Skip to content

Just a Boy & His Subaru

On a Journey to Find Themselves

Tag Archives: Colorado

What a difference a year can make. Unforeseen loss, unforeseen gain and bountiful adventures.

It has been a little over a year since I started this blog as a mode of expression and reflection, and Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to stop and jot down a few takeaways.

Not often enough do we stop to reflect on a year passed and the growth that has taken place. If someone would have mentioned to me that I would lose two of the closest people in my life a year ago, I would have actually taken it into consideration; I would have never guessed it would be the two people it was.

Everything is different, everything is the same, and everything is better. It’s a feeling I would equate to losing massive amounts of weight; what I lost has no value going forward, it has already depreciated, and what I found underneath was the original core I had distanced myself from.

There is a deep feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the partner that taught me so much, and the best friend that played the role of my sister when it was needed most. It is as if I struck gold, and as I kept digging, I only felt richer; now the mine is dry and the time to dig elsewhere has come. To say I would live out my life never thinking of these people again would be false, immature and nothing more than a destructive lie I’m ultimately telling myself.

There is only so much deviation one can impose on a script when he succumbs to the understanding that life truly is a stage. Each person coming into your life has a role to play. For some, the role is recurring and purposeful. For others, it’s a short lived flash in the pan, and they must move on to play another role. No matter the length of stay, their role is no less important. And, while you may think the leads in this production are here to stay, respect the fact that the script may have been written for another, more fitting player.

This last year was a much needed reality check, and while I didn’t write about it as much as I should have, I’m so grateful I wrote what I did. My pieces serve as a reminder of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and where I’m going.

I keep telling myself that it’ll be fine, you can’t make everybody happy all of the time.

Frequently I remind myself that everything I did was exactly what I wanted to do (with some exceptions, of course). Essentially, no regrets; there aren’t enough hours in the day to waste your time dwelling over decisions you made in the past. Each decision, in some tiny, maybe indirect way, has lead me to where I am today, and that makes me happy.

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

In the last year, I relearned what it means to, “live for yourself.” Each day I try to focus solely on myself and what will make me happy. Selfish? Certainly. Healthy? Without a doubt.

You’re the only person in your entire life who will be there beginning to end, so make sure you’re checking in on you.

Oh, and as for your role in this production, don’t take it too seriously. The director, life, has a funny way of making sure you don’t get out alive.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been in this situation before; the one where someone has to choose my friendship over another relationship, typically a romantic one. It’s not a great place to be, and there’s nothing enjoyable about it, but I’ve been here before.

That’s the easy part: I know it gets better and eventually the pain becomes less immediate. It’s still there, it’s just resting in the back of my mind and allowing me the necessity of getting back to everyday life.

There’s that silver lining you’ll always find if you look for it.

You have to be careful with people, you can never be absolutely sure of who someone is. (Read: people can never be absolutely sure of who they are.) The real problem with that clause is knowing that there will be instances where you never fully understand what’s happening, why or how–and neither does the other person.

People, even the most important people in your life, change unexpectedly. They throw a wrench in life and chuck deuces to the wind. Personally, I’ve been the person throwing the wrench, so I know how rewarding it can feel, but that doesn’t mean I’ve overlooked any toes I might have been stepping on or hearts I might have been breaking. I was fully aware of the damage I was doing.

When that happens, when you’re on the receiving end of someone’s wrench, you have to be ready to catch that shit and use it to your advantage. And let’s be honest: you’re going to need the wrench for some major emotional repairs a little later down the road.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that more often than not the person never really meant to hurt someone with the wrench, they just thought it was the best possible choice at the time. At no point did that person stop to think about how you might feel and how this might change your life, not because they don’t care about you in some capacity`, but because their focus has shifted so intensely to something that holds a higher emotional value to them.

By the way, there’s a touch of blanketing in this post as I’m speaking directly from experience and not from sustained research (although honestly you might say that my experiences equate to a sort-of ongoing experiment).

