Wait, that's not quite true, is it? I have always been busy, since I moved here. Busy finding a place to live. Busy finding furniture for my apartment. Busy figuring out my new job. Busy with my new job. The list goes on.
Perhaps it is more to do with the lack of the weight of a certain kind of obligation. Of all of those things hanging over your head that need to be Dealt With, or Figured Out. Of the bottomless to-do list, where every item checked off creates ten more.
So, there was this brief time, when I arrived, that felt like the world was full of opportunities. I thought of all new things I might want to try, thought of ways in which I might challenge myself, thought of all of the different kinds of "me"'s that I might become. It is the consequence of being so unsettled. That your deeply held assumptions about who you are and what you do and what you don't do are all up in the air, and you are aware, really aware that you could be or do anything, anything at all.
And I thought -- just as soon as I get some of this life stuff settled, then I'll go do those things, I'll go try on that new me. I just need to get some things under control first.
I realize now that the very act of getting the logistics of life settled robs you of that moment. Developing your habits and crafting your home and settling into your job -- not to say that the world isn't still out there, yours for the picking. But now, now you are settled into a particular You, with the particular things that You Do, and the things You Don't Do insidiously buried into the most core levels of your worldview. This happened without your exploring all the options, but as a side-effect of just dealing with banalities of existence.
And then along with this settled in new life comes those pressing responsibilities, the weight of things that must be dealt with and figured out, before you can start thinking about frivolous things like that hobby you might want to pick up... that you really don't have time for anyway... and really, is probably not your sort of thing anyway... I mean, really, you probably wouldn't be any good at it... and you have so many other things to worry about right now... so maybe some other time... maybe when you have some "free time".
Don't misunderstand me. I do have lots of opportunities available to me. Relatively speaking, I have very few responsibilities. No mortgage to pay, not children to support. I am lucky enough to live in a time in history with a particular skill set and aptitude that gives me the power to make choices in my life, bound by very little, and for that I am deeply, deeply thankful.
But I feel that I squandered a rare time in my life that came at great cost, for not realizing what precious moments were slipping through my fingers. I will still endeavor to make deliberate decisions about how I want to be spending my time, about who I want to be, to challenge my assumptions about myself and about the world. But those assumptions are there now, setting the stage for all that I do, a filter through which every thought goes.
There was a brief beautiful moment when I could look at the world with fresh eyes unburdened by those deeply ingrained self-imposed constraints... and I let it pass me by.
Next time, I will not be so negligent.