Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 276- Roads taken and otherwise

Dear Mr. President,

I'm having one of those weeks where everything in my life is up for questioning. Am I happy? Am I doing the right thing? Am I making the right choices? What are my goals? Maybe it's back-to-school time getting to me, or the overabundance of sentimental movies I've been watching lately. Facing this general uncertainty always inclines me to look back, to evaluate the decision and compromises and mistakes I've made in the past. (It also leads to a lot of baking.) I see old boyfriends and high school classmates getting married, settling down, having children. Sometimes I worry that kind of normal adulthood is just never going to appeal to me. People my age want careers, houses, cars, families. I want something much less tangible. Perhaps my constant need to question the path I'm walking has held me back, slowing my journey and putting me through more emotional turmoil than otherwise necessary. I suspect, however, that I'm just built this way, there's nothing to be done about it.

This letter isn't particularly political. I know people with Real Problems- worries over where their next meal, the new roof, the health insurance, the unemployment benefits, the job or the right to marry their partner will come from, if it comes at all. I'm lucky to be wallowing in a state of mild existential crisis. It will surely pass. And while I may wish I could go back and do a number of things differently, it is far more important to focus on my current situation and try to steer in a better direction. I want to find happiness, and I think that a big part of that, for me, is feeling good about what I do, and that requires a certain amount of constant questioning.

Do you find yourself doing the same thing with your own goals? I can't imagine that you have the luxury of being anywhere near as self-reflective as my lack of significance affords me. The importance of your job simply wouldn't permit it. But surely you have to take stock of things, occasionally, to measure your progress and question your course. Especially given the grim forecast for the midterms and the recent media narrative, I'd imagine you must be seriously considering your Presidency's goals and strategies. While I'm sure that conventional wisdom says you ought to be moving to the center, pandering to the vocal movement of intractable conservatism, I hope that you refuse to listen to it. You can't take back the promises you made in the campaign, or lower expectations before you took office. The only thing left to do is figure out a way to keep those promises and rise to those expectations- something that an ostensibly safe veer toward the center will never allow you.

Respectfully yours,


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