Tracing the wasted years – a lost highway in Wyoming
The function of a man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them ~ Jack London
We sat across from one another in a booth by the window of the diner. The waitress, a thin, jaded looking woman came and despondently took our order.
It seemed like all the beautiful dreams she’d dreamt as a little girl had now soured and rotted inside of her, to be carried around eating away at what remained of hope and ambition.
It pained me to see this distortion within her, from something so pure and wonderful to this tedium of daily wage slavery.
The occasional car or truck would pass our window, onwards up the road into the endlessness ahead. March was a cold time to be in Wyoming and I had little idea where we were after driving for three hours on highway 26 out of the Grand Tetons National Park through a howling blizzard.
Clear of the snow and ice, temperatures remained scarcely above freezing, compounded by a cruel easterly wind which tore into the side of our faces as we ventured beyond the cozy confines of the rental.
‘You’ve got to start coming up with something.’ said Lucy.
I let out a sigh and slumped deeper into the booth. ‘I don’t know what to tell you.’ I said.
‘That’s the problem, you never do. For the past seven years you’ve never had anything to say.’
I looked at Lucy and then back out the window at a passing truck. Our waitress returned with coffee and a side of toast. No words were exchanged and my emptiness shifted and grew. This is the loneliness I have courted since adolescence and after fifteen years in its company I struggle to set it aside, regardless of lovers, family or friends.
‘You’ve barely spoken since this morning.’ she said.
All this weight upon me to do something. To be something. It’s true, the nature of my existence continues to elude me and remains unfulfilled, languishing as it does under the consternation and apathy of the life I have fallen into. It is also an indolence that poisons me and only wasted years gather to remind me of the choices I have failed to make.
What does the world owe a man who has the ability to follow so many noble pursuits, yet finds no sustainable value in the trappings of the age? The tiresome capriciousness of the dreamer. The drifter breezing across the continents of the world in the eternal struggle towards the next hidden wonder.
There really is no pity to be sought and it would not be accepted either, yet the compulsion to continue with the confounding indecision of the life I’ve lived brings me here, drinking weak coffee in the diner that time forgot. Were I only to tell you how many times I’ve heard it said that if you follow your passion, the life will blossom around it.
I guess nobody ever starved following their dreams.
‘It won’t always be enough.’ said Lucy. ‘Sooner or later it just won’t be and where will we be then?’ she said looking down at her toast.
She wasn’t searching for an answer and I had none to give.
Not now, nor any time prior to this moment have I come to realise the full force of my freedom and the responsibility towards myself that it demands. The struggle is that there’s a world out there that looks nothing like this one. It feels nothing like this one, at least not to me.
It’s a fleeting freedom of seeking out the world for the world’s sake. Existing and experiencing the carnival of life whether it must be sought or otherwise, and it simply must. Forever onwards my kind runs, away from the trappings of the modern world and all the so-called responsibilities that typify the conventional life. If this is the pursuit of happiness then that in itself is a noble pursuit, and never forget that this is not a destination but a daily state of mind that must be sought and maintained constantly.
So there is the road and the journey ahead, and nothing else feels right to me. Nothing else seems worth abandoning it for. When I reflect upon my adult life, the greatest times have been in the simplest of times. Times where I’ve accepted a humble life, free from the expectations of myself and others.
We finished up and continued down the highway and I resolved that there would be no more distractions. The final leap into the life you’ve chosen must be absolute before the worst of paths remains the only one left.