Roger Marolt: Stuck between a soft bump and a face shot
“I can’t imagine living anywhere else.” I said it, but have a hard time believing I said it. Or, maybe more accurately, I regretted saying it or felt bad to myself about expressing it. You could say I scared myself, even. Recognizing one word in the sentence so literally didn’t alleviate my disappointment. I value creativity. I want to believe this place fosters it, not snuffs out the spark. I wondered if it was a confession.
A friend and I had been grumbling as we walked to lunch; I don’t recall what about anymore. I’m sure it had something to do with the usual things: traffic, housing, sprawl, construction, greed at the root of it all, who knows. It doesn’t matter. The point is that my friend remarked that, if we don’t like it, we can move. That’s when I admitted I had lost my imagination.
If someone said, “all play and no work makes Jack a dull boy,” we’d bat an eye and laugh, but there might be something to it. I mean, skiing and riding my bike and enjoying the outdoors in all kinds of ways isn’t really mentally stimulating. It’s effective at clearing the mind and the fresh air doesn’t hurt anything, that’s for sure, but, if you want to be good at recreating, you have to concentrate on what you are doing just enough to make it impossible to truly solve any of the worlds problems, even the little ones that affect only me. At the end of a ski day, I think it is only a feeling that I have of actually accomplished anything. I used to prove this to myself when I lived near the beach and would spend an entire day on it doing nothing only to come home afterward relishing the fatigue and satisfaction of it.
I like to believe there is a spiritual component to this active life, and deep down I think there is, but seeking God on the trail is not my primary motive to do it. I’m that honest with myself. If I’m moved to say a short prayer when I’m alone on the lift watching clouds gently blanket some of the roughest terrain in all creation, I am a better person for recognizing the miracle laid out before me. Nonetheless, when I get home I’ll usually greet everyone bragging about the powder.
I am growing to not enjoy the phrase, “I’m living the life.” It sounded good at first, but reflecting too much on it flattens it all out so that you feel you could roll it up and blow dried peas through it for safe target practice with no chance of a bad accident happening in the process. “The Life” implies one life that is better than the rest, at least it does to me. And, it’s not the assumed superiority of that life that bothers me most. The sticking point is that it references one life in common with the lucky few, like there is a game plan to follow to live it. I don’t want “The Life.” I want my life, unique as can be. Maybe I am inadvertently living “The Life,” and this resulted in leaving my imagination behind.
It may sound like I’m griping, but I don’t mean to. I feel like ruminating instead. Is that the same thing? Not in my mind. Griping to me supposes you can change things. Ruminating is just trying to figure out why you feel a certain way, not even all the time, necessarily, even just at some random point in time, on a good or bad day, it doesn’t matter. Obviously, I didn’t dig these definitions out of a dictionary.
I have wondered if my imagination is impaired because I might have squandered choices living here so long. I suspect for many locals, after you figure out the housing thing here, you are left with only dreams about what life is like in other parts of the world where 6 billion other people appear to be basically happy. I don’t feel I dare take a chance to find out. I’m pretty sure if I sell my house to go out and see what I can see, I couldn’t pay the price to get back into the door I walked out of. I’d have to start all over again, and at my age? One door closes behind and another may never open. It’s like I’m stuck between a soft bump and a face shot.
As this rumination weighed heavily as a counterweight on my eyelids late one night, I wondered about destiny. I know it’s old-fashioned thinking, but I feel there is one person in this world for me and fate brought us together. Kids came to us and they are who they are, loved and full of love. Even our dog found us and he seems content. So, it might not be a huge leap to believe that this little ski town is where I was meant to be and just go with it. Imagine that.
Roger Marolt has been happy in many places, but never when he is searching for one even better. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.