Friday, January 19, 2007
I have managed three hours of sleep; I awoke with another sinus headache and this time, the huffing of warm salt water did nothing but get my shirt wet. So, here I am, double posting.

I had this really funny dream during my three hours of respite, in which Michael and I were traveling through a developing country, and we didn't have the proper identification to drive a car, so we had to rely on these natives who were up to no good, so Michael stole an electric handcart. In my dream, this handcart turned into some kind of soapbox racer with a handbrake, and while we were unloading groceries from the handcart into a stolen taxi (I'm a thief in my dreams, obviously), Michael forgot to set the handbrake and the cart crashed into a truck and subuaru, totaling the handcart and the subuaru, but not the truck.

I woke up thinking about traveling.

During the past few days of absolute misery and sinusitis, I began reading Ghost Rider:Travels on the Healing Road by Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist of the band Rush. If you are a woman and have not only heard OF this band, but HEARD the band, you are by far a better woman than I, because I hate Rush and their ten minute long, monotonous ballads about the Lord of the Rings. I have managed to find one website dedicated to all (five) of Rush's female fans. Anyway, I picked up the book because nothing else was doing.
I'm not in love with it, mind you. The writing suffers a tad bit and I'm not enthralled, but I've come to understand Peart's philosophy about the traveler and the tourist, and how these two beasts can be so different. The traveler gets dirty and sore and tired, while the tourist rests between soft, clean sheets. The traveler finds the gravel, muddy road and drives down it even though he knows no one traverses the road, and if his vehicle get stuck somewhere, he's going to have to bail himself out. The tourist sees the sights from an airconditioned bus on a paved and cushy highway.

I am a tourist when it comes to traveling. I don't do dirt or fear or extreme outdoor sports or anything that may involve a hospital visit or cholera. Perhaps this is a rather philistinism way to see the world, but I figure if I can take a silly tour bus ride and find it interesting, then I really don't need to be hiking through the outback of some uncivilized place, hoping for fresh water. So, I suck, Neil Peart. Sorry.

I'm coming to a point, and if only two people read this, then God Bless You.

What is scary to admit is that people can become tourists of their own lives. I think this has happened to me, somewhat. I have been waiting for things to happen TO me, and have not been proactive in many facets of my life. I can see that in my work, and my attitude regarding Michigan (I'm not taking responsibility for THAT decision, even though I'm all for it--it's Michael's deal...), and my attitude about losing weight (let's just see what happens!) and my attitude about smoking (it's not killing me...yet). All of these things I think about, and I'm letting them happen to me, rather than ME happening to THEM.

In 2001, I attempted suicide and was smart enough to make a phone call to a helpline before I stuck a knife in both arms. I was young and heartbroken and lonely and stressed out and ashamed of all sorts of devious, college antics. I wound up in the psych ward of a hospital for three days, and that stay could be a whole book unto itself, but this is what I figured out when I left: life is a choice.

We have been given this glorious opportunity, through God or nature or whatever, to live. So often, we forget that life is an option. There is always a way out of life. There is booze, or sex addictions, or shopping addictions, or addictions to religion. There is suicide, the most obvious choice against life. There is degradation and suffering, battery and abuse. There is TV-watching and never leaving the house. These are all choices, and they are choices we don't have to make. We can become travelers in our own lives, instead of tourists. Now, don't mis-interpret my words: the person who takes the final plunge of suicide had DECIDED something, which is entirely her right. She has said, "Nope. I don't want to fade out in alcohol or food or TV-watching. I'm just going to get it over with right NOW." Okay. But what she misses are these golden opportunities to get dirty, to travel the un-traversed path, to scream from the pinnacle of her own life!

It is my resolution, then, for 2007, to be a traveler of my life. It took me awhile to come up with a resolution this year, mainly because I think resolutions are silly and metaphorical rather than useful and logical. But logic isn't the goal, this year. Living is the goal. Choosing life once more rather than the isolation of past months. Choosing something more meaningful than the self-absorption of weight loss and gain. Choosing to do more than just exist, and breathe.

So if you made it all the way through this writing, I would ask you to do the same: choose life. Or, choose not to choose life. But don't be a tourist of your own fragile days. We just don't have the leisure time for tourism. There's just too much to do.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
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    What I Live By:
    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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