wishing on a star(fish)


Starfish in Monterey BayI woke at 5am today, trying to prevent my body from becoming accustomed to pacific time. It would be easy to become accustomed to pacific beauty, however. I had planned to walk down to the wharf and watch the sun rise, but there are thick, dark rain clouds surrounding the bay, so instead I'm using the time to write out the thoughts in my head.

When I travel to beautiful places like Camden and Monterey, I find myself questioning my life choices pretty closely. Why, exactly, is it that I choose not to live in a beautiful coastal town, when I love them so much?

There are good reasons, of course, family being largest amongst those. Living in Rochester means my parents have easy access to their only grandchildren. It means a cost of living that allows us to live on one salary, which in turn means my husband can be a full-time stay-at-home dad. It means public schools that we like and trust, and a neighborhoods where we feel at home. It means permanent job security for me, and coworkers whose company I enjoy.

Those are some powerful advantages.


I still find myself looking out at the waters of Monterey Bay, trying to figure out how we could relocate to a coastal town, somewhere, and still retain the quality of life that we have now.

In Sadie Plant's "cyberfeminist rant" Zeroes and Ones, I found this passage about Anna Freud that helped to inspire my talks for tomorrow:

Her lectures were composed in the same way. First, she lectured in her imagination, enjoying the thunderous applause, and then she made an outline of what she had said, adjusting it if she needed to for greater simplicity and coherence. Later, with her outline in hand, she would give the lecture extempore. [...]
This is hysteresis, the lagging of effects behind their causes. Reverse engineering: the way hackers hack and pirates conspire to lure the future to their side. Starting at the end, then engaging in a process which simultaneously assembles and dismantles the route back to the start, the end, the future, the past: who's counting now?

This concept of starting with a clear image of desired results isn't new, of course. It's part of nearly every "New Age" book I've ever read, part of many psychotherapeutic approaches, part of the worst motivational talks I've ever heard. But despite all that, I think there's something to it. So perhaps what I need to do is simply imagine the end point, and focus my energies on working backwards from there.


I was at a lecture by Edward de Bono a couple of years ago, and he added an interesting variant to that way of finding solutions to problems: take any chance object or concept, he said. Anything. Really. A potato was actually the example he used, as I remember. Then work BACKWARDS to find out how that thing relates to the thing you're interested in. There'll be some connection, maybe not one that's interesting, but it's a way of generating ideas and ways of continuing that you might not have thought of if you were going from A to B instead of from N to A.

I should have an example to explain this, but I can't think of one. Maybe someone else can :)

Enjoy the beauty!

Well, some coastal towns/cities do indeed have neighborhoods that are neighborhoods (we know most of the people on our street, it's a good place for kids, etc.), and even good public schools. Even in the heart of Silicon Valley. (Mountain View, with Los Altos schools.)

Now, cost of living such that a family can live on one academic salary...well, OK, that's a stumper for this particular area, at least until you already own a home outright.

But I'm reminded why we--both Northern California natives--would find it so difficult to move elsewhere, even to cash out our house.

When I was a teenager visiting my California cousins we spent one night talking until the AM. We had the bright idea of driving to the beach to see the sunrise. Looking out over the ocean, we became aware that it was getting lighter.

Funny, when you're on the west coast looking at the ocean, the sun rises behind you.

I have no excuses...but all I can say is that the cousins who lived there should have at least had a clue.

But hey - California sunsets are lovely.

When talking to Gerald this morning, I made a point of telling him that I'd planned to watch the sunrise over the mountains, not over the bay, because we know of at least one other person who made the same mistake you made, Weez!

But I am planning to cut out of the sessions tonight in time to see the sunset.




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 3, 2003 9:26 AM.

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