When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite books was Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book, and my mom and dad would read it to me often to help me fall asleep. On each page of the book are different fantastical creatures from Dr. Seuss’ mind all sleeping in their various beds, each one more elaborate and strange than the last. The thing that is so comforting about the book, is each creature has their little spot, and they all look so content in that spot. The obvious beneficial effect from the parents’ point of view is that their child also feels content in their little spot, and therefore nods off. Worked like a charm everytime.
There is an incredible sense of contentment in having your spot, in being in your proverbial strange bed that fits you just right. There is also an incredible sense of focus. The idea that nothing beyond that little bed is as important.
This may seem like a jump, but just follow me. My favorite video game series of all time is the Final Fantasy series, and one of the things I love (especially with the older ones) is the villages. In almost all of the games, you encounter some small village out in the woods that has this strange sense of history, and for some reason they don’t freak out when you just walk into their house and open the treasure chest in the corner. But in these little villages is the sense that these people have just been there forever, and they are perfectly content in this little village. Again, the idea that anything outside of that village is not as important. Their village is their strange bed that fits just right.
The older I get, the more I long for life to be the same. I want my perfect bed that fits me just right, or that perfect village where everyone has their place, and I’m so content that what happens outside of the village doesn’t really matter. And the older I get, the less I seem to have that. I guess mainly what I long for is focus. There’s an appealing type of focus in the guy who lives his life running the tiny organic food store, or the barber who’s been there for 40 years, or the gathering of musicians in the movie Once, or the Grinch-ish creature sleeping in his bed on the third floor of a boat that floats in the harbor, or the peasant in the town of South Figaro or Termina (huge extra points for anyone who can name the games those two towns are from. Nerd points, but points nevertheless). While I realize that those last three examples are fictional, I do think (or at least hope) this can be achieved in reality. But it does rely on proximity and routine, and since I’m still getting to know my neighborhood and form a routine, that could be the reason I am still lacking in focus.
Obviously another huge part of this is community. Whenever I visit my good friends from Wild Goose Creative in Columbus, OH, one thing I grow very jealous of is that they have such a focused community. They are all very committed to the same goals and they do spend a lot of time together so it makes sense why this would naturally happen, but even more so I feel a sense that everything they need is right there in their community. I feel such contentment in that.
Could also be that as I spend more and more of my workdays alone, the more and more I crave and need that community. And the more and more I realize how bad I am at being alone. This past Sunday a bunch of people were over at my apartment, and we all had a big meal together (thanks to Libby and Zach) and watched Eddie Izzard, and it was basically what I wish my apartment was all the time. Just all kinds of people coming and going. I realize that would be a nightmare to other people, but that’s just what I would love.
So the first step to getting that focus I talk about I guess would be to bake a bunch of cookies and try to get all of my neighbors to just come hang out all the time. I’ll see what I can do.
And I guess my other point would be that any of you who live in the Chicagoland area should feel free to come over anytime you want.
So perhaps this focus and this contentment is something I’ll never achieve in reality, but being the eternal optimist, I will continue looking for my strange bed and my village regardless.
* Oh, and what did this post have to do with alcohol? Nothing, I guess, I just miss it. But I have not had a drop of it for all of Lent. It’s been good, though I am looking forward to being able to calm down a lot easier after stressful days.