The past few weeks I’ve been reading a book called “Armies of the Night”; an autobiographical account by Norman Mailer of the Anti-Vietnam-War demonstration held at the Pentagon in 1967. I read the following passage right after getting back on the train in Chengdu (after an amazing week of doing nothing useful at all), and I was struck by a strong feeling of recognition:
“He was almost glad he had not yet been released, for he would have missed this trip, and so not have been reminded that a night journey on a bus [train] was one of the few times when everything ambitious, wild, overconceived, hopeless, garish, and suffocatingly technical in American [European] life nontheless came together long enough to give the citizens a little peace, for may be it was only when they were on the move that Americans [Europeans] could feel anchored in their memories (p.186).”
It reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a friend a few months ago about what I eventually want to do in life – or better with my life. My friend envisioned me as a professional nomad, which I back then instantly denied, but perhaps I should give him some credit after all.
As a matter of fact, the goal/purpose-in-life-question has been popped several times on this trip, and I generally answer it with a mysterious smile and some nervous giggling. Because I don’t have a clue. But you probably knew that. Thankfully, the question often comes together with a set of helpful suggestions and ideas. Among others:
– professional do-nothinger: find a way to be (financially) sustained in life, so time can be devoted to gardening, baking, cooking, learning languages, martial arts, drawing, carpentering and all of the good stuff. I like this idea.
– professional dictator: democratic accountability? Screw that!
– professional feeder: of people, animals, plants and other beings alike. Omnomnom.
– professional spooner: share motherly love with those in need in a professional cuddle, acting as a professional outside spoon…(this idea stirred up a certain amount of enthusiasm, no kidding!)
See, there is hope for my professional career.
(and even if there’s not, I can still pretend there is, so shut the fuck up)