Ifs

If I could live anywhere I want, without having to worry about costs, employment, or familial obligations (sorry, guys!), I’d live in:

Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Yeah, I know its a Spring Break Party Town, but its a beautiful Lake Town deep in the Southwest desert. It has legendary swimming grottoes, and I love water and adore swimming. Primarily, I hate winter and the cold it brings with it. I want to live in warmer climes, and I’ve always wanted to live near a large body of water. Lake Havasu seems to be a good fit.

Or..

New York City. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it: The City is alive. It has a pulse, a strong beat of driving energy and life-affirming joy. It beats stronger than the comatose pulse of the rural towns I have lived in–that pervading slowness of farms and people moving through life as if in a waking dream. The pulse of The City is more joyous than that of the cold and mechanical beat of other cities I have resided–where strangers are just strangers and the people race down those well-worn paths of suburban conformity. The Big Apple drums out a different beat, where strangers are welcome for their newness, where novelty is sought out and encouraged to flourish. It is a city of the senses, where the sensuous and the sensation-seekers can find satisfaction. There are always new sights, new sounds, new tastes, new touches, and new smells. And most amazing, amidst all the hustle and bustle, amidst the explosion of sensations, there is a pause in that persistent beat, a valley between every peak of that pulse: a quiet peace. There are parks and riverwalks lined with trees, and softly humming coffeeshops. One can step from sensation to zen in an instant.

If I could do-over my education:

They say hindsight is 20/20, and like most aphorisms, no truer words can be said. I do not regret my education, but I do think I could have made better choices. I could have taken more than just a nonchalant interest in my future. I wish that I had conducted myself with greater wisdom and foresight. If I could redo it:

1) I would apply to scholarships and more schools. I just never considered myself worthy or competitive enough to try, so I never bothered applying to anything other than my “safe bet”.

2) I would seek out a A.A. degree or professional certification first, such as for Web Design or Medical Billing and Coding. Such skills would pay for the rest of my education, and could also serve as “backup” should my major professional ambitions suffer setbacks.

3) I would not be afraid of recognizing my need to be creative. I would have majored in the Arts, and not worried about finding “real” degrees. Art majors can too find work and make money and live productive careers. I would have gone to an art school or a good university with a good program, to maximize that education.

4) I would not have spent three years bouncing around from one major to another. Instead I would have seriously considered my skills and attributes, my interests and passions, and how all that I am could exist professionally in the Real World. I would have done serious research into how the Real World would make use of me. And I would have tailored my education appropriately. I would not have trusted that “I can be/do anything I want to be/do.”

5) I would have gone to the Gemological Institute of America as soon as I realized I wanted to become a Jewelry Designer.

If I had a million dollars and only one month to spend it:

First, of course I would eliminate all of my debts, including my student loans. Then I would trade in my Saturn for a Honda Hybrid. I would buy a small home or condo with a studio and furnish it well and stock my studio with all necessary tools and equipment, and then add in some luxury items too, such as a bead-blaster (for special finishes), a hydraulic fold-forming press (makes awesome folded metal forms) and an enamelling kiln. Then if I had any money left over, I’d take a two week cruise in some tropic locale, on a boat that does not allow kids (no offense to kid-owners!)

If my hearing were completely restored, what three things would I listen to first?

This question comes to me from Ian, a good friend.

1) The first is obvious, of course: I would listen to music. I would listen to samples from every style of music, from the classical of Mozart and Beethoven to the pop stylings of Britney Spears and Hanna Montana. I would listen to see what all the fuss is about. Though, to be honest, I doubt that such exploration would be of any use. What if–and I think this is very likely to be the case–what if the neural connections between my auditory and emotional centers are lost forever? Once neural connections are lost, they are gone (though new connections can be reforged, using existing neurons that are rerouted into new paths, but an active receptor on both ends must still be open for the connections to be forged. It is all too likely that such necessary connections are beyond my old brain’s capacities).

2) The second, also may be obvious: I would seek out the soft sounds of nature. The sound of the ocean as it swells and breaks upon the shore. Of the wind dancing with the leaves of the trees. Of the birds serenading the dawn. Of crickets mating under the moonlight.

3) This third may perhaps not be so obvious, except to those who know me. I would go to an open, public place, such as a park or a cafe, anywhere people congregate to meet and talk. I would walk and sit amongst them and eavesdrop upon their words, their conversations, their convivialities. To know and be part of another person’s life, if only for that one tiny fraction of time. To share in that communal intimacy, that shared knowledge of shared humanity, that only words can carry across the timeless and infinite void of space that lies between us all. To feel a part of that silent communion that all hearing people take for granted.

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8 thoughts on “Ifs

  1. I especially loved your thought-provoking answer to Ian’s question about hearing. I just take it for granted, and yet my livelihood depends on it.

  2. Your bit on re-doing the education just hit me hard. I was such a dumbass. At the age of 33, I recently dated a 22 year-old. She is not over-spending on her undergraduate education as I did. She is getting an online degree and works as a physician’s assistant. She lives at home w/ her parents and has a really nice new Nissan. Christ, I was stupid. She probably doesn’t even have any debt, either.

  3. i think that last answer to that last question would be my most important answer, too. if i had spent a life without hearing, that would be the first thing i’d want to hear, too.

    great post 🙂

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