Pieces.

It would seem that this week lots of pieces are falling together nicely on their own for me, productivity wise.

On Earth, where the business has actually picked up nicely, we have acquired several projects to do. Not only to fill the schedule, but push us into the less productive season with an influx of cash. It never hurts to head into the slower months with a little bit of a reserve. I know how quickly this can go away so I’m trying to take the time to enjoy the feeling and breathe a little. Winter will be here before you know it…

In my head, I have started to narrow focus on what my audio-based creative outlet will be. I would like to include video but currently my recording capabilities there are limited to my phone, which isn’t great. Rather than put another hurdle in the track for myself to clear, I’m gonna start and figure it out as I go.

Got my desk set up nicely to do the work of getting my thoughts out of my head and into my DAW.

Time to get going. Enough dilly-dallying.

Another crazy idea.

Last week I had another crazy idea for an avenue of expression. It may end up being another way for me to talk to myself but it will definitely be entertaining. The idea alone led me to pick up some gear for the endeavor: a FocusRite 2i2 audio interface, a Shure SM7b, a stand for said microphone, and a cable to hook it up.

Will it be a podcast? Maybe…?

Will it feature long, rambling passage down rabbit holes? Without a doubt. It’ll be like this place with the benefit of vocal inflection.

Will anyone be paying any attention to it? It honestly doesn’t matter. Stream of consciousness helps exorcise some of the little demons running around in my head.

Regardless of what form the expression takes, it will be unapologetic and 100% authentic to who I am.

Domesticity and productivity.

Having spent the better part of the weekend helping organize, clean, eliminate various things from the home, I am starting to get a better understanding of the connected nature of domestic tasks to productivity. This feeling has come over me before in my previous living situation but I was confined to one room there, so it was easy to handle.

Now I am part of a household and that means that keeping things in order has expanded to include an entire home. It also means I am part of an “us”, so all considerations must be made together. It is an entirely different mode of thinking that I’m still evolving into. It is healthy, adult, and eye opening.

There is now a combined sense of accomplishment when things are placed in better order or cleaned. Where as before I alone got that feeling, now I can feel it when someone else experiences it too. That’s pretty cool to be a part of.

Thrilling reading, I know, but it’s a sign of growth and I’m enjoying it.

A sobering jolt.

Learning about someone’s failing health is always a little jarring but much more so when that someone is closely related to you. It seems my brother has found his way to congestive heart failure.

Not sure how I am supposed to feel when greeted with this news, but I know that whatever it is, I’m not experiencing enough of it. The truth of the matter is that upon close examination, I don’t feel much at all. This has made me question if there is something fundamentally missing in our relationship that can’t be recovered. If that truly is the case, then I have already done all the feeling I’m capable of.

The most disconnected and resentful parts of me want to speak up at this point and say that this was entirely his own doing. But that isn’t especially helpful to the situation. So rather than allow those voices to have full control, I hear them out internally and leave it at that. Is that the healthiest thing to do? I honestly have no idea. But it does help me wrap my mind and heart around what is currently happening, and what may be imminently happening.

My brother could very well die from this. Even now as I have typed that and read it back to myself, there was nothing screaming out to be addressed. I almost feel disappointed in myself for this lack. But is that helpful? I’ve always maintained that we only control what we do, say, and feel as an individual. That whatever someone else does, says, or feels, is their business, not ours. I can’t help but feel like this is in error on this occasion. I only have one brother, he may be dying, and I feel nothing about that. None of the anger. None of the sadness. None of the pity. That may be the most sobering fact behind all of this. Despite the despair I should be experiencing, there’s none to be had.

Maybe this is my best expression for the situation. I have turned to an almost stoic resignation that this is the only way things could have been. This was an inevitable conclusion, and my involvement is only as a source of compassion and strength for those who will actually be harmed by this turn of events.

Sometimes we mourn the living, and this feels like one of those times.

There are no excuses.

In my ongoing examination of the circumstances of my life and doing my best to find what makes me happy, it occurs that I have no excuses for ever falling short of my potential. My life has been fairly issue free and it only takes a brief comparison to the many suffering people of the world to know just how easy it has actually been.

This is a useful practice that I have adopted from stoicism: Just visualize the life of someone who has genuine problems. It can be a very illuminating experience to occupy that person’s mental and emotional shoes. It can be a purely theoretical person or someone who you know personally. You will find it is easy to come up with examples of someone who has a harder go at things than you do. The idea is not to sit in judgment of their life but instead to empathize. This will give you a greater sense of satisfaction with the life you live. And to do so costs you nothing but the time taken to run the thought experiment.

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.