Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dropped Frames and Frames of Reference

Returning from a foreign country, or any trip, is rough for me. Of course, going on a trip is hard as well. I don't like traveling and foreign countries don't impress me. The shrubs may be different, the sky more polluted, the streets more smelly, and the language incomprehensible, but it's still earth and I've been to places at least a little like it before. It's all strangely familiar and so I have yet to experience "culture shock". So being there isn't a problem, but preparation is stressful. I don't like turblence. I'm not fond of immunizations or having to avoid drinking water from the tap. I also don't like having to try to clean the house before leaving.

But coming back is much harder. There's a pile of bills, paperwork, and now tax forms to wade through. Also, I have to get back into "working mode" and get on top of everything that needs to get done for my current and future video projects and sorted out on the business end of things. I have to restock the fridge and dropping $200 for food is just painful. Not only that, but the expansion pack came out right before we left, so that's a "priority" I still haven't shelled out the money for. There are things weighing on me so heavily that I start shaking as if I was dropping into hypothermia. In fact, this afternoon I just curled up on my bed for an hour and slept. I just want to give up. It's all too much and totally not worth it. Like so many times before in life I feel far too young and ignorant to be doing any of this or holding so much responsibility. At the same time, I'm far too old to be this completely clueless about how to live life. And coming back after being away just amplifies the urgency of everything I haven't learned or dealt with yet.

Right now I'm "dumping" footage onto my computer. My new, still in beta, hard drive system (I'll provide a link to it once I would no longer be breaking the non-disclosure agreement I signed) can't seem to keep up with the data transfer, or something. So I'm getting lots of "dropped frames" where video starts "melting", pixelating, or becomes jittery. It's really how I feel: Overloaded, unable to keep up, incapable of getting all the information I need. I feel like screaming one moment, "What the crap am I supposed to do!" and the next huddling under the covers, giving up, and letting it all just crumble around me. I mean, seriously, is life worth this? In ten years my 1099 forms and all my reciepts for business expenses will hopefully be recycled and no longer matter at all. I wish I could just do things that did matter.

But like my computer, I have dropped some frames. I lost some frames of reference, and perhaps coming back from India was the catalyst. Over there I got to see all the really awesome, meaningful things that were going on. Coming home my plumbing is backed up and I have a credit card bill that I can't quite pay because the bank was slow in processing my deposits. It makes life here seems so pointless, inane, and forced. It almost makes me want to ship off to a country where you live in a shack you put together out of bits of plywood and chickenwire and you don't have to worry about filing a W2, or 1040, or whatever. There you could, in theory, focus on human interaction and helping others. Granted, that's not the case because there are other pressures such as malaria and finding enough food or potable water. But the thought lingers.

If I take a moment to realign myself with reality I notice that I've missed the truth. Certainly paperwork is lame and not really benefiting anyone, but it is one of the aspects of being who I am and living where I do. The world in which we live is finite and frustrated. There are consequences that we must over come no matter who we are or where we live. I have lost sight of all the tremendous opportunities for great things I have because of my current state. So, while I don't like it and I may end up falling apart again and again, bring it on. I'm here for a reason (hopefully many of them) and these struggles I must live through are eclipsed by surpassing joy awaiting me if I would but keep going.

Now if only I could this hard drive thing to work....

~Luke Holzmann