What am I doing?

My Big Year

Russian Gulch Beach CA. 
This year is a big year for me!  I planned to blog about it all along the way, even had dreams of finding time to make youtube videos. I knew this year would be significant to me, I spent half my 39th year on this earth planning for it. I also spent 4 years saving for it.

Life never goes as you plan it though. I heard in a Beatles song that life is what happens while your busy making plans.

I wrote a lot of articles during that time.  I wrote for hours and hours. I was trying to figure out what it was that was bothering me.

The cause of suffering is resisting what is. What was it that I was resisting? Why did I have this entire need to do what I did?  I still cannot answer this question.

I wrote a lot of articles about what I did, but this was also a time of reflection for me. I was busy trying to figure out what I was going to do with the next half of my life.

Building the Ark

I was at a unique place in my life. I had a great paying, medium paced government job. I had always been energetic and have a need to interact with people and create. This job was working, but was killing something inside me slowly.  I saw that reliable retirement slipping away as my life expectancy became shorter everyday.

The job did not match, but that was not my only issue I wanted to change.  My work was located in the very heart of downtown Stockton.  There's great people in Stockton and I have many friends there, but it was not where I wanted to settle. My second year at my job I started to look to buy a house. Unsatisfied with the value and location of everything in the town my third year I started to look within a 45 minute commute of work. I moved
out of Stockton and back three times.

By the end of my 3rd year at my job I was tired.  I tried to look for new jobs, but no matter how great the job was or the town it was in seemed I stayed negative.  I felt like I needed a reset, I needed a long break.  I thought about trying to squeeze a few weeks for vacation between jobs, but I would feel rushed and there were other things on my mind.

I wanted to visit my dad for his 70th birthday in New Mexico, and I wanted to do some camping.  I wanted to do a LOT of camping.  I thought I wanted to get away from everyone in the world.  It seemed refreshing to me.

So nine months before I quit my job I shopped for RVs, sold my Jeep, and bought a cargo van.  My project for the next 9 months while I saved my money and cut my bills down was to build the inside of the van into a camper van.  I took care of my late stepfathers house while I took this project on which provided me with a large garage and shop to do my work. It gave me hope.  I had no idea what would happen when I quit my job.  I still don't.  All I did know was that I was real tired.  Tired and needed hope.

Enduring with Hope

My work was becoming almost intolerable. There was a change of management and the ensuing stampede of co-workers to climb to the top.  It was suggested to me that I apply for the position many times, but I had turned into a real shit bird.  I was not at a point in my life to lead anyone.  I had picked up habits of complaining, and general not give a fuckery.

Two years before this would have been my dream.  I spent a lot of time on extra outreach programs to further my career while I was there.  I was part of a year long mentorship program where I was paired up with a manager to learn the ropes.  I am good at leading, but I will not lead at all if I am not going to be good at it.

While my co-workers were congratulating me on a job well done my own standards were slipping. I was becoming cynical and miserable. I started making more friends around the office and when I started to hang out with them outside of work I realized they were way ahead of me. Sure I used to smoke pot to deal with stress, boredom, and anger. That was always something that I manage therapeutically and cycle its use intentionally.  Heavy drugs like lots of alcohol, meth, and pills were used to cope more often than I had ever seen before in my life.
Family boat on lake Hogan in Valley Springs. 

It didn't help to realize this.  It didn't give me any solutions.  I realized that whatever turd was in the punch bowl had circulated throughout.  It was impossible to locate the turd and anything that comes in contact with the turd eventually is valued just as much.  This is how it went with myself.

Cutting the Cord

Camping with my family at Mackerricher State beach.
So in March I gave my two weeks notice.  I remembered it being a very long two weeks.  People were curious, startled, confused, and emotional.   I got all my projects ready at home.  I was picturing everything I was going to do and it was great.

Life barely changed though.  I took the first 3 months to help my mom around the house, do some camping, and some nothing.

I went camping many times.  Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.  I attempted to make some YouTube videos but was unsatisfied with my work for some reason.

Road Trip

So in June I set off.  My first stop was Morro Bay, CA. I camped out one night and was excited to get going early so I continued off to San Diego overnight.  I got to San Diego and pulled my van into a busy RV park.  I was not feeling social at all so I cut my trip short and set out along the southwest border of the US through the desert. I thought I would stop at Slab City, but again was not feeling social so I kept driving.

Visiting White Sands.  A most exquisite place on earth. 
The next day I spent some time at White Sands, NM.  I always liked the miles of gypsum sand.  It is a very unique and confusing feeling being there.  Like the world is covered with warm snow.  I recommend everyone go there.  You will only need a few hours to make it a solid memory.

I visited with my Dad in New Mexico for two weeks.  He was in the middle of moving to a new place, so there was a lot going on, but we had a great time.  Did a whole lot of talking, and visited with some friends that are dear to him.

From there I had planned to go to the San Padre Islands in Texas.  After spending the better part of two weeks in the desert I decided to head north to Colorado. I visited an old friend and then decided to head back to California and re-visit the Morro Bay Area.  I used to live there and absolutely love it.

Hanging out at a cowboy bar with my dad in Albuquerque. 
I went back to the Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo area.  I spent time at the beaches, campsites, hotels, and bars.  I bought new tires for the van, and then got my van stuck three times on the beach within 3 hours.  By the end of the week I was tired, and was spending too much money so I headed back toward my moms house.

I decided I had learned what I needed to this year.  I have what I was after even though it was not at all what I thought it would be.  Now I am ready to get back in the game.  Time to find a new job and get on with the other half of my life.

Going forward

I write this as I sit in a hotel room in Sacramento en route to Hawaii. I am going to spend 12 days on Waikiki beach as I try to take aim on my future.  Part of what I learned this year was about going forward.

Visiting Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Another gift
from God. 
So you will not see me posting about my trip to Hawaii on Facebook.  You can find me on there, but my activity has died.  I no longer check it on the toilet, dmv, or boring staff meetings. If you are my real friend you will be curious enough to read my article and will find me online.

Real friends need a connection.

I am writing another article about my new Facebook philosophy. In the meantime I resolve to post more about what I am doing.  I resolve to do so because I sometimes like to reflect on where I have gone and what I think.  I don't want to wake up my friends with unnecessary bullshit for them, so I will be posting on my blog instead.  I am the primary one that likes to revisit where I have been.  I am a big fan.