Again with the silver lining though, this is the ultimate chance to grow as an individual and make the other relationships in your life stronger. Like grieving a death, there’s never a great time to do it, so when someone pushes you away, work to harness that energy into growth.

Sometimes you’ve gotta work and you’ve gotta grow and it’s gotta hurt.

Losing a close relationship, romantic or platonic, is never easy. It makes you question so much about who you are as a person and how you’re valued as a friend. Your mind is stuck in this rut wondering why it had to play out the way that it did, and if it will ever feel as real as it seems. Don’t fall victim to this pitiful mindset. Remember that it’s always going to be their loss (this can only be used as a means to remove yourself from the rut if you have, in fact, tried to be a good half of a relationship).

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

People will knock you down when you get in their way, and sometimes stepping out of their path to let them pass is easier than tending to the wounds of a nasty fall.

Let go, and let flow. Cheesy, but amazingly efficient.

Some people just don’t want you in their life any more. If you’re like me, you’ll begin to understand that your booming personality and unmistakable drive for success intimidates people. Don’t ever lose those qualities for a relationship, romantic or platonic. The pain of losing yourself far outweighs the pain of letting go and moving on. Trust me on this one.

The world is full of snakes that think they look smashing in jealousy.. and they should be smashed. Shine your light as bright as you can. I’ll never suggest avoiding the process of dealing with your emotions and processing situations, but I will suggest speeding it up as quickly as possible so you can continue to do you the best way you know how.

Remember your self-worth and all of the things you deserve in life: happiness, sunshine, love and laughter (and good sex).

And that silver lining..I’ve been meaning to get back to writing and life is only facilitating that process.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My mother was always weird about certain things when I was growing up. My father was too, but his was a very angry angle while mother’s was more of a neurotic angle.

As a child, I naturally rebelled against the obvious routine my parents had set in motion for me.

Now would be a good time to point out that these things are normal, everyday things that people do, it’s just that my parents were particular.

For example, every morning before leaving the house, all of the beds were made. Many of my other peers talk about having to do this too, but not one person I’ve met has had to tuck sheets and fold back a perfect crease; not one person I’ve met has come home to a pile of blankets and sheets in the middle of the floor because their bed wasn’t made correctly.

My parents were very subtle about the delivery of their messages.

Anyway, that’s just a taste of the intrinsic thoroughness my parents’ military background brought to the table. Like every night before bed, the dishes were to be done and the kitchen was put back to it’s original, pre-chaos state. No one went to bed until it was done.

Before family vacation or extended trips, the house was cleaned from top to bottom, left to right, you get the idea. “GI parties,” my mother would call them. They happened every Saturday as part of the weekend routine, as well.

The same went for the arrival of guests; everything was to be spotless and perfect.

What these routines taught me, and what I’m eventually going to get to, is that there will always be a, “best way” to do something. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other, “right” ways, just that there will always be a, “best way.”

What makes a, “best way?” Respect.

And a little bit of pride, but mostly respect.

As an adult, I find that I’m still practicing the routines my parents enforced in the household. I’ve never really strayed from them. The number of times someone has tried to call me out on them or get me to abandon them is innumerable; I’ll have these routines until the day I die.

Why?

Because they make since.

They’re the best way to do things because they factor in respect. Not just respect for the household or your significant other, but respect for yourself.

Waking up to a clean kitchen is magical.

Knowing that my bed is made and waiting for me at home is sometimes the one thing that carries me through the day.

Preparing for the final leg of my trip home after vacation, remembering that my house is clean and everything is in its place, gives me an inner peace.

Continue reading this article ›

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It becomes increasingly more difficult to sit down and write regularly.

Or such is my excuse.

Realistically, there’s no one reason I’ve not taken my time to sit down and write. Actually, so much has happened in the past month that I’ve wanted to write about, it’s a little embarrassing I haven’t already.

To touch on a previous post, sometimes life just gets away from you like that.

