A noticeable chill.

The air has taken on a considerable chill the past week or so as fall makes an appearance. I enjoy the season but there is always a part of me that dreads what is to follow. It is the same part of me that wants to just leave every year around December and not come back until it’s warm again, which could be anywhere between March and May depending on the year.

This is the cursed blessing of living in the Midwest. We have four distinct seasons, chock full of all of the best (and worst) parts of their respective descriptions. The chill is here now, the leaves are on their way across the color wheel, and rain is a nigh daily occurrence. Light is changing on both ends of the day, making for later mornings and vibrant evenings. It is a time for transition. A shift to the inevitable dying off to come.

And so it goes, we lose a little, we gain a little.

Never stop or you’ll die.

Sometimes I have a sneaking suspicion that I was born part shark. Not the dead black eyes or rows of disposable teeth, but instead, the need to continuously keep moving or I feel like I’ll die in some way. The origin of this trait is the origin of so many of my traits, it was directly inherited.

This can be a completely miserable existence, though. It can give you the feeling that nothing you ever do is sufficient, and that no real progress can ever be had, because the treadmill replaces itself and you have to keep moving. At very least, it is exhausting, and at the worst it is all a person can think about. I have found myself contemplating this state of being a good deal this year.

I should clarify that I feel quite grateful to have the freedom to be able to ponder such first world problems. My life has been one of modest means but I have never really known true struggle. Thoughts of not having food or a roof over my head never occurred because I have had many practically wise people before me to assure I knew enough to provide for those needs myself. But subsistence isn’t enough for me. I need expansion, I need evolution. Always growing, always forward.

That incessant need is a pulse, back of all that I try to do in this life. Yes it is a trial at times, but it is a drive I wouldn’t trade for the world or for simplicity. I enjoy a challenge.

Utilizing my creativity in every possible fashion is my latest self-imposed challenge. It isn’t enough to live a creative life quietly. I need to live it out loud, as this is my best self coming forward.

No rest for the wicked implies I have done some terrible things. Saint and sinner, ever forward.

49 of 50

After over a year of waiting for COVID-19 to settle a little, I finally made my way to Alaska in August. This was the 49th state I have seen, with only Hawaii remaining on the list. Although for the purpose of inclusivity, I’m going to make it a point to also see our neighbors in places like Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, etc. Because honestly, who needs any sort of excuse to see a tropical island?

We arrived in Anchorage in the early afternoon to overcast, what I would label as “moody” skies. Turns out that sky is a prominent feature in much of Alaska and I have to say I loved it. Any time the backdrop is a giant mountain range, it’s always a weighty view. Add some dark to light grays and it is often overpowering. I don’t mind being overpowered by something that is, frankly, more powerful than I am.

The first leg of our stay was near Talkeetna, which is something of a tourist spot. Our cabin was a proper retreat though. An a-frame in the middle of the woods, the second we stepped in the door, the world outside fell away. Time stood still as the world outside. It was quiet magic.

The town of Talkeetna is a charming little village with some of the old roots still visible. I believe it would be a completely different place during the winter, and would thus have a completely different feeling to it. Probably won’t ever see that but I can imagine it from the folks I met.

While in Talkeetna we made the trek up to Denali and although our time in the park was short, it was staggering to see so much untouched wilderness. It was the same week that another Hoosier was mauled by a bear in the park, but we didn’t see any, no landslides either.

Upon returning to Talkeetna for our last day in that region, we chartered a plane ride to land on a glacier and I can honestly say it was one of the most humbling experiences I have lived to date. To stand on ice as old as recorded history and know I was near eons long processes was incredible. To be at the base of Denali reminds you of how small you are, and how little your shit matters. It was an honor worth the price of admission.

We made our way south of Anchorage for a change of scenery and stayed near the town of Kasilof, directly on the Cook Inlet. This was another peaceful retreat from all that we know. Since we were close to Homer we spent most of a day there and checked out the “Spit”. The views are 360 of the sea and the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Despite it being a busy tourist area, it still felt completely primal. Like we had gone somewhere far reaching, because we had.

On our last day, we spent time in Anchorage and walked Kincaid Park. We saw a moose grazing on the side of the road on the way in and a giant bull moose in the woods while walking. Just another humbling sight to behold in a state chock full of them.

Truth be told I know we didn’t have nearly enough time to spend in Alaska and we had to grab all we could for our memories while we were there. It may not have been once in a lifetime because it’d be nice to go back, but having just this glimpse made me want to go further and see the even less traveled areas. The kind of places only accessible by boat or plane.

