. I wonder about the moment of waking. What makes your body finally decide to stop sleeping and accept consciousness? This morning I was dreaming that I was forcing my eyes open with my fingers but they refused to see. Falling on a couch, I suddenly became conscious of my breathing and the fact that I was paralyzed in a dream. My mind was awake. My body was very asleep. Most of the time when this happens I can’t breathe, so it’s a mad dash– my brain is screaming “Move arm! Move leg! Move anything! Wake up!” Eventually when I manage to move a limb I wake up as if bursting from a depth below the water, and I’m gasping for air. So thank God this morning I was breathing in my dream, but calmly telling myself, “Move arm! Move leg! Move head!” I remember thinking “Wow this is a long time to be paralyzed in a dream, but at least I can breathe.” Finally I moved my head and I was wide awake.
You might think, “Wow. What a relief. He’s awake,” but then while I’m laying there I start thinking about life, and I feel like I can’t breathe, but in a figure-of-speech sort of way, which I prefer to not being able to physically breathe, but still…
My thoughts are like the dog that sits at the foot of my bed, waiting all morning for me to move. As soon as one eye peeps open my brain is like “AHHH! He’s awake! Now Jackson, are you going to move to Atlanta, or was it Austin? Oh God! You don’t have a job and it’s been 6 months since graduation. You told yourself ‘As long as I have at least $1000 cushion in the bank I’ll feel safe,’ but now you’ve dropped a few hundred dollars below that. You haven’t written anything yet. You should write a book, but you’ll need a job to support yourself while you write. So what’s a job you wouldn’t absolutely hate?”
For my own benefit I will stop the re-enactment. This morning all I wanted to be was one of these people who move off to the woods. I kept hearing the Coldplay lyrics in my head, “I want to live in a wooden house. Making more friends would be easy. I want to live where the sun goes down…” I have no desire to enter into a system of jobs where we all are competing and defining ourselves by dollars and promotions.
Over and over the questions come. What if there is something right under my nose that would make me happy? What if there is a job, and if I could only THINK of that job I would have a moment where everything aligned like stars and I could answer the simple but horrible question, “So what are you doing with your life?”