Life in Transition

IMG_1714For those of you who don’t know, my wife Jazz and I have been in transition for the last couple of months as she takes steps to pursue a career in computer programming.

At the moment we’re fortunate enough to find ourselves planted right in the middle of the splendor that is Seattle in the summertime, and although I realize it’s not like this all year round, we could definitely get used to life out here in the northwest, rainy or not.

The culture here is intelligent, interesting, entertaining and polite, all things I find important in a place to live. Plus anytime I miss the mountains the Cascades are thirty miles east of here, so I can always get my winter fix when the itch arises.  I couldn’t be more sick of cold and snowy weather after spending the last couple winters in frigid Gunnison, Colorado anyway, at least for now.

Jazz is taking a big step toward her dreams this summer by working as a programming intern at Amazon. So far she’s approached the challenge with such ferocious intensity that I can safely say a prouder husband has never existed than myself. She inspires me, humbles me, and reminds me I need to focus to achieve my own dreams. Her possibilities moving forward from this experience are as boundless as they are exciting, but they also make for a lot of uncertainty at the moment.

This year’s fall season could have us landing on either end of  a two-thousand mile expanse of the western United States, and I both love and fear that kind of freedom. In my heart I’ve always gotten carried away by possibilities, always sought out what my life could be, often at the expense of what it already is. I’ve reinvented myself and my life in four places over the last five years, and number five is a very real possibility. Jazz is in the same boat, and most of that reinventing has happened as a team, just as number five will if it pans out.

But for now we’re living in limbo, and we’re blessed to have this incredible opportunity to have such amazing new experiences. I live for new experiences, but I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that being in this limbo scares the living shit out of me. I feel lost sometimes.

I’ve jumped around so much following “what could be” over the last decade and a half that it often feels like I’ve set my old life on fire on the way out of town each time. It’s easy to start to feel like I don’t have anything to go back to, that I’m floating out here in space without a purpose, chasing possibility at the expense of stability.

As I type this post everything we own is stacked inside a 12 x 12 metal building twelve-hundred miles from here. Experiencing first hand that our modern lifestyle continues almost uninterrupted in the absence of all that stuff has me questioning what the point of owning it was in the first place. What does it mean to have something to go back to anyway? Does it mean having material things, or physical spaces?

I can say for sure that being so far from our stuff, or from the physical places and spaces we know and love, has been positive. I’ve enjoyed that part of this journey, and learned a lot about myself from it. But being so far away from family and friends makes me realize how much I need people who care about and support me in my life.

It’s the people we share our lives with that make life worth living, and sometimes I forget that. I get lonely in those moments, and I tend to lose my sense of purpose in the absence of people to invest myself into. I’ve been grappling with those kinds of feelings quite often lately.

I’m thirty-three years old and I’ve still not quite found my place in life. I may never find that place, because it may not even exist. The whole idea of such a place might be something I conjured up in my head to cope with a difficulty maintaining relationships that spans far back into my childhood. I’ve certainly ruined enough of them to understand how much you lose when you lose people who love and care for you.

I’m not that person anymore, or at least I’m working hard to change, and it embarrasses me to think back on the heavy-handed way I dealt with my relationships in the past. I’m more stable now in large part because of the love and support of people around me, and I miss those people now, being far from them and spending such a large chunk of each day alone.

My jiu-jitsu training partners in particular formed a network of support I didn’t give enough credit to when I had them around, but I’ve also reconnected with several friends from the past this summer, and for the life of me I can’t remember what caused us to lose touch in the first place. I’m making a commitment to not lose touch with them again, whatever comes, and that’s a good start toward stability, I think.

Some days I have to spend a lot of time reminding myself to enjoy the ride, to learn the lessons set out in front of me during this time of transition, and to leave past mistakes in the past. I’ve spent a good chunk of my adult life trying to play the lone wolf, when in reality no person on earth is less suited for that task than I am.

I’ve  had to admit to myself just how vital relationships are to my happiness, and how willing I am to work harder to maintain them and make them flourish, moving forward. I’ve also had to admit that a large portion of the feelings of isolation I’m experiencing come from my past mistakes, most of which happened as the result of some very poor life training by a violent alcoholic father. I spent ten years cutting that poison out of my psyche, but occasionally it still bubbles to the surface.

Writing and jiu-jitsu saved me from certain destruction, and they changed me in ways I will never be able to put into words (though trust me I will continue to try). They’re the two things that give me purpose in life, and they’re what I’m meant to spend my time on this earth doing, I’m certain of that. Now I just need to figure out where to do them.

My writing in particular is a side of me most of my family and friends have never experienced. I hope this blog is a way for me to use writing to stay connected to the people in my life, as well as to attract new people along the way.

I also hope my words can bring comfort and courage to others as well as myself for those tough days ahead that life throws at us all, or that they at least serve as a reminder that, whatever happens to knock us down, we have to stand back up and keep moving forward.

I could use a big dose of that sentiment much of the time, but I’m happy to say that, for the first time in my life, I believe I can achieve the things I desire if I just keep pushing forward, loneliness and isolation be damned.

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