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Here is a question you might have had, but didn't know that you had. I mean, presuming the reader spends any time thinking about me, which I actually presume they do not.

So the question might be: is my picaresque life of kitsch a put-on for the internet? Is this a temporary period that I am engaging in before alighting back into more serious pursuits, such as the Interdepartmental Group on Knowledge Leadership? In short, am I slumming? Am I living in a half-basement apartment in a small college town in Oregon, and working part time online for .17 cents a minute, and spending my time reading YA literature from The Dollar Tree, because I am... "taking a break", or purposely thumbing my nose at the world?

The answer is, simply, no.

I am 42 years old. When I was in my 20s, many of my peers lived as I did now. One by one, they seemed to get responsibilities and jobs and houses. And...it just never happened to me. I have not done anything especially big to break from the "normal" world. I have never been in jail. I've never even been arrested. I haven't abused any drugs, including alcohol. There is no red flag in my record that says I can't participate in the normal world. And in many ways, I have participated. But it always seems like I am just stopping by.

And in my mind, for many years, I thought I would make a circuit and come back to my hometown, to dispense my sage advice. I could be like Zhuge Liang: country school teacher whose years of study made him a master strategist. No one has knocked on my door yet, offering me a glamorous position based on my years of social media presence. But, you know, it is only Wednesday.

Sometimes people lionize the "decision" to live life "on my own terms", but the truth is, it wasn't a decision. And while I enjoy "being my own person", I also have many anxieties. I haven't been to a dentist since 2014, and I haven't been to a doctor since...uh, 2006? TBQH, I don't really know what doctors do. Right now, my life might be "picaresque", but I am nervous about my rent going up. I am nervous about my job going away. I am nervous about getting old and having no connections or relationships.

But here is the key point: it's not like I am actively deciding to not have those things. It's not like there is a middle-class job with full benefits and comforts, and a meaningful relationship, just knocking at my door, and I am actively refusing them to be different. These things, which other people talk about as if they are automatic, are things I wouldn't even know how to get to square one with.

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