Archives for January 2013

You Can’t Step In The Same River Twice

Eleven hundred some odd miles later I am parked at a desk in a hotel where I am wrestling with a glitcyh internet connection so the picture that is supposed to be on this page isn’t there.

With a bit of luck the words that I wish to share with you will make it and I won’t go screaming down the hallway begging for tech support to tell me again that the connection is fine and the problem is solely on my end.

Nor will you hear me politely ask them to help me figure out where the problem is on my end so that I can correct it. And of course you won’t hear me grumble about paying for a free high speed connection either.o

Four States Later

After two days of driving I have driven through three states and ended up in the fourth one where I am on my way to my destination. Call me superstitious but I prefer not to use the phrase final destination.

I decided not to book any hotels for the first two nights so that I could have the flexibility of driving for as long or as short as I felt like. What I didn’t realize was that at 10 PM the desert would be pitch black and I would be exhausted.

Blame it on my truly believing I am still 25 and capable of doing all that I could physically do then without consequence.

Anyhoo I drove through the parking lots of several cheap motels and decided I didn’t like the characters in the lot and drove a bit longer until I came upon another and said screw it, I am too tired.

Booked my room and staggered up two flights of stairs where I discovered that a clean room can still be too warm and too close to the train tracks.

Not Quite Home

Now I am sitting at the desk thinking about the drive tomorrow. I am about four hours or so away from my new home, or maybe it is more accurate to say my new home city. That is because I don’t have a place yet.

All I have is a hotel that I’ll use to hang my hat for a while until I locate a suitable place to live.

It is both exciting and aggravating.

Twenty years ago I could go anywhere and do anything without concern about the consequences because it was just me. Now there are others and the most important are little so I have to pay more attention to what is good for them.

This is not a bad thing, but it does make the choice a bit harder because it is easier for me to adjust on the fly. I don’t have to worry about picking a good school for me.

About That River

I don’t remember where I first heard the comment about not being able to step in the same river twice but I have always liked it and it feels especially apt right now. Regardless of how things work out now when I go back home it will never be the same place.

That is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a thing. It is just an acknowledgment that things will look and feel different. Maybe I’ll miss them more or maybe I’ll see flaws I never noticed

What is interesting to me is this feeling I have of having been through some sort of time warp. The truth is that I have been on the road for just two days, that is it.

It is not particularly long, but because of all of the driving it feels like I have been gone much longer than I have.

And I suppose that because I do so much writing it was impossible not to notice that I didn’t do any at all yesterday. There was no writing of any sort nor any use of the computer.

Aside from a few emails and text messages sent from my phone, I was almost completely disconnected.

One Last Thing

Although I have driven across the US several times I often forget just how big it is and how much empty land there is.

It is amazing to see miles of empty spaces and to think about how crowded other spaces are. Wonder if things will stay that way.

A Four Decade Love Affair

If life were based upon technicalities I could adjust the headline to say a five decade love affair because technically I have been a part of five. Technically I watched the moon landing from whatever baby seat my folks strapped me into, but I can’t say that I remember it.

What I can say is I love Los Angeles and that I always have.

The City of Angels is where I was born and raised and when the choice of where to live was given to me I didn’t have to think twice about it–I stayed.

I stayed for a million good reasons and a million more that had nothing to do with logic or reason. I stayed because I wanted to and not just because it was where most of my family and friends are.

But things happen, people change and hard decisions have to be made.

It is Time To Go

Technically a writer isn’t struggle to the find the write words to use but on a day of technicalities I am struggling. It is because I am not sure how I want to express these thoughts and ideas.

The easiest way is to say opportunity knocked and I answered.

Something wonderful came my way and I have to set sail for the new world and find out if the fountain of youth is located there or if this is nothing more than a pipe dream. It is not a bad thing this adventure I am about to set out on, but it is hard.

It is hard because I have to leave the family behind. It is the middle of the school year so it makes no sense to uproot the children, especially when I don’t know what things are going to be like.

