Woke up on my 30th birthday on Sunday and had a reckoning crisis with Denver and how I’d felt since I’d arrived. After 40 days on the road and trying to stay open to anything, I decided that something about my dream of returning to Denver after five years away was not sitting right with me. I was suddenly unsure what my true motivations were to return to a city I’d always associated with a certain period of time that is long over.
With the rare opportunity to make a huge, 180 degree flip with regard to my career and life path, I realized there was some wisdom in starting somewhere fresh with no associated memories, a place I’d been turning over in my mind even as I flitted the Pacific Coast from Astoria to Mexico and then hit every National Park between San Diego and Denver (oh, here is that video). So I drove away from a core group of twenty friends and a promising job with old colleagues to instead head to Seattle as quickly as possible and start a new decade from a blank canvas. There has certainly been a lot of soul-searching, many high highs and low lows, confidence and doubt, etc., and I’ve got to get a better handle on my Facebook confessionals- may even get off the books for a bit starting in a few days.
In general though, people talk about road trips and their great memories getting from Point A to Point B for that great move for school or for a job or for a marriage. I’m not sure as many people talk about road trips where the destination becomes unclear as the odometer rolls on, with dozens of cameos and thousands of miles. We’ve grown into a quite conservative generation where great American adventures and finding oneself plays second fiddle to job security and having a plan. Those are logical things, but there is value to acknowledge in the reality of punctuated equilibrium- we are static until we are not and that is how progress occurs and it is often unclear to those watching from a point of stasis. So I’m in Seattle. I’ve got a meeting about Hurricane Camp Stories in the coming week, I’m familiarizing myself with the social impact career opportunities around these parts, and trying to find an apartment for myself and my dog.
One last thing- this morning, one of my friends I’m staying with left me with instructions to read a line from The Phantom Tollbooth. “Being lost is never a matter of not knowing where you are; it’s a matter of not knowing where you aren’t.” I think if I’m being honest with myself as a man entering a new decade, for the first time in five years I don’t feel lost at all.