I’ve been waking up early in the morning lately. Partially because I’ve been going to bed at a somewhat human hour. The days are getting shorter and soon the nights will be longer than the days again. The leaves in the mountains are just beginning to change, with those fiery reds and oranges and yellows shimmering on the aspens. Soon the mountainsides will look like they are ablaze with color.
The fields have subsided again to the golden brown of autumn already and hunters are stalking elk with black powder rifles and bows until the true insanity of hunting season starts again. Orange is the new black.
Sorry I have been remiss in my posts lately. I’m still playing catchup right now and hopefully I will have a lot of good stories and such to post both here and at gettingoutmore.org. As usual, I will post the things going through my mind, the gooey emotional meanderings and thoughts I have been experiencing, all the heavy stuff.
I want to talk about chasing. And trying to find that balance in life. I know the things I talk about are hardly the discussion for polite company amongst strangers, but I feel like if you’ve been reading my posts, we’ve somehow crossed that threshold a while back. Thank you for continuing to read. I just hope my thoughts resonate with my friends and readers and you find a kind of comraderie here.
Anyway. Chasing. I don’t want to bloviate about my trainwreck of a marriage, but I will say that for a very long time, I bought into the idea that I had to put my life on hold to embrace the prescribed way that married people have to live. Instead of adventures with a companion, I was toiling away at a job, never breaking even, buying too much crap for Christmas and birthdays for kids, and watching the world pass me by year after year.
When I got out, I understood the things that I was missing. Sure I had hedge trimmers and lawnmowers and I knew how to fix an eave and replace a gutter and spackle walls and hammer in flooring to improve a house that hardly ever felt like home, but I had almost no idea or sense of place in the rest of the world. I was piped everything from cable news or the internet. I watched travel shows and took whatever bullshit Rick Steves or Tony Bourdain was feeding me for gospel. But I was still hungry.
I was also hungry for human connection. I had my kids, half the time, but that was a continuing battle, just as it was when I was married. The only difference between this battle of wills in parenting was I had about five miles distance separating the kids from their mom every other week. It was all still the same game for her.
So, I chased that ever-elusive thing called a relationship in my off weeks. In the beginning, I was myopic because anyone would have been better than the person I had left. Even if they weren’t good for me. It was hard lessons, which took years. Finding someone, trying to incorporate our lives together, looking past the fundamental differences, and then watching things fall apart, regardless of my efforts. Believe me, I was good at lost causes. I held my marriage together for years. It was my superpower. It was a talent I have since taught myself to abandon. But that chasing sure as hell beat the war of attrition I was fighting with my kids. At least at the end of the day, I had something for myself that someone who hated me so much couldn’t take away.
The kids are gone now, and so are the women I had been pursuing. What remains is almost stark in comparison. I have the rest of my life. With me in it. Just me. I’m not chasing anyone. I’m no longer participating in the Greek tradgedy of parallel-parenting with a clinical narcissist. What remains is my own ambition to build a life for myself. I have resources such as my ability to write, my desire to learn new things–like photography–and now that I no longer have these other distractions, I am trying to figure out what to do with the resources I’ve got at my disposal.
How do I make it all come together? How do I turn these things into money? I’m about 25 years late to this game. I have to say it is not easy. There are days it feels like this is exactly what I need to do. Like I am following some sort of plan and things are falling into place. And there are times I think, dear Lord, I’m going to starve to death.
But those days when I wake up and the sunrise is shining purple on the hills, igniting the clouds, and the air is cool and crisp, I think I could get used to living like this.
And even the nights these days have felt much less cold and empty and alone.
The neat thing is sometimes you glance back to where you have come from and you actually see the progress you have made. It is encouragement enough to keep going. Even if things are so much different now than they were three, five, eight years ago. In many ways, it is so much different than your expectations. And in other ways, it is more amazing than you could have dreamed.
I’ve lost a lot along the way. Friends. Family. Lovers. A whole way of life. But I’ve gathered new experiences, met really cool people along the way (you know who you are!), and learned who my true, ride or die people are.
Everytime I go someplace, it takes me further away from who I once was, and closer to becoming someone new. I can’t help but wonder if one day, I will have lost myself entirely. Maybe that’s the whole point?