Summer is long gone—I know. The leaves have fallen into either a crisp, blood-stained or bleached death and the air is sharp through the nose but I still will not unpack my coat by means of silent revolt, as I’m far from thrilled. To me, fall is a jester’s season, fluffed with unconvincing, dispensable escapades and plaid flannels; simple charades designed to distract from the brutal reality of the conversely nonnegotiable season ahead. As all true Northerners know, winter is coming, and with it, bitter winds, freezing darkness, and an onset of paralysis which keeps me from leaving my bed unless engulfed by flames. But before I unintentionally publish Thoughts of A Semi-pessimist: Living with Seasonal Depression, Volume 1., do know I’m not nearly as sad as I sound—I just need to escape to the fucking tropics circa yesterday through March.
Until then, I sail vicariously; peering through my desk view of the Hudson, where between glass sky scrapers, the boats still pass. They may now be less and less in number but never less in majesty—even alone, even in cold, hazy grayness. Still, they’re only tiny reminders of the 38 foot, 7 ton beauty on which I would’ve sailed to the end of the world.
In a way, I used to think sailing reflected my relationship with New York; this constant feeling of being both happily and terribly adrift—in control and helpless and free and alone and yet oddly at home, all the time and all at once. However, I’ve recently realized I don’t really consider New York to be a place, but instead an era—an era in which I can’t tell if I’m steering or if I’m drowning, and it’s terrifying because I don’t know when it’ll end and I don’t know if I want it to. I just know I never meant to leave the wheel. I was always the one with the atlas—I am infinitely planning, calculating, and dreaming of waters uncharted, always too busy with the future (or worse, the past) to entertain the present. Not because it’s who I am, or even who I want to be, but because I grew up thinking spontaneity was only an option for the stable, and I didn’t have that luxury.
But I know I’m not the only one. New York or no where; this era or another, so many of us are fighting the same perpetual desire to live for now—to forego the fickle protection provided by 5-year plans and just jump. Anywhere. Why stay in a city when you want to breathe another? Why leave if it pulls at your veins? Note: Don’t discontinue intuition. Don’t stay because your lover asked you to, and don’t drop everything and make a grande move merely for the sake of saying you did it—because the idea of it felt “spontaneous” and “cool.” Cool is doing whatever the fuck you want; going when it feels good, staying when it feels better. There should be no shame in either resolution so long as it’s what you feel is best for the honest aspirations you have for yourself—and yes, you have them, everyone has them. But, that’s not to say the direction towards which you lean is always going to be “right,” or in your best interest. Even true visions are notoriously clouded by comfort, or even mistaken for short-term gratification. Put simply: We’re all going to fuck up. We’re all going to melt into pools of regret at some point, and again a hundred times over. Life is inevitable—but, it is also redeemable.
For what it’s worth, my bias is no secret: I will forever argue calm waters can be as self-destructive as storm surges, but it’s because I’ve lived to fear routine despite eternally trying to survive the latter. But that’s not my place or point to make. The pinnacle is recognizing the power you have to make that decision for yourself. As for anything else, I don’t know. Ultimately, I’m just trying to appreciate the process; to trust in both the moments we steer and the moments we ride the wind.
Anyway, you can keep your rotting pumpkins—I’ll be in my own head, sprawled across the 1969 Naked Sun in early September, with a sprained ankle and shoulder blades ablaze.
Wearing: Zara High-Cut Bodysuit, shop similar