An Update On Pretty Much Everything… Oh, And I’m Moving Overseas (Probably)

Where I’ve Been

2014 has been an interesting year. I haven’t posted much on my blog because I spent the early half of the year in a bit of a daze as I packed up my life in Colorado and slowly trekked back East, interviewing with various companies along the way. It simply has been too hard for me to write about in explicit detail. But generally speaking, I went through a breakup. Not just a breakup with a woman whom I loved very much, but with an entire family, with friends, with a city and a lifestyle that I had come to be quite comfortable in. The heartbreak was real. I’d be dishonest if I said the first half of this year wasn’t some of the hardest times I’ve been through in my entire life, yet somehow I managed to experience some of the biggest stretches of growth in my life as well. As one of my favorite quotes from a BJJ Master says: “Reduce your elements and become efficient in very small details.”

Gratefully, with some help and a lot of space and time I got some things physically and mentally back in order that hadn’t even realized were holding me back. It wasn’t a fast or easy process, as I so wanted it to be, but sometimes the right place and time happens upon you and you have to agree to go through the entire process of healing and growth, regardless of what it takes to get through. Or you could just choose not to grow, but that’s a whole other matter…

So here I am at a turning point. A moment that will shift my entire life as I know it. I’ve prepared myself for this by getting in shape and losing over 40 lbs through diet and exercise. I’ve also doubled-down on my mediation practice and mental fortification through reading more.

So here we find ourselves.

Bye Bye Wheels

Yesterday I sold my 2008 Toyota Yaris. That car was damn good to me over the years. It’s seen a lot of this country with me and has never failed me when I needed it. I was in a pensive and grumpy mood when I was closing on selling it because everything about the situation seemed like it was stripping me of my identity and mobility. Yet, it was my idea to sell my car under these circumstances. I could have waited a few more weeks, taken a few more job interviews, or just put it off a little bit longer for maybe more money, but what as I signed the car’s title over and accepted payment, all of my anxiety about the transaction vanished and was replaced with gratitude. I had just sold off the single most valuable asset I owned and I now had what I needed to take the next steps I’ve been planning for so long.

Where I’m Heading

In about a month, I’m planning to move overseas to South Korea to become an ESL teacher for a one year contract. I’ve held off on telling many people I know because I’ve had various potential employers here state-side whom I’ve been speaking with over the past few months and I was sort of just waiting to see if they made me an offer that would convince me that going overseas wasn’t worth it. But, after spending months researching what teaching ESL in South Korea was like and lamenting on a past decision to pass the same opportunity up I realize that this is exactly what I need to do right now in my life. I’ve wanted to do this before and never did it. Now is the time. So, besides selling my car, I figured publicly announcing to the world my intentions to move across the world should seal the deal on my options. Bold action breeds bold results, or so they say!

So, now what? I am car-less for a few weeks and I don’t know my school, city or departure date yet. Figuring out the exact place I’ll be traveling to in October is of utmost importance. I’ll also consider one or two short trips to take that I’ve passed up this year because of various reasons. But, besides that, I’m taking the next 4-5 weeks to essentially deepen my relationships with friends and family before I go. It’s important to me that everyone know exactly where they stand with me leading up to this.

I’m not sure what else to say except that this choice I’m making truly is an expression of who I am and where I am at in life right now. I am trying to live my truth regardless of how it makes me look to others. I’d encourage everyone else to try and do the same, for that matter. Life is too short. You really don’t know what could happen to upset our perfectly laid plans at any moment, so how much true happiness and expression are you willing to put off and sacrifice in order to have a life that appears safe and calm from the outside?

More updates to come on where I’ll be going and when.

Something changes the moment you decide you’ve found a person you are ready to reveal parts of your soul to…

No matter what happens, or what the conclusion of that moment with that person is, we are all better off for having lived through these moments. I love this quote:

Something changes the moment you decide you’ve found a person you are ready to reveal parts of your soul to. Something stands out and makes the moment unique. A profound multidimensional clarity resembling a piece of carefully gathered stardust; As if you are whispering “finally” and your eyes fill with light and spontaneity. As if you do not care whether your heart will melt or crumble in the process because your brief courage undoes your tremendous fear of disbelief. You live for these moments; For you are, maybe for one second or more, sweetly forced to surrender yourself to unconditional intimacy. A moment of psychological reward smashing all self-imposed disciplines founded on terror. This is all you need.

~ Anais Nin 

Chicago Is Familiar

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

Lots of driving. Lots of thinking. I’m well past the point of being sick of myself. It’s as if I’ve listened to every single song on my Spotify playlists (if you’re a Spotify user and reading this and want to make me a new playlist, I’d love that), I’ve thought through every scenario leading up to the past few months and have nothing left to say about it to myself or anyone else. It’s just me and the road.

My friends Jenn and Mark in Chicago have been amazingly generous to me over the years that we’ve known each other. They’ve always opened up their home to me, cooked me amazing food, listened to me talk nonsense in circles and call me on my bullshit when needed. So when they suggested I make a layover in Chicago it was an easy choice to accept. Since getting here I’ve slept better than I’ve slept in the past month, by far. My dog is happy to be here too – lots of toys and two Greyhounds that have no idea what to do with his energy.

