Monday, September 20, 2010

Fresh Dreams

          I want to be moving beyond mere aimlessness. I feel it’s time. This blog and all this soul-searching reminiscence started out to be about reinvention. I am as yet un-reinvented. I still don’t have a clear notion what I want to be when I grow up. Ironically this is the thing I hoped would clarify itself while I documented my aimlessness. Maybe I was wrong to think that I could get somewhere without a plan. Maybe aimlessness isn’t such a great idea in the arena of self-actualization. Aimlessness is more of a retirement strategy than it is a career strategy. Aimlessness involves too much waiting around for good stuff to happen. It is too passive. It relies too much on dumb luck and not enough on rainmaking—too bad then, really, that I’m so good at it.
          To demonstrate my singular lack of focus, here are the current irons I have in the fire:
  1. This blog, which I hope to turn into a book—it’s already long enough, but it lacks any kind of cohesion. It’s not just aimless. It’s pointless.
  2. Two…er…three novels
    1. The first, and most nearly finished except for the fact that I pretty much have to start over because most of my plot points have been undermined by—you guessed it—aimlessness, features an ensemble of characters from a ‘gentlemen’s club’ who get involved in some bad business and accidentally sink Tampa’s annual Gasparilla celebration.
    2. The second, and possibly most interesting, features a burned out community college English professor who attempts a career change into stand-up comedy and has to be rescued from his mid-life crisis by a women’s roller derby team.
    3. The third, and possibly most realistic, centers on a time-travel chase of Martin Borman to prevent him from altering history to the point of changing the outcome of World War II.
  3. A budding photography business that involves selling large metallic paper prints out of a tent at local markets and arts and craft shows as well as offering them online. I have already put some of them up at Zazzle, and you can look at them and purchase them by clicking on the Aimless Merchandise links to the right. Here are some more. 

  4. Becoming a kayak fishing guide in the Indian River Lagoon, targeting redfish, trout, snook, and pompano. This last is perhaps more fanciful than the other pursuits because I don’t own a kayak, nor have I yet caught any of these fish myself. At the moment this is more like being distracted from real goals by a bright shiny object. I have an irresistible attraction to fishing tackle. I would rather buy fishing tackle than almost any other thing I can think of. I love the bright colors and lugubrious precision of the stuff. It seems a shame to muck it all up by taking it into the proximity of salt water fish. This video will get your heart pumping. When your respiration returns to normal, you will be left with some appreciation of my particular problem.

So how am I to decide among all these too attractive alternatives? How do I pick one to focus on to the exclusion of the others? Do I need to do that? Do I need to pick one thing to be or can I be everything I want to be. Can I be okay at several things, and not be very, very good at any of them? I remember an old method for making up one’s mind between two seemingly equal alternatives. Just choose one. If you immediately regret not choosing the other, you chose incorrectly.
In my experience though, this only works if you then remain firmly committed to the wrong choice. Changing your mind when you think you’ve chosen incorrectly only makes you regret not staying the course with the wrong choice. If you’re introspective at all, you never figure out which choice was, or would have been, the right one. Only by committing irrevocably to the first choice you made, and only when in so making you realize that you have chosen incorrectly, can you know with any certainty what the correct choice would have been. Unfortunately you didn’t make it. If you don’t regret your choice, or if you don’t remain committed to the wrong one, you will never know with any certainty what the right choice was. So the only true path to certainty is to be wrong and to remain wrong. Regrettably, this also may be the one true path to failure. Or I could just do everything at once and hope for the best. There's really no escaping that my true talent is for aimlessness.



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