On the Impermanence of Tides

I’ve been more intentional lately in exploring blogs linked to blogs I read on a regular basis. (Just a month ago, “blogs I read on a regular basis” was a species with a single member—rendering the designation grammatically incorrect.)

One thing I immediately noticed was: all the people writing these blogs are in transit in every conceivable way—academically, geographically, vocationally, existentially— and trying to find (via surprisingly convergent attitudes and methods) a way of being with the constant disorientation and restlessness of movement.

The observation quickly spawned the following questions:

1. Are all the people of my generation incapable of being settled?

2. Are all the writers of my generation incapable of being settled?

3. Are all the people of my generation who are incapable of being settled writers?

4. Do all the writers of my generation who are incapable of being settled just happen to be within my circle?

In other words, am I and my fellow wanderers just the particularly articulate members of a global and predominant species? Or are we a minority whose disproportionate presence simply stems from our desire for frequent expression? Or are we a minority whose presence only appears disproportionate to the ranks of the minority itself (given its propensity to wander in ever-tightening, self-reflexive circles)?

Why do the questions even matter?

The questions matter because if the condition I’ve alluded to above and in other posts (of disorientation, of restlessness, of a yearning for home) is more widespread than believed, and perhaps even more dis-abling than supposed—then perhaps we should all be doing something about it.

Because let’s face it: there was a time when not being settled was a momentary stage of life (well-documented and well-defined in the popular literature of psychology). People of my circle (or my generation, depending on the answers to my questions above) have therefore believed in the notion of finally being settled someday—a psychological destination as inevitable (if as mysterious in its timing) as the physiological destination of death.

That no longer seems to be the case. If I go by my experience and the experience of all the people whose blogs I read, not being settled seems to be the prevailing condition of contemporary life—the periods of stability the tiny and shifting islands of calm in a perpetually fluctuating ocean.

All I want to know is: is this how things are really going to be like? Because if they are, I’m going to stop scanning the horizon for land and start figuring out how to get really savvy with my oars and sails instead.


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