Today I rode my bike. I packed a sandwich, filled my water bottle, grabbed my camera, and headed west. I didn’t get as far as I originally wanted, but I don’t care. I just wanted to go riding.
I have been feeling incredibly isolated and alone lately. I miss my friends way too much and not having a job has really put a damper on my summer. I feel purposeless and friendless. At school, I have certain things I need to do each day and I am the only one responsible for them. I can’t put them off because there is no one else to do them. At home, I have seemingly infinite time so I say, “I’ll just do it later”. Like laundry. At school in the dorms, doing laundry is much more of an ordeal than it is at home. It takes about two hours, and requires you to carry your hamper down to the tunnels, and go back and forth several times. I spent every spare second thinking about when I would have time to do laundry. At home it is not a big deal, I just have to get it to the basement. I don’t have to stake out a dryer and there is always a washing machine awaiting me. While I’m home I don’t have to budget my time like I do at school, so I get lazy.
However, I read an article recently about the pressures we put on ourselves to be “busy” and it got me thinking about my own predicament. It’s a badge of honor to be “busy”, because we perceive it to mean that we are needed and have a purpose in life. I’m not busy, in fact, I am completely free. Yes, I have days that are booked but they are few and far between. I miss my friends from school and I miss having a schedule. Everyone else has a job, they are “busy”. I feel left out and like a slacker. I’m not a slacker.
I told my brother about all this last week and he told me to start riding my bike to different places. So today I did. It was only about 8.5 miles total, but it was what I needed.
The ride itself was uneventful. It took me through the well-to-do neighborhoods of Rocky River. I took some photos, looked for interesting patterns of light. The light was sort of harsh so nothing really came out except for the one above. However, as uneventful as it was it gave me the time to work through all of the things that have been bothering me lately.
I ended up where I always seem to end up: the shores of Lake Erie. It is one of my favorite places in the world, so I did what I always do when I go there: I sat on a bench and listened to the waves for about half an hour. I never want to live anywhere not close to water because I’ll probably really lose my mind. The lake is where I go when I’m sad, it’s where I go if I’m with friends and I don’t want to go home yet, it’s where I go when I just want things to make sense for once. Nature is a powerful thing.
When I got home I felt as though I had accomplished something. I did; I pulled myself out a funk by just going and doing something. Now I just need to keep it up.
Last night I stayed up until 3 am writing and writing and writing. Writing letters, writing journals; basically just getting out all the toxic thoughts I’ve been having. I read through some of it today after my ride and I was appalled at how self absorbed and narrow minded some of it was. But I think that that is the point: get it out, realize how stupid you are, continue on with life with lessons learned…repeat as needed. Oh, and go on a bike ride every once in a while.
So today my mom asked me to mail something for her. I used driving to the post office to mail a thank you note as an excuse to go to Menchies and get some delicious frozen yogurt. Then I got the idea while driving home that I should go and sit by the lake. So I drove to the park and walked to a bench overlooking the lake. And I sat in the sun and ate frozen yogurt and I looked out at the lake and it was really peaceful.
There was just a slight wind which rustled the surface of the water and caused it to glitter in the afternoon sunlight. The water was a beautiful deep blue and went on forever into a crisp horizon.
When I was little I always wondered why I couldn’t see Canada from the park, as it was just on the other side of the lake. But now I know that I can’t see Canada from the park because the earth is a sphere: the flatness of the earth is an illusion.
There was a redwinged blackbird that sat on the fence in front of me and the sounds it made broke the peacefulness. It began with a warble in the back of its throat which then broke into this awful but also lyrical cry. It sat there for twenty minutes making that call, like it was crying out for a lost child or partner or friend or lover. After I finished my yogurt I couldn’t handle much more of it, because it was just too sad…so I left.
But before the bird came, I don’t think that I have been that at peace in a while. But all good things must come to an end.