A few weeks ago, (meaning it must have been mid-July) I was hurrying through the 80's to meet someone at the Met. My train had run late, making me run late, and I was very nearly running to the museum. On the corner of 84th and Lexington, though, I had to stop. Plopped down, like a dollop of cream, was a bulldog, tan like milky coffee, belly pressed to the sidewalk. His arms and legs stretched out on either side of him, and his tongue bobbed gently in his mouth. I'd never seen anyone more content than that puppy.
I've noticed about myself, for my whole life, but mostly since I graduated, that I have a very rough time with appreciating where I am right now. If I have a part-time job, I need to be working on getting a full-time job. If I'm home on the weekend and I'm not writing, I'm wasting my time. If I'm spending my time doodling or messing around with watercolors instead of writing, I'm a failure who will never get published. If I'm not at a poetry reading, I'm clearly not committed to my future or meeting people in my field. There are so many things that I think I should be doing, that I almost feel like I shouldn't feel happy when I'm doing anything other than those things. And that makes for a heckofalot of feeling sorry for myself and fretting about where I want to be.
But back to the bulldog. I smiled, and other walkers-by smiled, as his owner tugged and tugged at his leash, sweetly saying, "Come on now, let's go, let's go" but he wouldn't budge. He laid, he looked around a bit, she continued to coax him, or try to. But everyone was smiling, even the bulldog looked as happy as anyone ever could. He was lazy, and he slowed us all down a bit, with the way his belly rested on the pavement.
I have an awful tendency to create metaphors out of everything, or try to. Most of the time, they don't work (think, "I am the last brussel sprout on the plate") but here, I like to think I've gotten at something, or at least the bulldog has. Am I applying to many jobs? Nope. Am I constantly writing and creating? I try to write at least once a week. Am I making any art that is good enough to sell? Probably not. I am very good at focussing on what I don't have, and latching myself to the idea that what I have is not enough to be happy. Right now though, there are so many good things in my life. I do not have a salaried job in my field. I do not know what my "field" is, or why it is even called field, like are we playing soccer or what. I am not published. People are not knocking down my door (e-mail inbox) asking me to write for them or be their own personal poet laureate or whatever. Most of the time, this is all that I see, and I overwhelm myself to the point of saying, "Oh boy, what's even the point of trying ANYTHING?" I have a flair for the dramatics. What I have the hardest time remembering is that I just graduated. That I am only 21. And while I love plans and shit, and while in my head of course I wanted my entire life to come together in a beautiful Disney-movie-esque way right after I got out of college, the idea of having my life absolutely set at the age of 21 is sort of terrifying.
I have a part-time job and get to work with some people I really like, I'm in a poetry workshop and have gotten started on a project, I'm meeting more new people, creative people, that are inspiring and who I want to work with. I have a lot of time to do whatever I want. Some days, it will be lying around in American Apparel hot pants and watching Supernatural from the time I wake up to the time I leave bed to go to the bathroom and the kitchen, and then again until it's time for more sleep, and other days it will be going to a poetry reading in the city, or writing a poem, or submitting my poems for publication, or drawing some really hip spooks. Now is a time where I actually have time, time I will regret wasting with wishing for something to fill it with once I do actually have that full-time salaried job (positivity!).
But back the the bulldog. After dallying a bit on the corner, I left him there to go meet my friend at the Met. I don't know how long he laid there, but I have to imagine it was for as long as he wanted to. I always feel that if I'm not moving, then I'm not doing. If I'm not creating, then I'm wasting. But really - and this is the hard part - If I'm enjoying whatever I am (or am not) doing, then that's all that matters right now, said the bulldog on the corner.
Blouse, skirt, tights: Uniqlo, Jean Jacket: Salvation Army, Shoes: Dolce Vita via Marshalls, Hat: Newbury Comics