Here’s the really big stuff: a very close friend of mine came out to Colorado to find a place in Denver and ended up taking shelter with me. It’s been reaffirming. Then, as if she was a good luck charm (disregarding my persistence), I was offered a position with an amazing nonprofit organization granting me the opportunity to use my education and acquired skill set to give back to the community.

To touch on a previous post, seize opportunities that allow you to give back to your community, paid or unpaid. Put energy out into the universe that you want to come back to you; it always will. It won’t always be when you expect it or when you want it, but it will come.

Work hard to spend your time making a difference.

Aside:

Many times I find that these posts get a bit bossy in a sense. “Do this,” I say, “do that,” I say. Mainly it’s because I want to remind myself of what I need to do. It’s positive affirmation, if you will. So don’t take it as bossy, unless you want to (clearly I know what’s best).

Since starting this job, and it’s only been one month, I’ve felt more fulfilled than I think I’ve ever felt. I’m so satisfied at the end of my day, that I’ve been able to really dive into and explore things that excite me. I’m running more and am training for an obstacle course in August, I’m reading again and I’m spending time with myself that is (for the most part) stress free.

Here’s possibly the best thing about my recent life developments: my job inspires me, it makes me want to do better things and be a better person, especially for my community.

Stay tuned to upcoming posts for a bit of a shift in this blog. Not a fundamental shift, but a trial shift. I began this blog as a way to express my thoughts and emotions, and to have something to reflect back upon as a measurement of growth. As I continue to grow, so to will this blog.

If you hate something, lets talk.

If you love something, lets talk.

Lets talk.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When you’re not careful, life gets away from you.

The things that you enjoy doing, the things that make you happy, take a back seat to stress, worry and other very similar unproductive attitudes. You fall into bad habits and your mind travels to deep corners of obsession.

In this sense, I’m accident prone.

It’s not that I don’t know what makes me happy, I know exactly what gives me a sense of balance and accomplishment. That’s not to say I can efficiently tune out the world at all times to refocus, and, to be honest, with the way the last seven months of my life have gone, the world sometimes gets pretty damn loud.

This last month has been rough. Not the kind of rough where you sigh in relief that it has ended, the kind of rough where you’re scraping your knees to get to the end, wondering how it will ever end.

When I first got to Colorado, I was riding a massive life high. There had been so many changes and developments that I never once had to truly think about what was actually happening in my life. Everything felt so normal and natural that a large part of me naively thought the worst was over. I mean, I had already cried over leaving my partner, I penciled in time to not leave the bed and sulk over the things in life I no longer had control over, so surely the worst was behind me. Hell, I had even successfully moved more than half way across the continent, so as far as I was concerned it was all smooth sailing from here.

Then there was this one Wednesday when I was washing the dishes, windows open and feeling great after a much-needed yoga session and protein shake, that I broke.

If there were any better way to describe that day, it would be through audio. (Maybe I should consider podcasts)

There was no rhyme or reason, no obvious precursor for the events that were about to take place, just a little itch in the back of my throat right before the dam burst open. When I use that metaphor I intend for it represent the (very literally) hours of crying that ensued that Wednesday. Nothing could hold it back. At one point, in a state of desperation, I ran a bath with “stress-fix” salts, only to find myself sobbing after the first deep breath. It was a dam.

Continue reading this article ›

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I awoke in the middle of the night, just a couple of hours after resting my head on the pillow, in a frightened state.

After being awake for nearly 24 hours, 14 of which were spent in the car and nearly six in a blizzard, my partner in crime was losing her cool. It wasn’t her fault, I’d drugged her with a Vyvanse to keep her awake and lively on the journey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vyvanse, it’s designed for those with ADHD to help them concentrate. If you don’t happen to have ADHD, you’re essentially wired and overly focused on the world around you. It comes in handy when you’re making long, monotonous journeys across states like Nebraska and Iowa.

The downside? Like any other drug, your body has to come down from the high. It also curbs your appetite, so when you come down you’re hungry, cranky, exhausted and want to sleep, but sometimes you just can’t.