From here they look magnificent and golden but you can’t make educated decisions about some things from a distance, all you can make are educated guesses.

They Don’t Want Me To Go

They cried when I told them about the new joy and asked why it had to be so far away. When I explained why I was doing this my daughter looked at me and said, “how can it make things better when you are breaking our hearts to do it.”

My son composed himself and asked why I would have to move when technology makes it possible to do anything from anywhere. I told him he was right but that sometimes it is still easier to get work done when you are in the same place as the people you are working with.

I told them no final decisions have been made about where we are living but technically that is not true. Unless I absolutely hate things this will be a short separation and we’ll find a place for all of us to live.

Sometimes I hate technicalities but in this case I know it will make it easier for them to finish out the school year without much fuss.

Call Me Jack Reacher

Tomorrow I’ll load up my car with a couple of suitcases and my laptop and take the first step of this new adventure. I intentionally haven’t made a reservation anywhere so I will drive until I get tired and than find a place to sleep for the night.

Along the way I’ll listen to music and lose myself in whatever thoughts come my way and probably come up with a half dozen different Jack Reacher scenarios all starring me.

Technically they’ll work because it is my imagination making them happen. Technically it will work even though I am not as tall as Reacher and never was in the service. And although I am confident in my ability to handle myself I prefer not to imitate Reacher’s penchant for fighting his way through a town.

It makes for a good story but not part of this one.

I’ll Be Back

I can’t remember a time when I liked saying goodbye so don’t worry Los Angeles, because today isn’t any different. You know I am the guy who slips out the door and rides his horse off into the sunset.

No muss, no fuss.

That is how I prefer it. Would much rather be the lone gunslinger riding towards the next adventure.

Technically I am leaving, but I’ll be back again. It might be for a visit or it might be for something more, can’t say.

Be good Los Angeles and I’ll see you around.

Bless The Children

The two songs of the moment are Can’t Find My Way Home and Tales of Brave Ulysses, but the latter is the one that really speaks to me right now.

Two more sleeps and then I’ll pack up the car and head out in search of the newest adventure. Two more sleeps and I’ll hug my children tightly and promise that we’ll see each other again soon because we will.

But for now I can’t stay and they can’t go.

Tales of Great Grandparents

More than a hundred years ago my great grandparents set sail from the old country to a place called America because they heard it was a place where dreams could come true and they wanted it.

They left family behind so they could find out if the stories were true. They came with little more than the clothes on their back to a foreign land where they didn’t speak English and relied upon the occasional letter to stay in touch.

So who I am I to complain about having to be separated for a bit. Who am I to complain about these things when we can Skype, email, text or talk by telephone.

Don’t Go Dad

They tell me they think this a bad idea and say there are other ways to do things. They tell me I am breaking their heart and ask me why I can’t work from a remote office like i have been doing for so long now.

I smile and explain why, do my best to reassure them because that is what they need.

And then I tell them I have to go because it is the right thing to do and that when opportunity knocks sometimes you need to drop what you are doing and find out what it is all about.

They don’t know how I was waiting for the click and how I just knew it was coming. They don’t know how long I have been working for this or how satisfying it feels to me to see things materialize.

I Am Nervous Too

I am nervous too. New beginnings are often a mix of excitement with a small dose of anxiety. But I am confident this is the right move and that I am doing precisely what has to be done.

So I look at the kids and ask them if they know what my favorite song is from Fiddler on The Roof.

Blessing My Children

Every week I bless my children. It is not solely religious in nature either. I do it because of the connection. I do it because even though they question whether there is any “supernatural effect” it provides a certain level of comfort for them and for me.

Some things don’t have to make sense, they just have to be.

I suppose some of it comes back to the advice I give and to my trying to be consistent in following my own advice. So I tell them not to over think change and to just roll with whatever comes down the path.

Of course whenever I say that I picture myself with a Fedora and a bullwhip, nothing stops Indiana Jack. You can slow him down, make him take the long way home but you can’t stop him.

