Posted by: GeekHiker | July 14, 2011

The Journal: January, 2010

2010 has arrived and I have made no resolutions.

I probably should have.

In 2009, I resolved to avoid injury, having hurt both my knees in 2008.  It worked out well, and I avoided injury in 2009.

Now it’s halfway into January, and I’ve already broken a toe, slipping on slick granite into a hot tub in Baja.

Fuck.

[Hell of a way to start the year…]

* * *

It was in October last year that I came to understand something:

I hate my life.

This, I suppose, should have some clarification.

See, I don’t feel it in some over-dramatic, woe-is-me teenager kind of way.  It’s not that I hate myself, or that I’m suicidal, or any sillyness like that.

What it IS is a realization that most aspects of my life I am unhappy with.

I hate my job.  I am always hesitant to say this, and doing to in the middle of a recession, where even friends I know can’t find work, doubly so.

But.

It’s true.

I’ve mentally separated myself from it as much as possible.  I hold it at arm’s length – I do the job, and I do my work well, but I just don’t care about it.

Perhaps for too long, I’ve felt that income was enough.

But now I keep thinking of how quickly the years have gone by.

And how much time I’ve wasted.

[I’m still, even though I’m no longer there, hesitant to comment about the job.  It’s not like I’m alone in my feelings about it; the place actually has a reputation around town as being a bloody awful place to work.  Still, I put in some of my best (and a lot of) work there, and I left a good system that, for all intents and purposes, had no downtime.  Whatever my feelings about working there, at least I can say that with pride.]

* * *

I hate living in L.A.  But I don’t know where I belong.

L.A., contrary to popular belief, isn’t all bad.  But it’s bad enough.

I’m tired of the size, the number of people, the absolute fakeness of it all.

Or is that simply the nature of people, and not simply of Los Angeles?

The problem is, I don’t know where I should go, where I would fit in.

I am lost, and don’t know where home should be.

[The fact is, my feelings about L.A. are complex.  How could they not be, given the size and diversity of the city?  I have met good friends here (though, interestingly, none of them are native to L.A.), found a big part of myself in her natural environs, and there’s always much to see and much to do.  How I feel about the city, all those nuances of feeling, will certainly be the subject of some writing down the road.  Like I said, it’s complex.  I’ve started to realize, only now, just how much so.]

* * *

My social life is a relatively recent development.  It’s certainly nothing to complain about, though I can’t deny that I wish the contacts were more frequent than they are.

Still, I always feel inadequate amongst the group.

Everyone has traveled more than I have.  Seen more.  Done more.  They’re in better shape.  They’re better looking.

They don’t have a double-chin.

[My friendships are the toughest part.  Leaving the job, the city, all that is relatively easy; leaving my friends is the drawback that’s slaying me now.]

* * *

I can’t help but notice the couples that are here.

[I think I wrote this at the top of Sandstone Peak.  Fun fact: I always made a point to try and add journal entries outdoors: hiking, in parks, at the ocean, whatever.  No reason why, just because…]

It’s not that they’re doing anything particularly overt.  There’s nothing happening that makes me want to scream “get a room, you two!”

Its the subtle things.  The shared looks.  The quiet glances.  The stolen time away from the others, sitting on a granite outcrop, hands intertwined.

I miss those moments.

I keep trying to convince myself not to.

Perhaps that’s a societal thing.  We simultaneously make coupledom the most important thing in the world, yet lionize singledom and treat marriage as some horror to be avoided.  [To wit: sitcoms and most stand-up comic acts.]

For myself, I have simply grown afraid.  I fear women, real, live, breathing women, as much as a 16-year-old.  Twenty years on, and nothing has changed.

Sometimes, now, I think it’s just too late.

[Still true?  Gawd, I don’t know.  Maybe.  Women intimidate the hell out of me…]

* * *

So, there it is, in a nutshell: I hate my life.

I yearn to change it.

But I am… lazy?

Uninspired?

Unenthused?

Perhaps I am simply unable to overcome inertia.  To break my own habits. To break out of the daily cycle, the rut I’ve worn myself into.

Perhaps slow torture is the most insipid.

It’s too easy to relax into things. Hikes. TV. Meals out. Netflix movies. Facebook updates.

There’s no harsh stimulus.  There’s nothing THAT bad on a daily basis.

Work is tolerable.

I see friends occasionally.

I hit the trail every week or two.

I distract myself with a movie.

It’s just enough to get by okay.  Enough to bring me down, but not enough to inspire change.

Even though I know change is exactly what I need.

[Turns out, I’m not so good with change.  Maybe I’ll finally be able to get over that.  Or maybe, at least, I’ll be able to figure out why.]

