It’s been a while since I’ve written here. In many ways, I regret that. I’d set up this blog, after all, as more-or-less of an online journal all those years ago… wait, wow, my “About” page still says I’m in my “early 30’s”? Sheesh. Have I really been too lazy to update it? Or is it a subconscious grab at wishful thinking? I’ll let the reader decide…
Anyway, the short story, for those who are interested? Meh, I’m fine.
* * *
I’ve started more than a few posts over the last few months, all to have them go nowhere.
No, that’s not quite true. They all went somewhere. Where they usually went was on a quick descent into morose, depressing ramblings about life. Then, at some point while writing my way along that downward spiral I’d just get sick of it, and stop working on it. I’d find I didn’t want to keep writing along that downward spiral, because it wasn’t entirely reflective of the complex state of mind I’ve been in these past few months. Plus, I’m pretty sure nobody wants to read that shit either.
I’ll try not to let this post go too far down that path.
For some reason, writing all the darker stuff didn’t have the cathartic effect that writing has had in the past. It just felt whiny and selfish. Besides, life is way more nuanced than good or bad, up or down, happy or sad. I have good days and bad ones. I have up days and down days. I have days where I’m happy and days where I’m sad. Because, you know, life.
Which brings us back around to how I described things before: meh, I’m fine.
* * *
At the moment, I’m sitting in one of my favorite local coffee shops (Top Dog Coffee in Morro Bay, for those interested), musing over where my life stands as 2013 comes to a close.
It’s a mixed bag.
On the plus side, I live in a wonderful area. I have a good job which, even though it definitely isn’t the ideal (or even particularly what I was looking for), is a good job nonetheless. I have nice co-workers, the working environment is decidedly less hostile than my previous position, and I’ve got a great supervisor. I’ve started to build something of a social life here, and have managed a couple of weekends (in both directions) with my old friends in L.A., and I feel pretty lucky to have them in my life after all these years.
On the down side, I’m a forty-year-old single guy living in an area drenched in people half my age. Even as I type this I’m overhearing a conversation with the college-age baristas talking about classes, majors, and studying abroad. I joked online a few months ago that living here was going to kick off my mid-life crisis a few years early. Some friends took it more seriously than I’d intended… maybe there’s something to their interpretation?
And, of course, the elephant in the room: the girl I’d wanted to marry dumped me for someone else. It apparently didn’t last past three weeks, but she never expressed any regret or desire to get back together. Worse, for several months she kept in touch, wanting to be “friends”, which only served as a reminder of what I’d lost.
The simplest way of summing things up is: the days are good, but the nights are lonely.
* * *
They say that travel changes you. What they don’t say is that those changes aren’t always good.
Some days it feels great that the end of my travels found me moving here. Other days, I think to myself “what the hell have I done?”
I did what everyone does, of course: made the best decisions I could based on the circumstances I found myself in. A few months ago, those circumstances amounted to being in a long-term, long-distance relationship where I needed to travel. One where we had told each other that we were in love and wanted to move in together. So I applied for and took a job that wasn’t necessarily my dream job, but that would allow me to keep my dream relationship going. I got the job, but lost the relationship.
I don’t know. I’ve only been here since July. Maybe it’s too soon to determine if I’ve made the best decision of my life, or the worst.
Like everyone, I’m just doing the best I can, making the best choices I can.
Too bad that isn’t enough to guarantee a happy ending.
* * *
2013 has left me feeling, well, tired.
Not physically tired. Spiritually tired.
I am, once again, starting over, and although more than one person has told me this is a good thing, starting fresh with new opportunities, I’ve been hard-pressed to feel that way. Instead it feels like I’ve been doing this starting-over thing, this cycle of up-and-down, love-and-heartbreak, success-and-failure for a couple of decades now, but the path I truly seek always eludes me. The idea of falling for someone, moving in together, starting to build a life with someone? That was starting something new. Instead I’m back at square one, starting over again on life not because I want to, but simply because there isn’t any other choice. But I’m too spiritually exhausted to get excited or to drum up much energy about doing so.
As negative as all that sounds, it’s not completely reflective of the way I feel. Nuances, remember?
Looking to 2014, I don’t feel particularly negative about the future. I don’t feel particularly positive, either. I feel… I dunno how to describe it, really. Resigned? Unenthusiastic? Can “meh” be a feeling in addition to a mood?
2014 is coming, and I’m fine with it, and I’ll make the best of things that I can. Just don’t ask me to get all excited about it.
* * *
See? There the writing goes, spinning off down some dark tunnel that sounds infinitely worse than it is. I could even go on, waxing poetically about changes to myself, my philosophy of life, etc. But… nah. Let’s end on a positive note.
For the moment, this very moment, I’m going to focus on the fact that it’s December in California, and it’s sunny outside, and the temperature (after the cold snap that hit the whole country a couple of weeks ago) is going to top out in the seventies today. As I finish off this post tonight, the remainder of my day involved: eating a ham & cheese on bagel breakfast sandwich at Top Dog (which: zounds, why haven’t I eaten such deliciousness before??), finishing the wrapping of presents, cooking up a darn-near-perfect hamburger on the grill at home, and streaming “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (a film I know so well I may or may not have been singing along with).
Last night I climbed up Cerro San Luis. (For those wondering about the lack of hiking posts: I’ve been hiking, but the GPS died out a couple of months ago (won’t lock onto a satellite to save its life) and I haven’t bought a new one yet to track hikes for posts.) Anyway, at the top of the peak is a “tree” made of strings of lights strung to the top of a pole some fifty feet tall. It can be seen from all over town. I was alone up there at sunset, watching it drop below the Irish Hills and the lights twinkle on in the city spread out before me. I took some pictures with my newly-repaired camera, and sipped hot chocolate from a flask I’d brought up with me.
And I felt, in a good way, fine.
And so I’ll leave you there, with pictures of the town’s holiday mountain-top tree. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. See you all in 2014.