Writing as catharsis

Monday January 3rd, 2011

Posted in Ranting and rambling by Lachlan R. Dale on January 3, 2011

So another year has passed, but what does it mean? In real terms, it means absolutely nothing. For the wider society Christmas and New Year celebrations marks a very strange period of mandated sluggishness punctuated with violent outbursts of excessive alcoholism. The fact that the ‘silly season’ is also the season of domestic violence is quite a sobering thought, which should perhaps be cause for reflection of our culture’s obsession with alcohol.

I find myself less inclined to partake in any Christmas festivities with every passing year, though I most definitely still enjoy the deep, relaxing breath from reality like most, and the time to spend with my wider family.

Regardless of my general sense of cynicism, I still find myself reflecting on the year that was. 2010 was a good year; I quit my soul-destroying work at Sony Australia. I travelled six weeks in Europe – just long enough to realise that six weeks is a pathetically inadequate period of time. I managed to secure the job I wanted above all others as Senior Online Editor at Amnesty International. I continued my long-distance relationship with my dear Monika.

I feel like I am in a much better position than I was a year ago; though all is not well. Problems still remain. Resolutions bring only more questions. Above all, contentment breeds the suspicion that things should not be this easy. To live a life of comforted luxury is not acceptable; I must have new challenges. I must push the limits of my comfort. I must experience. I must continue to question my assumptions.

I found an interesting little parallel the other day. The obvious dawned on me; that I write, draw and play guitar all primarily as a means to self-expression and catharsis above all else. I draw especially when I’m in a poor mood, and it seems a very obvious and direct way to channel my mood with strokes of the pen – however, when I am contented and comfortable then nothing interesting comes of my drawing. Without turmoil born of experiences, there is nothing of interest to express.

That is where I feel I am currently. I need to leave the house of my parents once more and force myself to live alone. I should have Monika come live with me, and plan a strange journey with full commitment – perhaps three-to-six months in South East Asia, or travelling the deserts and rainforests of Australia. Material comfort and first world contentment is boring, and I cannot understand how so many people can be filled by it. I have never been the most impulsive risk-taker in the world, but more and more I feel drawn by this path. One must experience. One must expose oneself. One must live.

Amnesty International Australia has proven fantastic so far. The work is very engaging, and the content of great interest to me – though, of course, hard to bear at times. I have never, ever had such a lack of awareness of time passing. Before I know it the week is through. I have had this strange sensation time and time again. Surely that is a sign of my intense level of engagement with my work – a prime example of experiencing Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of Flow. Nonetheless, I know that this is not the end but a mere temporary measure. This is not what I will do forevermore. It is certainly a drastic improvement, and it is very contenting, but this is not my path forever – though it does open up an enormous amount of opportunity. As always, I have no awareness of where things may lead.

I feel I have it too easy. I feel I need more independence; more challenging situations. I’m sure it is only a matter of time until my restlessness boils over.

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