Naturally we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. It was only a few days before Christmas and we were sure traffic would be heavy. Gretchen was working until 5pm, so the original plan was for me to sleep during the day and drive the first shift while Gretchen slept until I got too tired. It would require driving overnight through Nebraska and Iowa on I-80.

If you’ve never driven across Nebraska and Iowa on I-80, I encourage you to do so, then read this over again.

Our families had warned us that they were calling for blizzard conditions in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We had been watching the weather religiously, and although in retrospect all we had done was convince each other that we’d be fine, we didn’t see any reason not to make the 14 hour trip. Besides, our families both worry too much. We were driving the Subaru, we had packed blankets and jugs of water, we’d be fine, we were prepared.

In what seemed like an initial blessing on the trip, Gretchen was allowed to leave work early, putting us on the road at 2:30pm. The excitement of our first road trip together was enough adrenaline to get us through the first two hours. Then we were both over it.

Insert Vyvanse here.

Continue reading this article ›

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve done quite a bit of hand-shaking.

I love meeting new people.

That’s honestly one of the best parts of moving to a new place, every person you see is someone to meet. And everyone has a different story, which makes meeting new people the chance to tell your story.

That leads me to what I’ve been thinking about endlessly: you have to have a story.

Maybe I’m full of myself and I’m crazy for thinking my life should be remembered, but should it not be? Everyone’s life is worth remembering. When I’m old and gray, I want to look back and feel filled to the brim with stories.

In the process of jotting down ideas on what essays I would draft, I started thinking about why I’ve made some of the decisions I’ve made in life. After some serious consideration, I  noticed that most times I made a decision based solely around the story it would produce. There are exceptions, of course, but is there a better reason to live life?

The idea of story telling is becoming a lost art, and I still consider myself an artist. It’s something people avoid at all costs. It’s as if no one cares what their great grandfather says because, well, what would he know?

Continue reading this article ›

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Over the years many of my peers, and even some of my professors and mentors, have suggested I write a book about my life.

Doesn’t that sound incredibly pretentious? The majority of people who sit down to write a book about their life are entirely too into themselves. (They have too much money.) So the book is really about how they had a decent childhood, lived a full high school and college-existence playing varsity sports and landed their dream career as someone who is allowed to be out of touch with reality. I’m not sure who buys these books, but I can tell you right now I’m not the only person who feels this way; I can’t be.

But then I thought, what if that’s the point? What if what everyone was trying to tell me was that I should write about my life because it’s actually quite fucked up?

You can’t honestly realize how entertaining your life is to someone else unless you’re a story teller. It just so happens that I love a good story, especially if I’m involved. (Make me the main character and I’ll pour your drink myself just to get your ear). A large part of it is my love of talking. The other, larger part, is making people laugh while I revisit my favorite memories. If I don’t revisit them, I’ll forget them, so the more I tell them, the better!

“Stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

I’m in a very good place in my life right now. It hasn’t been without a few difficult months, some unexpected twists and turns, but that’s life.

As I’ve been settling into Colorado, the main question is, “What brought you here?” There’s a short answer to this that sometimes sticks and sometimes doesn’t: “I was unhappy with my life back east, so I decided to move west and start over.” Every once in awhile, naturally, people want to ask, “What was making you so unhappy out east?”

Now at first, I loathed these people. Obviously if I was unhappy, there are details I wish to skip over by generalizing my life. The problem with going into details, was that one linked to another and it wasn’t a simple singular reason. It required me to go all the way back to July when I was hit by that drunk driver (for the second time in a year and half), then my job loss, then my relationship ending.

Think about those words coming out of your mouth as you’re talking to someone you’ve just met.

“Well, I was hit by a drunk driver doing 50 mph, then I was laid off from my job, and then my partner of three years and I split up, so I just figured now was as good a time as any to pack up the car I bought right before I lost my job and start over somewhere fresh.”

Wait for the look. It always comes. They think, “Is he fucking with me right now? That kind of shit only happens in Lifetime movies.”

