Hannah Goes Fishing

A Fishing (and more) Blog


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Life is a process. We are a process. The universe is a process. – Anne Wilson Schaef

The last 22 years of my life, I’ve really had one focus that drove all my ambitions: keep moving forward. It’s always been a struggle for me to sit still (as anyone who has ever had to sit on a bench with me would know), and I’ve been blessed with an inquisitive mind and patient mentors who have fostered this incessant desire to continuously seek that next horizon. All of this has always come with one caveat, and that has been to have a plan. It didn’t need to be a solid plan, a static plan, or even really a very good plan; it just had to exist. I have always worked best with blueprints, or at least some paper to draw my own. I like direction, I like goals, I like to plan incessantly for the future even if most of my wild ideas never amount to anything more than that. Because of these inborn tendencies, I’ve never found much comfort in just sitting, relaxing, and living peaceably in a simple life. At least, not until last year. As I planned to leave for Thailand, I found myself gazing longingly at fliers advertising tiny dry cabins in the woods around UAF. Suddenly, all I dreamt of was a dog at my feet, snow shoes by my backdoor, and a frosty outhouse (FYI: at the time of this publication, I have been deemed clinically sane for those of you wondering). The urge to settle down a bit was overwhelming, especially after having spent the last few years never in one place for more than one semester. I felt the need to grow, and I wanted roots.And then I flew away to Thailand. Since arriving, I’ve found myself lacking in many ways. I lack the social network I’m used to. I lack the right bacteria to drink water out of a tap. I lack the ability to speak; to articulate myself in a way that has always been so important to me. Most of all, I lack the way the describe all these changes in a way that is meaningful to those who are most important to me. Not to say they don’t try their darnedest to empathize with me, but sometimes I feel that my voice is lost over the huge distance.

It’s especially difficult with all this technology. This may seem counter intuitive, but consider it this way: Having moved away, it is a struggle to feel concrete in anything. Even a little bit of solidarity in my life is something I want to cling to and nurture into a concrete presence (things like my apartment and my pad Thai lady are a few examples that have blossomed into something I can more or less count on). It is difficult then that just as I’ve spent all week desperately trying to fit in, speak Thai, and let go of the comforts of my American life, I can then jump on Skype each weekend and not just hear, but also SEE all the people that are so important to me. It is bizarre, and while a great comfort, I find myself lonelier than ever after each conversation. I sometimes wonder if, while our brains can keep up with the rapid mental changes technology requires, if our emotional selves are really wired to deal with things that are real but so intangible. Everything about seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice in real time suggests to my emotional self that I should also feel the satisfaction of actually being with them and enjoying their company. But the reality of being no closer and instead just gazing longingly at pixels and hearing digitally reproduced renditions of their voice does not bring about that satisfaction; instead, it sometimes makes me only feel further away. Though slower, I think I almost prefer snail-mail. At least then when a letter arrives, I am not teased into believing that it is the actual person and I can read it in my own time, and revisit the words again when isolation gets the better of me. At least a still photograph doesn’t tease you by speaking back. Rather, it is a prompt to enjoy your own memories. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy Skype and all the benefits of our new and exciting times, but I sometimes wonder if they are really so much better than traditional methods.

All this having been said, I’ve found that since I’ve been here and been forced to cast off all the lines that held me fast to the anchors of my comfort zone, I have found that drifting isn’t so bad. For the first time since my arrival over six weeks ago, I’m beginning to feel awake, strong, and regaining my independence. I’m also beginning to voluntarily release myself from my desire to return home. For the first time, I’m considering not coming back. Financially, I could probably pull it off for at least another year (after which I’m sure I’d discover the inadvertent freedom of being very, very broke). I’m finding myself adrift in the sea of everything that makes up our world, our humanity. I’m not sure I want to look for land just yet. I have always liked to swim.

Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant. – Anthony J. D’Angelo

And so, if I don’t come back? What then? My whole life will currently fit into a backpack – perhaps my greatest achievement thus far. Should I just pick up and go? But where? Or, is the more appropriate question, where not? My friend Jill (mentioned in my last post) has spent the better part of this year cruising SE Asia, Nepal, and now is moving onto Indonesia and Australia. I could follow in her footsteps, or I could take after Ankit’s (my co-worker) example. He has spent the last 10 YEARS of his life pursuing dreams. He’ll set his sights upon something (a job, a place, etc.) and then stop at nothing to achieve it. He’s had some amazing jobs, he’s been all over the world, and he has a nonchalance about him and all that he has done that makes me think his road isn’t run out just yet. Then again, he’s British, so that probably has a lot to do with the attitude. Regardless, his pursuit of life is very appealing to me. I’ve always been good at opening doors of opportunity, climbing through windows when no open doors seem open, and chasing down dreams and goals with a vengeance. Perhaps it would be useful for me to identify things that I’d like to do in my life, and then rather than making those things fit around my cabin in the woods, spin the tables and make the cabin fit into everything else. There is time for everything, but I’m the only one who can decide what to make time for.

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. – Aldous Huxley


One thought on “Changes

  1. Nice read. I didn't realize you were such a writer miss Hannah! With some spare internet time on my hands I just decided to check out your blog. I can certainly understand some of the challenges & lack of direction that you mentioned here. And although my dream spot isn't exactly the deserted snowed in, Alaskan cabin with little more than a pup and snowshoes (more like deserted island with my own secret surf break)… I still know what you mean– the simple life. "Day by day, minute by minute, is how I'm livin'" This also sums up my attitude toward my own life. I never really know what the future will hold, because I get so wrapped up in the here and now. But sometimes all the stress and complications that go in to making decisions and plans, just seem like a waste of time. When it's time to decide, then you weigh your options and do what feels best. Last minute decisions aren't always a bad thing. So I say, keep moving forward until this adventure is up, then onto the next one. Enjoy–

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