How are you? Been a while, I know.
Figures, doesn’t it? Just as I start going through pictures and writing about the travels, life suddenly turns into a crazy whirlwind. I’d more-or-less anticipated that there would be a whirlwind at some point, the moment when things would suddenly change and start moving in new directions. What I couldn’t anticipate was when, and what I never anticipated is everything that would happen…
The big news of the moment is that, as of Monday, I will once again be employed.
Out of nowhere a few weeks ago, one of the many applications I’d submitted (way back in March) responded, asking for a telephone interview.
Which went horribly.
Owing to a combination of being on speakerphone, my cell phone, and a lousy connection, I spent the entire phone interview struggling not only to answer the questions being put to me, but to even understand the questions being asked through all the static. When it was over I hung up the phone and thought “well, that was a good learning experience, at least,” and went back to drafting cover letters.
So you can imagine my surprise a couple of days later when I got a call back for a second interview, via Skype.
Not long after that, I was given the offer, and in the past few weeks I’ve been in the process of de-camping from the Sacramento area and moving down to the Central Coast of California. Home will be, for the near term (at least as long as the one-year lease I signed on this apartment, I hope) in the San Luis Obispo area.
So, you know, boom.
* * *
Astute readers (which is all of you, of course) may have noticed a lack of enthusiasm in the text above. It’s not without good reason.
Last week, a mere few days before moving, 1Cent dumped me.
She called me early one morning to tell me it was over, that she had “developed feelings” for one of her previous roommates. She’d even blocked (not just un-friended but full on, I-always-thought-it-was-reserved-just-for-stalkers, blocked) me on FaceBook at nearly the same moment.
I was left bewildered. I still am.
After all, this was the girl that I’d been working on creating a relationship with for a year and a half. The girl I flew back to Melbourne to see. The girl who flew over here to see me and spent nearly a month here.
When she left in March, she was talking about moving in together. A mere two days before the fateful call, we’d been commenting on each others FB posts. We’d even been emailing about my applying for a Backpacker Magazine contest to win a trip for two to New Zealand so that we could hike the Milford Track together.
Then, out of nowhere, this. Going off to explore feelings with someone else. (She claimed not to have been unfaithful but, if you’re in a relationship with someone, isn’t opening yourself to exploring feelings for someone else rather than resisting temptation pretty much the definition of unfaithful, whether consummated or not?) Repeating over and over again that she “doesn’t love me.” Saying that the distance was hard because of no definitive plans to see each other, right at the moment when I got the job that allowed exactly that to be possible. (She claims to still want to be friends, which is weird considering the FB block. Even wants to hike the Milford together as friends… so I can be, what? The third wheel to her and her new lover?)
It’s all strange, confusing, hurtful, and sad. After all, this was the girl I was considering asking to marry me when next we saw each other.
Then again, I guess being dumped always is.
* * *
As a side note, this brings me back to the oddest coincidence in my life: the apparent wacky tie between my love life and my work.
This isn’t a “oh, woe is me” type of thing. Just a bit of weirdness. Hear me out.
I think I first noticed it with The Ex, that whenever our relationship was working well, things at work would be a nightmare. On the flip side, whenever our relationship was going through a rocky period, life at work would be going along swimmingly. The final capper was when, after we broke up, the structure at work changed and improved, with my position taking on more responsibility, more control of the system, and getting more respect.
Before that, with a previous girl with whom I clicked immensely, work took a nose-dive, with intense run-ins with my direct supervisor. After that ended, everything went back to normal. Same thing with the short term girl I was seeing in 2010.
And here again, albeit at the extreme ends of the scale: when I was all-out unemployed for a year and a half, I had the best relationship of my life. The moment I got a job, the relationship ended.
It’s all just a coincidence of course.
Although… if it’s not, and I do in fact only get to have either gainful employment OR a relationship in my life… well… that’s pretty frakking messed up…
* * *
So, wow, where does that leave your humble GeekHiker?
A jumbled mental mess, that’s where.
On the one hand, I’m happy (and needless to say, relieved) to be employed again.
But… it’s another IT job. Before last week, I didn’t mind: the job was the most conducive way for me to get back together with the girl I was in love with. Since it turned out that she doesn’t feel the same for me, apparently, taking on the job now just makes me feel numb.
Still, it’s for a good organization, and seems to have some good people working there. Doubtless it will look good on my resume and, without the stress of having to find a job, will give me the freedom and flexibility to explore new options.
Then there’s the other hand, the rather heartbroken one. The one that just saw it’s hopes and dreams of being with a fantastic girl and one day moving to Australia disappear in a flash. Suddenly I’m in a location with a low population and far fewer dating prospects. This morning I did my inagural hike as a resident of the area, up to the top of Bishop Peak and found the trail populated by what’s typically found here: families with children and college age kids. Believe me, I have no interest in dating someone who could theoretically be my daughter. (And now that I’ve typed that… well… fuuuuuuuuuuck.) And as an added bonus, I don’t know a soul in this town, and all of my friends are far away.
Right now I’m the craziest mixture of up and down. As I’ve started unpacking boxes here, my mood shifts constantly between excitement and anticipation about the future, and the depression and hopelessness that always follows a break-up.
* * *
Whatever pans out over the next few weeks, the fact is that the big adventure is now over. Starting tomorrow, I return to work, to making a living. I can’t articulate it, but I know there’s a feeling of loss associated with that as well.
A friend of mine flew up last weekend to help out with the move. I was lucky: he’d booked his flight to come up a couple of days before the planned move date so that we could hang out. Who could have anticipated that we’d end up using the time to discuss me being dumped? (He’d even met her while she was in town, and finds the whole situation a little “suspicious”, though I suspect he was saying that more to boost my spirits than anything.)
As we sat in the warm Sacramento evening drinking beers, we chatted about where my life stood now. What’s changed, I wondered? It doesn’t feel like much. Yes, I traveled. Yes I saw a bit more of the world. But here I am two years later, and it feels like little has changed. I’m two years older.
Ten Fifteen pounds heavier. I’m going back to working another IT job. There’s less money in the bank. And the girl I was (am?) head-over-heels for just vanished, so I’m as single as I was the day I set out.
Both before and during the trip I read about other people’s journeys. Their gap years, their trips around the world. All of them describe life changing experiences. Some fell in love. Some moved to other countries. Some found careers they never expected and fit into perfectly. All of them seemed to have made the proverbial leap of faith and come out the other side better for it.
At the moment, it’s difficult to feel like I’ve accomplished anything of the sort. I just made an incredible, brave, bold attempt to change my life. And failed miserably.
Yeah, I know, that probably isn’t true. Maybe when a few weeks have passed, and I’ve gotten over both the stress of starting a new position and the ending of my relationship with 1Cent, I’ll feel differently.
Any way one looks at it, though, there’s one inescapable fact: the journey I started on two years ago has come to an end.