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Notes From The Flip Side: 07.28.2002

Rough day. I'm feeling every hour of my 30 years. Everything is uncertain, everything is in flux. I'm feeling restless and edgy, like it's time to move and I'm just waiting for some kind of signal.

Part of it is turning 30. I don't celebrate my birthday. Too many bad memories and, for some reason, every birthday turns to shit. I can't even maintain the baseline expectation of not having a bad day, so I treat it like any other day. I go to work. I run errands. I do the things that I have to do to sustain my life.

As far as celebrations go, for the past 15 years or so, I've spent my birthday by myself. To ensure that I have a measure of peace and quiet, I go see a movie. I don't remember most of them - the movie isn't the issue. It's just a way to escape without drinking myself to sleep. I've never really given it much thought beyond that until yesterday when I found out that John Dillinger died on the day I was born. He was gunned down by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theater in 1934.

In an odd way, that seems to clarify things a bit for me.

After all, there's nothing really keeping me in polite society, nothing keeping me from crossing over that line of civility to see what's on the other side. No family left. Most of my friends live in other cities. I'm unemployed. I can't afford to spend money to go out, so I deal with it. I read, I write and I pet my dog. And I wait for calls. Or emails. Or any other communication, really. And all of these things further sever my few remaining ties with each passing day.

I stumbled across something I wrote a few weeks ago - before I got laid off:

It's not as though I feel like I've wasted time; I don't and I haven't. What I am feeling is, for lack of a better word, resignation. I've come to realize that I'm settling in for the next 30 years - that I've traded a life of perpetual adventure for a life of marginal security, largely dependent on a job.

I look at what I could have been, the other paths my life might have taken, and I wonder ... but then again, everyone could have been a contender. And I suspect that someone should have been looking out for all of us.

How was I supposed to know that those words would turn into a monkey's paw musing only a few days later? How was I supposed to know that trades could be so quickly undone? How was I supposed to know that every door that I thought had closed would suddenly reopen and show me an entirely new world, one I thought had been closed off forever?

I had been feeling my age. I had been feeling like something was lost to me. And instead, I find out that I have the chance of a lifetime. I have the chance to start over. To do something new. To do something that I love. To do something great. And all I have to do is figure out what that is.

Everything is uncertain right now - I don't know where I'll be or what I'll be doing - but absolute freedom lies in that uncertainty. As frightening as freedom can be, I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

Site Updates

The Fairweather interview is done. Finally. Enjoy much musical history and fandom.

I added a new essay by Kali titled "Why To Have Kids - An Immodest Proposal." I also added an article that I wrote for Clamor titled "How Much Did You Pay For Your Identity?: The Big Business of Selling Individuality to Kids."

Now Playing:

Dillinger Four. Cadillac Blindside. Fairweather. Fugazi. Alkaline Trio. Elvis Costello. Hot Water Music. Refused. Coheed And Cambria. tiltWheel. One Time Angels. American Steel. Trial By Fire. The Explosion. Watch It Burn. Jimmy Eat World. Pete Townshend.

Just Finished:

Steven Heller, "The Graphic Design Reader"; Tom Peters, "The Brand You 50"

Now Reading:

Steven Heller, "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Rick Poynor, "Obey The Giant"; DK Holland, ed., "Design Issues"; Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Italo Calvino, "t zero"; Greil Marcus, "The Old, Weird America"; Naomi Klein, "No Logo"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008