What a time of life this has been, and continues to be.
Mid-thirtysomething lived as though I’m 23 and hungry for an existence outside the comfort of Mom and Dad’s ivory tower, away from the sticky-floored subsistence of the student home or the sadness of the broken marital home. Solitary for the time being, but missing the security of friendly murmurs down the hall or downstairs. No more steady harvests from the 9 to 5 work farm, thought those staple crops always remain available. Instead, I’m a hunter and trapper, laying cages in the snowy woods and moving through the brush looking for my next paycheque. It’s the freedom of tomorrow’s self-made man still in the making. I don’t miss the office, am still fair-weather friends with the warehouse production line, and though not worth the time, I still retain a heart-ache for the retail book store life, and the fun I had there.
What does 21st Century bohemian living look like? It could take the form of sitting upstairs in a townhouse with a sleeping dog three feet behind and to the right, writing the next big bestseller on a six year old laptop that’s stood the test of time. It could be shopping for fixtures and staple items at Dollarama before heading off to help a housemate find work in the area. It’s listening to Vance Joy, Stars, George Ezra, and the Lumineers on the radio while I drive to faraway cities for my personal development courses, watching the snow-covered houses of little towns and villages along the mountain-framed Interstate and wondering, “Who lives in these places? What’s a day in their lives like?”
There’s a richness to the human experience that transcends all boxes and slots of age, race, income, faith, or celebrity. For this wordslinger-for-hire, life outside of the old story of where I “should” have been by 34 years old is proving to be an unconventional Bohemia. In this alternate timeline, “truth” is found in both in the verifiable facts of the world and the stories I invent about them; “beauty”, in the barren, post-industrial train tracks behind the townhouse complexes by the lake, in old brickwork buildings finding new life as coffee houses and apartments; “freedom” in the thrill-terror about being fully responsible for the matter of one’s existence that strikes in the first thirty seconds of waking; and “love” in no particular person, but in myself and the world, the boundaries between them existing only as linguistic conventions.
There is so much more road on the horizon. This morning, I’m anxious to start walking again, to see where I’ll end up by the dusk. I’ll let you know what I find.