* * *

I’m not a particularly rash or impulsive person by nature.  Sometimes I wish I were.  Perhaps its something I can learn, or perhaps its simply not in my nature at all.

Nonetheless, I have an idea.  Or, at least, the inkling of an idea.

It’s time to go.

Where?  I do not know.

When or for how long?  Haven’t the faintest idea.

I want to travel the country.  I want to travel the world.  I want to see famous sights, and the not so famous.  Hike the grandest trails.  Climb the highest mount… eh, maybe not that one.  I’m no mountain goat.

[Heh.  I still chuckle at that.]

* * *

So far, I have only told one person of this auspicious, totally unfocused idea.

Not my parents.  The last thing I need right now is Dad piping up with all the negatives.

Which is what he ALWAYS fucking does.

Not my friends, who would be supportive, but who I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of if it doesn’t happen.

Certainly not my job.  A sabbatical there is out of the question, and they take quitting as a personal affront (though they themselves have no problem firing people willy-nilly).

Not even my best friend.  No reason why, though, and perhaps I shall share with her in Vancouver.

No, the solitary soul so far is my financial planner.  As I said, I’m not rash.

Who, much to my surprise, thinks it’s a wonderful idea.

[Her response, as I recall, was “you may have to retire a year later, but if your life is better as a result, it’s worth it.”]

Who recommended books to read, not to quit just yet (owing to the economy), but to start planning now.

I suppose, when the person handling your investments and retirement plans is on your side, it’s a good sign that the idea is a valid one.

And so it begins.

[Reading back through this, I realize how unfocused I was in the writing.  The idea basically boils down to this: after many years of working, stop, put everything I own in storage, and move around a bit.  And, as I write this in July 2011, the plan itself is still totally unfocused.  But things are in play: with the news on Monday, packing (which I should be doing rather than typing this) and preparing to move out.  The initial plan?  Epic road trip.  So it begins, indeed.]

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Responses

  1. Watching you looking back at yourself is quite interesting! You’re so much stronger now, it seems, just from the comparative tones of your writings. Are you imagining your 2013 self looking back at the beginning of your epic road trip? So much wiser for having traveled the world, with subtle changes to your truth filters, and no longer intimidated by women? That’s my guess.

  2. Absolutely fabulous!!! I am SO glad you finally took that step, as your readers have been suggesting and encouraging for a while now. Let’s just say that this post resonated so much with me it’s scary (except the fearing women part or the hating LA part), but shall I say that I am almost jealous (no, definitely jealous) that you are now FREE? Makes me wish I were braver.

    Here is to the beginning of a wonderful new journey!!

  3. “I hate living in L.A. But I don’t know where I belong.”
    (i’ve been stuck at that point for years now…)

    envious as you take that step into your awaiting adventure!

  4. First of all, I have to defend LA natives. Given that LA is so expansive, there are plenty of pockets holding good people. I’m a third-generation Angelino and although you don’t always like my tough love, you know I’ve been a loyal devotee of yours. In my experience, the LA transplants are usually a lot worse (they’re the ones who get caught up in “being LA” with plastic surgery and fake tans) than those of us who grew up here.

    I think change is scary for pretty much everyone, but the alternative is even scarier. Stagnation. Imagine if you stayed in your 2009 situation for 10 more years. You’d feel that you lost so much.

    Kudos to your financial planner. I want to high-five her. Anyone on the verge of a gigantic adventure should be encouraged.

    GH, I’m really proud of you.

  5. I know you’re probably not seeking advice, so I’ll try to make this sound more like sharing experience than advice. First of all, I agree with the financial planner. Frankly, anyone in their 30s who would deny themselves a year of living in order to retire a year earlier deserves a hard kick in the pants. If you’re really out there living life and having a good time, you probably won’t live long enough to collect on retirement savings anyway.

    Second, I’ve lived all over. Ask Melheth…the family referred to me for a long time as The Gypsy. What I learned from experiencing so many places around the US is there is good and bad everywhere, and trying things on for size helps you find the right fit. I ended up in the least likely of places I would expect to be happy. But, even with the insanity that exists around me, I love where I am. While I might not stick to this particular city (I’ve been here 7 years now), I’ll definitely stay in the region.

    I decided a few years ago to start living a genuine life. And that included seeing and experiencing cultures I never would have given a second glance. Now, I am in love with South America and go as often as I can afford. Point is…living is a lot of fun. Enjoy your new adventure!

  6. I just feel the need to add that Hunner and I are brother-and-sister-in-laws sort of once removed. In case you wondered about the connection.

  7. Hey Geekhiker,

    I’m a fellow “(single) geek hiker” who also once lived in LA, long time lurker. First of all, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog the last couple of years. I can relate on so many levels. Here’s to an absolutely “epic” adventure!

  8. It’s wonderful that you are sharing this! 😀


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