I have a lot more thinking to do

I didn't realize how much I needed to get away for a short while. (I had an utterly different start to this, and then accidentally lost it. Then I realized that Andy was looking over my shoulder, so everything I had in my mind has now gone away.)

I usually go away to think. I realize that I've not done a lot of that lately, no matter how things may look here. The things I've done while I've been here have been the superficial part of my vacation. I could tell you that I went to a really good hockey game (the Caps lost to the Avalanche in overtime). Andy and I went book shopping. Jeff called. I had a couple of rum & Cokes while watching Fight Club. But the most important part of my vacation is the time to rest, think, and relax.

I went to the Holocaust Museum on Tuesday. I haven't really talked with Andy much about how my visit affected me, but I think he probably guessed from my lack of effusive reaction just how much the exhibit moved and saddened me. That, coupled with my impending birthday (on Friday) has turned my attention toward thoughts of my life.

Do you ever ask yourself what you've done with your life? Ask yourself if you could have done more—not just for your goals and dreams but more for the people you care about? I ask myself that a lot, and I've never been satisfied with my answer. Perhaps I never will be satisfied with my answer. I may joke about it a lot, but in my heart there is this desire to put things to rights, to make things as comfortable and as happy as possible for the people that are part of my life.

At the Holocaust Museum you're given ID cards to help you see the war through the eyes of one person who lived through it. I think what pained me the most was when I read through my card and realized the person I was reading about wasn't too different from how I would have been at that time—young, newly married. Then I walked through and saw stories about people who were younger than I am now, but who seemed to have more conviction and purpose in life then I've ever managed to muster. Instead of inspiring me, it sent me into a tailspin that I haven't quite managed to pull myself out of yet.

Tonight I realized how much I miss Jeff. I realized that I'm going to sleep in a bed by myself tonight, and just how much I've grown accustomed to him being there, even though we rarely touch while sleeping. I miss feeling his warmth a few inches away when I wake up and turn over in the middle of the night.

We haven't had the best of years, he and I. I look back over the past year and realize that I've asked a lot of things of him that he probably wasn't able to give. I can be incredibly possessive at times, and I greatly resented the feeling that I was not the most important part of his life. I know that grad school and work have taken a lot of his thoughts and time over the past year, and I just haven't dealt well with that.

I'm pretty sure he's wondered at least once or twice why I'm out here, out east, without him. I've had several other people ask me as well, but I can't honestly say that I, myself, understand; I just know that sometimes I have to get away and think.

One of my greatest problems in dealing with other people is the immense inner reserve that I have. It functions as a still, quiet core of my personality that few people ever see glimpses of, and even fewer actually interact with. The opaque mask I lay over that reserve is what other people see on a daily basis, never even suspecting that something else lies beneath; never suspecting that what they're seeing is only the part of my personality that I feel comfortable showing. I envision it as a planetary system; moving, changing objects circling around an unchanging, unmoving core.

Jeff has had better luck breaking through those defenses than anyone else I've ever known; I think that's why I married him. Even for him, the person who knows me best, I think he finds me to be frustrating and evasive at times. He's learned to accept me as the maddening, annoying, and often childlike person that I am; for some reason he seems to think it's all worth it in the end.

For the past couple of months I've really been dissatisfied with myself and the way I've been living my life. I see the calendar advancing upon me; see the passage of years reflected on my face, and ask myself, "What have I done? Can I point to anything that I've done that has been good, been worthwhile, been a good enough reason to justify to myself having been put on this planet in the first place?" Being a halfway decent spouse and friend evidently isn't enough for me, evidently.

I said something to Andy tonight over dinner (sushi, by the way) that was intended as a light-hearted comment but has rang almost constantly in my head since I said it: "I've only really, deeply cared about two things in my life: cooking and writing. I'm not good enough to do cooking professionally, and I've been too terrified for the past six years to try to write again."

Everything else I've done in my life—collegiate career and employment career—has felt like nothing but marking time. Subtracting, one at a time, single years from an unknown total of them. I think I know my path and am too scared to follow it, for fear it will lead to failure.

Jeff has always managed to have faith in me—have faith not just in the cynical, exterior me that everyone sees, but the but the silent, observing me that few people know. He doesn't even have to tell me that he believes in me; it shows in his face without words needing to be said. As my birthday approaches, and I begin to once again take stock of my life, I'm hanging onto the idea that someone believes in me, even when I'm having so much trouble believing in myself.

I have a lot more thinking to do. It's going to be a long drive up to New York tomorrow; that will give me a few hours. While I wish that Jeff were with me to talk to me about all of this, I also realize that this time away from him (and everyone else) is what's giving me the space and freedom to think this deeply at this time. I'm not sure if any resolution will come of this, but I just know that my questioning grows more insistent as I grow older.

Chances are, this will be the last I write before I come home on Sunday. I rather doubt I'll have time before then. Until then, cheers.)