And now if you’ll excuse me there is a story that is dying to be written and I am just the man to do it. See you later.

P.S. Yes, I know that transition wasn’t as smooth as some of you would like but I don’t care. Life isn’t always smooth either, sometimes you hit a bumpy road or slam on the brakes because some crazy cyclist cut you off.

Overthinking Change

Some changes are easily made because it is easy to predict what will happen after you make whatever changes you have chosen to make.

Others are more challenging because you can’t determine what will happen in advance and are forced to work with your best guess. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it can be troubling at times.

That is where I am at right now, operating off my gut and best guess.

Got some big changes coming up in the next few days and my head is spinning. I am excited and optimistic but there are moments of doubt where I think about whether it is the right decision.

That is the challenge of having too much time to think about big decisions. You don’t want to suffer from paralysis of analysis and over think things. It is easily done, this over analysis and I am working on not doing it.

But I am not surprised to see or feel these things. It is just part of the package.

It is also why I try to build my changes with a short turnaround. Take out the extra time where you can so that you don’t fall into the trap of wondering and worrying about  every little detail.

Nothing is forever and there is no reward without some risk.

 

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

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How To Overcome Fear

“I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.”

Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear- Dune

Thirty years ago the last thing you ever wanted to in my neighborhood was admit you were afraid. It wasn’t because it was a rough neighborhood because it was not.

It was composed of ordinary middle class people who worked hard to provide a good life for their families, probably no different than a million other neighborhoods.

It was also populated by lots of children including many boys like myself who learned that you never wanted to admit you were scared, didn’t want to cry or do anything else to show that you were any weaker than the next boy.

Again, I am guessing that isn’t much different than what happened in a million other neighborhoods.

I Was Tough and I Was Scared

Back then I worked very hard to prove I was tough even when I was scared and I was scared more often than I wanted to admit. It bothered me because I thought it was weak and I was sure that The Six Million Dollar Man never got scared.

I really wanted to be him and wondered if one day I might be able to get some bionic limbs too. Might be kind of nice to be able to run as fast a car or jump up and down from high places.

Even though I never got those bionic limbs I made a point to look for tools and resources that I could use which is why the Litany Against Fear got my attention.

It seemed like a great tool I could use to master and overcome the fears I had.

What I Worried About

I really didn’t have too many fears. I didn’t like the dark and the Bigfoot from The Bionic Man really scared me which  is a bit embarrassing now. Why? Because when I see a clip of him now he reminds me of a giant Muppet and well, Muppets never frighten me.

I should probably clarify that I was around eight or so when Bigfoot caught my attention and wouldn’t read Dune for another five or six years.

But I remember being surprised by how brave I could be when others were around and how that changed when they weren’t. One or two others were enough for me to feel comfortable walking almost anywhere in the dark, but if I was alone–not so much.

Present Day Fear

If you ask me to provide you with a list of things that scare me now I can do so. Most of them are relatively obvious and or mundane. They are concerns about my family and people I care about.

There are a few that are personal. I hate the idea of being burned to death or eaten alive.  Every now and then I may get a little anxious about other stuff too, but some things are very different now than they used to be.

The Litany Works

Part of what is different now is that the Litany works for me in ways it never did. Maybe it is because I have learned that my graphic imagination makes things scarier and much worse than they are in reality.

When I am nervous about something it is usually tied into my not knowing or understanding as much as I would like to. When I get the chance to confront it and pull away the mystery things change and the fear fades.

That is what I hear and see the Litany say.

Now when I feel that whisper in the back of my mind I close my eyes and visualize myself somewhere calm and comfortable.  I don’t always say the words of the Litany but sometimes I think about it.

I take that moment to give Fear a moment to shake his chains at me and then I snatch them out of his hands and smack him in the head with them.

You can call that the Litany with the Teddy Roosevelt speak softly and carry a big stick method.

What about you? How do you deal with your fear?