(a/k/a the last Anthrax album I ever purchased. This post was handwritten about six hours ago, shortly after noon, for proper reference)
Once upon a time, I was able to relax like no one else. I'd think nothing of spending the day sitting on the balcony with some music or hours on a bar patio with a book and a steady stream of Pilsner Urquell.
Those days are long gone, man. No matter what I accomplish in a day, I'm fixated on what I didn't, and no matter what I'm doing, I'm worrying about what I'm not.
Take today: I'm writing this at 12:30 pm. Since waking at 4:30, I've done some writing, done the dishes, done a few loads of laundry, carried out a few favors for friends, dropped some mail off, paid bills, gone grocery shopping, gone for a walk, and now I'm taking a break, enjoying the weather (gorgeous! Every spring I believe, for a few weeks, that Atlanta is paradise), looking at pretty girls and enjoying a Bloody Mary.
Well-deserved break, no? But good lord, I haven't done any reading, or work on the novel, or cleaned my bedroom, or cleaned the bathroom, or ... you get the idea.
Even pure leisure time isn't as relaxing and enjoyable as it could be. I can't simply watch a movie at home -- not when I could also be reading or cooking or catching up on e-mail. As you might imagine, this hampers the film experience, and it's a rare film that I sit down and watch all the way through in one sitting (so kudos to "Kontroll" and "Pepe Le Moko," two films I actually watched all in one gulp).
I don't have a good explanation for this often self-defeating hyperkineticness. Part of it may be lack of human contact -- after Friday night's foolishness I was largely housebound and solitary yesterday (I did go down to Eclipse di Sol to see friends, but when all of those friends are on the other side of the bar serving up Peronis, people start to refer to you as having a "problem"), so maybe I am a little bit stir crazy today. When I'm with friends, the impatience and neurosis lessens.
But this has been growing for some years now. When I left Boulder in 1999, it was a bit of a jolt -- I remember telling a friend just months later that it was a shock to realize I wasn't going to be 25 forever. A friend recently called it a "fake world," which is both harsh and accurate. When I lived in Boulder, a city that cultivates a sort of false immortality, I'd sit on the porch watching it rain and down a bottle of wine, and feel all was right with the world. After moving out here, a vague sense developed that I was wasting my life.
And then there's the curse of unfulfilled goals. This past year, more than ever, there's been a sense of time slipping away. The books I haven't written, the trips I haven't taken, the women I haven't seduced, all loom larger than ever. A good portion of the things that hover over me deal with this rather than the more banal bathroom-cleaning duties -- I should be learning Czech/hammering out a script/planning a trip to Yerevan/etc.
I've discussed this state of mind with a few friends lately, enough to know I'm not alone and that this isn't peculiar to me. How to sort it out, at least partially -- that's less clear. I travel back to Boulder soon, for a week's vacation -- perhaps that will calm me. Must remember to avoid the one-sitting bottles of wine, though.