Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Murky Future

I don't think I have ever faced a year with so little notion of what it might contain for me as 2008. I don't have any idea what's coming. Really and truly.

It seems like everything is up for change, for collapse or for renewal. Who will I be 362 days from now? Where?

I learned so much in 2007, and yet it feels like maybe I learned it too late. But that's retarded. Too late for what?

Steph has declared this The Week of the 80's, and we watched Blade Runner last night, and could not help but remark on two things: first, the incredible impact this film and its look have had on cinema, on pop culture in general, and second, the intense nostalgia that infuses the film, not just in its evocation (and indeed, overpowering) of film noir's distinctive stamp, but almost it seems the entire twentieth century -- the 40s fashions, the bazaars of 1920s pulp adventure, architecture that rivals Speer's greatest designs, and the grimy streets and bleak realism of 70's procedural drama -- has all been inhaled by Ridley Scott and his team and breathed out in a great exhalation that wrapped up everything the 80's and even the 90's would become.

It occurred to me that I grew up and have lived in that atmosphere of nostalgia nearly all my life. The last few decades have seen little enough innovation in design -- rather, we've recycled each decade's looks and feelings in turn, and now are cannibalizing just the past few years. Steph promulgates the theory that in 2012, which the Mayans reckoned as the end of the world (Aztecs? not sure, let it slide), we'll finally run out of nostalgia to embrace, that our recycling will catch up with our present and the world will... well, something.

I wonder if the Aztecs (or the Mayans, or whoever) weren't maybe off by a few years. It feels to me like I've run out of tricks to recycle, anyway. 2012 is too far in the future to even dream of, for me. I don't even know what February is going to look like.

I believe the primary emotion associated with freedom is terror. I know that what I have to do is embrace this fear that threatens to overwhelm me and keep it from driving me into familiar terrain where I can shrink back into a comfortable posture, refuse to grow and refuse to seek the new.

Steph amended her previous comment on me vs. Dzurlords -- her notion was that at any rate, I feel a lack in myself, a failure to live up to my own self-image, my own principles, that such passages evoke.

That is, maybe the problem isn't that I'm not courageous, it's that I'm not courageous enough to meet my own standards.

Which leaves me with three choices: suffer along in this state, man up and get more courage, or lower my standards.

Here's hoping that as 2009 rolls in I don't look back and decide that 2008 was a bad year for My Standards.