It’s the truth. My life is a Lifetime movie without the estrogen. (There’s some, lets be honest, just not enough to actually get picked up.)

The most common response? “Oh.. Wow. Welcome to Colorado!” That’s why I like it here.

Sometimes I get an attempt at consolation, which I do not need and have not needed since my life started to become humorous. My consolation comes from finding the laughter in my life; it comes from thinking as each twisted event as a well-written story developing right in front of me. Why not? Do you know how broken I’d be if I didn’t laugh at the stuff in my life that I’ve had no control over?

There’s no possible way someone would buy a chronological publishing of my life. What if, I said to myself in my best Jessica Fletcher voice, I wrote short little essays about events in my life that I found the most obscurely entertaining?

Yes, I admit that this is bordering on Girls material, but the sexuality of it would be a subset. And plus that bitch isn’t original. All artists steal. (Just like I stole those last two sentences.)

I don’t plan on attempting to have my stories published. I’m no English major, and really the only thing that qualifies me is my inherent ability to lead a life of twisted, dark humor.

I do, however, plan on making a little collection for myself. It will likely be put on here, so if you’re following me you’ll get a good taste of my life as I see it. In the last week, as I’ve been glued to the couch awaiting the arrival of my root canal, popping Percocet, I’ve made a short list of starting stories.

It’s not like I don’t have the time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When something is right, it feels right.

You don’t have to question it.

It’s as if the universe is continually giving you blatant signs that it’s right.

In the last two weeks I’ve been happier than I can remember being in at least the last year and a half.

And I can’t exactly explain it, there’s just this feeling in my gut that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. In every aspect, it’s the exact opposite feeling I had about being in Pittsburgh. At no time in while living there did I feel like it was where I was supposed to be. Of course I appreciate my time spent there and the life lessons that I learned, but I knew from day one that it wasn’t home.

So I apologize for not updating more, but I’ve been busy enjoying this new life I’m making for myself. I’m not sure I’ve stopped smiling since the first morning I walked out to the bluest, sunny sky I’ve seen. No joke, I started laughing as soon as I took a deep breath. Everything felt right.

People are friendly here, they talk to you and make you feel welcome. It’s an amazing thing to meet all of your neighbors without having to go out of your way to know who you’re living next to. Better yet, to have them offer to move your couch in. Better still is having people help you connect with those in a position to hire.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I’ve laughed, hard, everyday. I’ve danced even harder. Life just feels right. And I don’t want to seem like I’m gloating, but I suppose I am. Why not? Everyone deserves to find happiness. Am I fully pieced back together? Unlikely. But I can say that I most certainly feel it happening.

Last night I got on Facebook to see pictures of my ex with his new guy. Initially my heart sank, and for approximately 45 seconds after, I was a bit a sad. Then I remembered how much I love my life and the decision I made for myself, and it seemed insane to even feel a shred of sadness. So I smiled. I even began to chuckle a bit.

I’m not broken. I’m far from it. And I realize it’s going to take a lot more to actually break me.

Over the holiday my mother and I had a chat about the last couple of months and my decision to leave my ex and move to Fort Collins. It started with her asking about what restaurants were out here and how I liked them (she always wants to know the oddest things), and led to my realization that in one week of living here, I’ve fallen in love; I’m happy.

Now, if I’ve not mentioned it before, my mother is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for two years. When she decided to get better for herself, I stepped in and helped her get her life back in order. There’s never been a day in my life that I doubted my mother’s pride for me; she is most definitely my biggest fan. What I doubted, naïvely, was her ability to see how unhappy I had been. So when she smiled at me and told me how good it made her feel to see me happy, yeah, I started to tear up a little.

I’ve opened myself to the universe. And as a wise friend of mine helped me realize, when you open yourself to the universe and the idea that everything will work just the way it’s supposed to, you will find peace and happiness and your true self.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

So far, all of the signs have let me know I’m heading the right way.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,