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  • Robert Farago

Living in Limbo


TWC P1 - Wherein the author explains his leap into the great unknown

Back in the day, I read an article about terminally ill people who suddenly discovered they weren’t terminally ill. They were nostalgic for the time they lived under a death sentence. A time of unimaginable intensity.

Moving is a baby version of that. Not moving per se. The time between knowing you’re making a major move and actually leaving.

When you realize that the people and places you take for granted are about to disappear into the mists of time, but haven’t yet. Limbo.

https://youtu.be/zjU8L6go1VA

If sadness doesn’t overtake you, if the fear of the unknown doesn’t have you in its grips, if you let go before you go, living in limbo is a wistful thrill. It triggers the bittersweet joy of living in a moment destined to die.

Part of that pleasure comes from mentally untethering from your daily life.

Most of us define ourselves by our relationships with the people, places and things that surround us. Our routine interactions are comfortable, predictable and safe.

I’m the guy who motorcycles to Habana House every day to write these posts, meeting and greeting (or not) people who know who I am. Smoke, write, eat, exercise, schmooze, sleep.

If I’m not that guy, if I’m not my habits and the person the people who know me know me to be, who am I?

No matter where you go…

I’ve moved eight times in sixty-four years. I’ve lived in Boston, New York City, Atlanta, London, Windsor, Bath, Providence and Austin. I’ve moved multiple times within some of those cities.

I like to believe all these places and the people within them have shaped me. Opened me up to different ways of being. Of living. Of thinking. Broadening my mind. Helped make me the man I am.

Perhaps so. Perhaps not. There’s more than a measure of truth in the expression “no matter where you go, there you are.”

There’s also truth in the Albert Einstein quote “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

The Wandering Jew

Come May (or earlier), I’m leaving Austin, my home for more than ten years, for good. I’m firing-up Charley the Goldwing motorcycle and heading to parts unknown.

I don’t have anything more than a general idea of direction. No set destination, save The Tail of the Dragon, a twisting road famous for “challenging” motorcyclists (open course, amateur rider). And then… who knows?

That’s the key difference between this move and previous relocations: I’m not deciding where I’ll live when I’m done.

My rationale is as simple as it is bonkers: I can’t free myself from my past, but I can free myself from my future.

I can give the middle finger to the tyranny of careful plans, logical choices and inevitable ends. I can surrender the rest of my life to the vagaries of chance. See where the wind blows me.

How Low Can You Go?

I’d be a fool if I didn’t consider the possibility that the wind will blow me into the morgue. So be it. I’ve lived a full life, left my mark on four amazing daughters.

Don’t get me wrong: I sure as hell don’t want to die out there, somewhere. But the Grim Reaper awaits me no matter what. If I’m going to dice with him on two wheels, I need to do it now, before age gives him an indefatigable edge.

This won’t be easy.


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If nothing else I’m leaving a daily routine punctuated by creature comforts: my Nespresso coffee machine, doublewide Sealy, desktop Mac, killer stereo, stocked humidor. Exchanging them for the joys of two saddlebags worth of clothing and all the home comforts of a Motel 6.

Limbo dance! I miss them already! Is that weird? Anyway, what of leaving friends, you ask?

Truth be told, the lack of loving nurture and my sarcastic nature have made me a lone wolf, unable and/or unwilling to sustain the kind of close, personal relationships that tie people to each other and their community.

Family? Like so many children of Holocaust survivors, my family unit fractured and fragmented, never to be un-rented asunder. My brothers and their children are no more concerned about my 10-20 than the Brits who’ve been selling my self-hypnosis CD’s for 30 years without paying me a dime.

There’s one more factor driving me into the mental and physical wilderness: my work.

I’ve never felt more confident that I’m doing what I need to do with my life than I do right now, writing this Substack.

I’m no Jack London, but life on the road will provide the grist for my mill that I need to take The Truth About Everything to the next level.

All of which makes this limbo more poignant than any I’ve experienced before. Not gonna lie. More frightening too, as you might expect for a 64-year-old hitting the road all by his lonesome.

Watch This Space

If there’s one thing I know about this, my second reinvention rodeo: there will come a moment when I’ll know I’m exactly where I should be.

How long that lasts, how many times it might occur and what happens after I decide “enough” is anybody’s guess.

Meanwhile, do me a favor. Subscribe to this Stack if you haven’t already. Consider becoming a paid subscriber (instructions here) to help subsidize and motorvate this odyssey.

Above all, watch this space. Your patronage makes this journey possible, in so many ways. Thank you.

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