Meanwhile, I’ve been having somewhat of an existential crisis. Oh my god, doesn’t that sound pretentious? All I mean is that I’m bored. With my life. Mainly with my job.
I took a sick day off from work yesterday — a sort of “mental health” day. I went to my own apartment back in Jersey City (where I rarely spend time anymore, since I’m usually at Matt’s place), did some laundry, had lunch at my favorite sandwich shop around the corner, did lots of reading. I’ll be losing my apartment once the lease ends on November 1, because I have a new landlord and she’s planning to either sell the apartments in my brownstone as condos or raise the rent about $300. (My old landlord was renting out the apartments at below-market prices.) And I’ll probably be moving in with Matt in the next several months anyway. But I love my apartment — I’m going to miss it. It’s so quiet and charming and soothing.
I’ve been thinking lately again about what I want to do with my life. About a year and a half ago, I reached a point where I decided I didn’t need a life goal — that I would just lower my expectations of life and be content. I’m very nihilistic about life; I don’t think there is any ultimate meaning out there, I don’t think there’s any afterlife, I think human life was something that just randomly happened. We’re… just… here. As long as I’ve got adequate shelter and food, I’m probably better off than at least 95 percent of the people on the planet.
But that’s not enough. Ever since New Year’s I’ve been stuck in a rut. Go to work on Monday, wait for Friday, then the weekend comes and goes in a flash and the next thing I know it’s Monday morning again. It’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning (though that’s been a problem for more than a few months). The alarm clock is next to my side of Matt’s bed, and he usually has to give me a couple of shoves until I realize it’s going off. Then I hit the snooze bar, and nine minutes later I do the same thing. Eventually I get up.
I used to have this routine I got from The Artist’s Way: morning pages. I’d wake up before 7:00, sit up in bed, and write in my notebook for half an hour before starting my day. I did it solidly every morning for several months back in 2002; it led to my taking a screenwriting class and writing a screenplay that I now feel is inadequate. (Maybe I should take a playwriting class instead — plays are easier to get produced than movies, right?) I eventually fell out of the practice of morning pages. But maybe it would help me to start up again.
I also feel like TV has gotten in the way. TV is an evil time-waster, but ever since I started dating Matt, I’ve watched more TV, because he does. He’s gotten me into “Alias,” “Veronica Mars,” and “The Daily Show.” And without Matt I probably wouldn’t be watching “Lost” or “The West Wing” right now. There’s this vignette from John Irving’s novel, A Prayer For Owen Meany, in which the main character’s grandmother is given a TV and curses it as this big societal evil. Several chapters later, she can’t take her eyes off the thing. Sometimes that’s how I feel.
It’s not as if all we do is sit around watching TV. We go to chorus rehearsal, we go to trivia night, we go to the theater several times a month. I just feel like if I wanted to sit down and write something, there’s no quiet place to do it. But that could be less a function of TV (because it’s not always on) and more a function of me just not being able to settle down for an extended time and write something.
I probably should start doing morning pages again. I can get out of bed in the morning and sit on Matt’s couch and do them. Maybe they’d help get me unstuck.
It’s worth a shot, I guess.