I've been feeling something missing in my life the last few weeks. I should preface this with updates on my deschooling and de-food-ing (?) progress. (Long post alert! Of course I always feel everything I write is important, but if you're having a serious tl;dr attack, just skip down to the list of nifty bolded thingies.)
A few months ago I started eating what I want, when I want. Lately, I've been noticing that food never "looks good" the way it used to. I open the fridge or a cabinet hoping to see some forbidden luxury food that will give me a sense of... fulfillment? Indulgence? I don't know, but food doesn't do that for me anymore. It's just food. Which is good, because that's what food is supposed to be: just food! But it also means I have to learn how to actually deal with my emotional needs, especially since I'm also giving up the false approval of school. I never realized how much I based my self-image on the approval of teachers; it's a bit disturbing to think about, really.
So, I guess the first stage (with both food and deschooling) was gorging on freedom, and now I'm in the second stage which is realizing something is still missing, grasping for whatever was filling the space before, and going "huh?" when it isn't there. I realized I was in this stage when I started whining constantly to my friends that I was bored, even when I actually had fun things to do. I think sometimes "I'm lonely and want to have an engaging conversation" and "I need something but I don't know what it is" come out as "I'm bored". Usually with kids who are unschooling, their parents are (or should be) ready at this point to jump in and help them find things they need. I don't have this help; my mom cares, but her world is limited and my knowledge of the great big world out there exceeded hers at least ten years ago. Luckily I have pretty good intrapersonal intelligence (more on this in another post), so I can look inside myself and figure out pretty well what I need. Here's a list of ideas I made, hoping to move into a third stage of going out and finding new things to *actually* fulfill me.
A job. I need a job for income to buy new fun things, and to take classes and go places, and to save money so maybe we can eventually move, and to do the other stuff on this list. I also need a job because it will get me out of the house every day. I'm not 100% sure what I want to do, but I'm thinking something in retail. An office job would pay better but I'd rather have something where I get to stand up and move around and interact with people. There's a few hippie-ish stores around; I'd love to work at one of those but they tend to be very small businesses that don't hire very often. But basically for now I want a simple job so I can take my time deciding what I want to do long-term.
Music lessons. At Yasumicon a few weeks ago I learned a new reason why guitars are a fun instrument to play: they're portable. There was a teenage boy there, maybe 15 or so, who randomly climbed a tree and started playing guitar there. I thought that was so cool - I'd love to be able to just carry music wherever I go. Sure you can do that with a clarinet or flute or something, but it just doesn't have the same "wandering minstrel" feel. Also you can't play Pink Floyd on them. (Well you can, but...) So I want guitar lessons, and maybe piano too. I'd like to get better at that.
A chance to meet creative people. Not that the people I know aren't creative! But I feel like most of my friends are more passionate about visual art or drama, and I need to be around music-lovers. I'm talking about people who practically pee themselves over a good song, like I do. This is one I may have covered; I answered a musician ad on Craigslist for someone who basically wants to gather other weird, artsy people to maybe work on projects or bounce ideas off each other. So that should be good.
Possibly some kind of gaming thingy. That is totally the technical term for it. Seriously though, I have an old Dungeons and Dragons guide laying around and was paging through it and thinking I might like to actually play again. This should be pretty easy to find since a lot of my friends are gamer geeks, I can just ask if they know anybody running a good D&D campaign. (If you're one of my gamer friends and you read this, no I do not want to play Vampire the Masquerade/Requiem/whatever. I like sitting around somebody's apartment rolling dice kind of gaming, not LARPing. Although that weird old west game might be interesting...)
Some kind of spiritual group. Maybe pagan, maybe new age, maybe... I don't know. I'll check into the CUUPS (Unitarian pagans) group at church, maybe.
An art or jewelry making class. Or maybe just some really good, well-illustrated books on the subject.
And that's what I've come up with so far. It feels really good to step back and acknowledge that while my friends are awesome, they cannot be everything I need all the time. Sometimes I'm going to get interested in things none of them care about, and instead of being whiny and resentful I just need to get off my ass and go find people who like what I like. I used to feel like that was somehow disloyal, but really it's a LOT more fair to my friends than expecting them to take interest in whatever strange whim I have at any given time.
Now, if I can just find a job, I can actually afford to get started on the other stuff.