It put me close to 50, with plans to finish the list in 2022. It was a reminder of what all is out there to be seen, and that there isn’t enough time in 1,000 lives, let alone this one, to see it all.

But I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna try…

A divide.

It has almost certainly been covered on the various news outlets but I thought it’d be interesting to share a view from inside the generational divide the country is in the middle of. In my opinion, some of the language could be dropped altogether, since it creates a false dichotomy, an “us versus them” way of thinking that entrenches us all in our categories.

You’ve certainly seen some of the problematic word choices I’m referring to: boomer, gen x, millenial, gen y, gen z, blah blah blah. More than ever, words matter. How we label ourselves and one another needs an overhaul. People with marketing departments came up with the descriptors to categorize us into who will buy what. Each successive generation sees the last as tired and incapable of seeing the bigger picture.

…Like any of us do.

Every single one of us has a different version of what life is about and guess what? That’s amazing. We all have the ability to choose our own path. No path is inherently right or wrong, but it is specifically tailored to the individual. If anything makes the U.S. great, it is this particular freedom.

You can choose to not work and live in a dumpster.

You can choose to grind out 40 hours a week for 40 years.

You can choose to do literally nothing.

Regardless of the choice, you have the freedom to make it. Every single one of us can make our own way, however we choose. The same way every other person can make it their way to judge you and your decisions. This is also perfectly fine. You control your reactions to other people and their opinions and that is all those judgments are, an opinion.

It is up to all of us to try and do our level best to live and let live. So long as what another person is doing doesn’t infringe upon you or the general public, who gives a shit what they choose to do? Why spin out over trivial nonsense when you could just focus on making your life as ideal as you see fit?

There’s a colloquialism that I stole from somewhere I can’t recall and it sums my view of the imaginary divide very well: You do you, boo, you do you.

What’s next?

Having passed into my 39th year in July, the annual review of life is in full swing. What is the next big step in my life? I’m trying to get the drop on my midlife crisis by doing a bunch of awesome stuff all at once.

A shift in career is on the near horizon and I am still 100% unsure what the destination is. Should I be worried about that prospect? Probably. Seems like any reasonable person would be. But there is nothing but hope and desire there when I look where fear should be. Maybe that part of me is missing?

Love is a prominent feature in my life once again. Love with someone who makes everything better and it is so effortless that I can literally just be myself without a single sacrifice to be a part of the relationship. The traditional worry of losing something of yourself in the bargain is completely absent. We are both unapologetically ourselves. It is completely astonishing and I take nothing for granted. This is an all consuming, life altering kind of love. It is absolutely everything.

Travel didn’t die after all, but it has had to stay close to home. Now that I am once again a part of a “we”, that entails an adjustment to the logistical nature of things. Working around vacation days, budgeting for things, actually being involved in planning instead of just winging everything. I am not the most rigid traveler in the world. In fact I tend to play things pretty fast and loose. But now I have to blend my style with someone else’s and it has been transformative. I have found out things about myself in a handful of trips. For this new perspective, I am grateful.

As previously mentioned, my creative nature has come to the forefront again and I intend to use this space as the principal canvas for these bursts of energy. If you some how found your way to my corner of the internet, thank you for joining me. I hope to provide you with some inspiration and entertainment, or at very least a wordy distraction.

In any matter, I am immensely grateful for the life I have, and excited for the life I will have.

Pulled again.

2021 has been an incredible and busy year.

My creative drive has once again reared it’s head, pulling me onward into the unknown. This is a counter point to the myriad practical and by necessity boring events of every day life and work. When the call comes, though, I must heed it.

I feel as though I am bursting out in all directions. The words come out with pen and paper, the jokes come out as if I were just breathing, my drum set is alive in a home where I feel at peace, the thirst for new knowledge is unquenchable and pervasive.

Behind all of these drives are an incessant need to change course. The time has come for me to consider the future after my career of the past 20 years comes to a close. The only thing I know for sure is that the only way forward for me is to blaze my own trail. There is enough money in the world that I can get enough to make a substantial sum to take care of myself and my loved ones. As has always been the case, the mere thought of being someone else’s employee makes me physically sick so it is all on me to make my way. But I would have it no other way.

This place will continue to showcase my travels and adventures, but will include facets of personal development as well. It is time to conquer the world and share my story.