Closing Out 2009

Trail ->What am I doing for New Years? I don’t know. What am I doing for Christmas? I don’t know. Christmas decorations? Never got them up. Family? Celebrating without me this year. Friends? I forgot, yet again, to collect addresses and send out cards. Today? One of just a few at the office, everyone else has already left for vacation.

This year feels like it was a waste of life. I got a job and paid off some debts. Actually, right now I’m debt free. My most significant commitment is the 2 year Sprint contract that came from my phone this summer. One would think with this kind of financial freedom that I would feel liberated, but I don’t.

Today, I have no home of my own as I live with Nino. My only vehicle is Polar Bear, and she needs serious work. I just had $2600 worth of snowboarding gear stolen. South Peak still hasn’t paid on the $18,000+ they owe me from 2008. Maybe it’s the atmosphere created by the economic crisis, but it feels like people are reaching out for my wallet as I walk down the street.

Even though I lost some weight around Burning Man, I’m heavier now than I have been in several years. I haven’t really kept my cardio up and my level of physical fitness is relatively low. Aside from a sprained left wrist, my health is mostly in tact. Still, I have a 24 hour fitness and a rock climbing gym membership that are just going to waste. I’ve been trying to develop some mental dedication to changing this after the new year. I’ve never been one for new year resolutions, but I might be about to start.

I’m not enjoying the new job. My coworkers are fantastic, but the project is slowly bringing me down. It’s nothing overwhelmingly surprising. It’s the same old story of a confused gaming industry, strong personality conflicts, and trying to spin a thousand plates at once. My job grants me very little creative influence, at least on the levels that engage me. The direction is building up for the same old pattern of wasting months of development time on poor planning only to have to crunch for a few months in the end.

But what really crushes my soul is knowing that what we’re building doesn’t really do any significant good for the general public – beyond being a minor component to mindless entertainment. It’s not that mindless entertainment doesn’t have it’s place, it’s just that I’d much rather be investing my life into something I feel has some kind of value. I have 1 person’s worth of life in me and I get decision making power of how my resources are used. I mostly feel like my choices, so far, have only resulted in helping line the pockets of a small amount of relatively greedy and already wealthy people. That’s not really how I’d like to reflect on my life’s pursuits.

My heart is throbbing to travel. I want so badly to be in that place where it’s time to look at a map and plan a one way trip to the next destination. I want to look out a window and see different types of countryside passing me by. I want to dive in cenotes, become a competent surfer, eat strange foods, and learn new languages. I want to explore and have adventures. I want to feel free. I’m not entirely sure what’s holding me back, but I’ve felt distinctly blocked by every effort I’ve made lately to change my life. I feel like I can’t take a step without breaking something. Everything feels so… fragile.

I have strong opinions on life, love, and being. It was less than a year and a half ago that I felt reborn at Burning Man. I felt like there existed a world I could connect with. I felt like I had an enormous amount to give and share. I felt a lot of hope and joy. It seems that none of that stayed with me. It seems that all my castles were built in the sand and were washed away by the waves.

The whole time I find myself dealing with wanderlust, I also find myself fantasizing about homesteading. I keep sorting through this feeling that all I need is a patch of dirt and to be left alone to tend to it. In my mind, I build big boxes to hide in… a home. The last time I can remember feeling at home was high school. Even then, I couldn’t wait to “get out on my own.” Colorado is an amazing place, but it’s never felt like home. Then again, no where does.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally posted about an imaginary person I call my dreamgirl. She is exactly that, a girl that shows up in my dreams. She takes on different forms each and every time, but she always has the same energy. She looks me in the eyes and there’s always a deep, powerful, and instant connection. One time we jumped off of a waterfall together – holding hands. Another time she got mad at me and turned and walked away. It was years before she showed up in another dream. When she did show back up, it was the first and only time she ever spoke to me. She simply said, “you’re special.”

Dreamgirl came by again a little while back. This time I was traveling around a beautiful bay in a foreign country. I was traveling with friends. We stopped at an overlook and got out of the car. Dreamgirl was there and came to me. At first, I did not recognize her. The way I felt when she looked at me and walked up was intensely loving and peaceful. Then she hugged me. For a dream, the hug was filled with intense details and strong emotions. Everything that is “home”, emotionally, was in the hug. It was blissful. Then I woke up and went to work.

I feel like I’m barely hanging on right now. I don’t meditate anymore. I don’t do yoga anymore. I rarely find myself engaged in what I feel are important conversations. Today, the story of Duke Nukem popped up on Wired today. It was a harsh reminder of all of the reasons I wanted to distance myself from the gaming industry. It makes me sick when one individual has the power and fortune to waste $20 million on a hopeless project while taking down the career of dozens of folks. I keep telling myself that I could turn $20 million into something. However, honestly, if I could, why am I not doing something more with what I do have?

I miss digging in the dirt. I miss building things with my hands. I miss interacting with animals. I miss feeling connected with nature. I miss having a fireplace. I miss feeling like my free time is truly mine. I miss the idea of “free” time. I miss having hope. I feel anxiety and a since of urgency each and every single day. When we do go snowboarding now, I feel like I should hurry back and work on something. I feel tense all of the time.

Sometimes it seems that the only time I have alone these days is when I poop. With Nino at home most of the day, she generally has minimal social interaction. I can feel her desire for interaction and connection when I get home from work each day. Meanwhile, I long for a few hours of silence and disconnect. However, when I have them, I’m torn between the need to use that time for something productive and the fear that the time will shortly end.

None of these feelings or thoughts are new to me, but it seems that in 2009, I reached a new level of non-clarity. Just 9 months ago, I looked forward to January as a “finishing” date for my work project. That date was extended a fair bit into 2010. Perhaps it wouldn’t seem to grim if my disposition towards the project itself were more positive. In terms of a career, an idea I rarely really think about, I have no light at the end of any tunnels. As many would say, perhaps it’s good just to be employed these days. It would take far too many words for me to honestly express how I feel about this.

Looking forward to 2010, I have to admit, I am filled with a sense of emptiness. There are a few things I’ve found myself going back to. One is the van. Polar Bear has been nothing but challenges, but I believe finding the right camper van is somehow key to my future. The other is Burning Man. I was sure I was done with the burn; however, thoughts of the upcoming burn keep striking me in a way where I feel little doubt that I’ll be there. This is strange.

Maybe, with a little luck, soon I’ll have some time alone in the freedom of my own peace of mind. Maybe I can visit some mental and emotional place where I can grasp some vision or direction that truly feels right and healthy. First, maybe, I should figure out what I’m doing on New Years.

1 Comment

  1. Liz

    Reading your post really captured how I feel from time to time, especially in regards to having “me” time and not feeling like I should be more productive during that time. I find it hard to disconnect especially since I feel that I could/should be doing so much more with myself and time.

    I can remember a time when I felt like time was on my side and my goals/dreams were in reach. Funny enough I was unemployed but that time really made a difference in the quality of my life going forward.

    I learned to meditate while living in a monastery and it really changed things. That year (2006) was really a good year in my life. I guess when things seem to go wonky in life, we can find peace by slowing down to listen to our inner voice; go for a long scenic walk, stay at a place where you can’t work or tend to your chores/to do list, do whatever it takes to give yourself some time to just be.

    As I’m typing this, I realize I only have this time during the holidays at work, while everyone is home, the office is pretty empty, leaving me to just be.

    Have a happy new year! ; )

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