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I’ve also gone downtown and wandered a bit, remembering what it felt like to be in Chicago in the various stages of my life. I came here first a long time ago when I was interviewing with a wind energy company. I was hoping to move here. I also wasn’t sure if my girlfriend at the time was going to move with me or not, however she was supportive in me pursuing it, so I came out here with an open heart. I didn’t get the job, but I never forgot about Chicago. I came back many times when I was living in Madison, WI as well, for music, food and general big city shenanigans. I was in a different stage in my life then compared to when I first came here. Recently single, wide-eyed to life’s new possibilities and not quite grounded anywhere. Seems like things have come full circle because I’m pretty much in the same situation now.

Chicago always has a calming effect on me. It’s the only city besides Boston where I feel completely at home. It’s always felt that way to me. It’s nice to have a centering and grounding experience mid-way on a road trip.

Tomorrow I hit the road and continue East. I’ll stop in NYC for a bit, then get up to Massachusetts and see about a few potential opportunities that have been presented to me. I’m excited to walk into them with an open heart and mind. Absolutely everything will be considered as a valid option at this point. As long as it serves me and gives me an opportunity to serve those around me, I am going to give it my attention.

News From The Road

Firstly, I was given my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu before I moved out of Boulder last week… January 18th to be exact. Words can’t describe what BJJ has done for me over the years. Below is a picture of me getting handled by a badass dude at my gym who’s just short of having a black belt… so I don’t feel terrible for getting my ass whooped. And then my new belt… ain’t it pretty.

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Right now I’m back in Madison, WI right now staying with a friend from when I lived here last. It’s surreal to be back here. I haven’t visited since I moved to Boulder in 2010. The circumstances that brought me out to Madison were, to say the least, significant in my overall development as a man, person, partner, professional, etc. It was the space I needed from my life as I left it back in Massachusetts. I’m starting only now to truly  realize some of the lessons I was taught by life and some people in my life back then. I am so grateful for those lessons and those people, past and present.

Here’s a map of my stops so far. 2,100 miles and counting!

Capture

 

Up next: Chicago, Brooklyn New York, then my final destination (for now), Boston, Massachusetts

Happy Holidays From Worcester

Nothing like getting in touch with your hometown, your family and childhood friends. Despite catching a nasty cold that kept me at home for a few days, it’s been really great to be home.

The lady and I have decided to take a last-minute trip to Maine to stay with my grandparents. She’s never been to Maine and I need to re-connect with my heart-force, which is strongly linked to the ocean.

We’ll be back in MA for New Years Eve, just before we head back to Colorado.

A whirlwind trip, but all worth it.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday season.

August Flipped Everything On Its Head

Within one week, two awesome life events occurred in my life, both of which I’ve nervously awaited for quite some time. I’ll be careful to list and describe them in order of importance and meaning 😉

Firstly, I moved in with my girlfriend last week. We’ve been dating for about 2.5 years and back in 2010 I made an insanely abrupt and crazy decision to skip out on a one-way ticket to South Korea and move to Boulder to give us a shot. Here we are, still giving it a shot and it’s been, without a doubt, the best time of my life. With and without her, I’ve grown more as a man, a partner, a person than I have in my entire life. She pulls the best out of me like no one else and as most people who know her and I remind me, I am way out of my league and lucky as hell 🙂

I’ve never lived with a significant other before. I guess I’ve considered living with ex-girlfriends before, but nothing remotely came of it. Maybe it’s my maturity, or maybe it’s the both of us together, but this clicks and makes sense. She’s even letting me have a hand in decorating the place (her place originally, now ours). So, onward and upward with that. Bye bye bachelorhood, it’s been fun. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go do laundry for 2 now.

Secondly…

That  other life event I mentioned. I’ve subsisted on consulting work since December of last year. I was lucky to have a lot of great clients over that course of time and enjoyed the flexibility and independence that start-your-own-business-advocates rave about. I also became a bit isolated and frustrated with the touch-and-go nature of my work and sought to remedy that somehow. I wasn’t sure if it was going to look like getting a full-time job, taking on something part-time, learning a new skill (I tried learning Ruby on Rails with limited success) or a mix of those three.

What happened instead was that I got hired by one of the most award wining advertising agencies in America, Crispin Porter and Bogusky. Yeah, that was a “holy fucking shit” moment for me. I kid you not when I say I’ve sent them at least 5-10 job applications a year since I graduated college in 2006. It was one of those dream job scenarios that I’d keep applying to until I got an interview. That interview finally came in 2012, 6 years later.   So, last Friday, before leaving for a completely offline retreat with my girlfriend’s company in Rocky Mountain National Park, I officially was hired. You should have seen my face.

I’ll be the Community Manager for the Microsoft Bing account. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this team. They get me, I get them and I cannot wait to work my ass off for/with them to create social community greatness. It’s going to be a trip!

There we are. The first week of August was a crazy and amazing one. I don’t have much else to say except that I am truly ready for where I’m at. I’m ready to be the best person I can be and perform in all aspects of my life to my greatest potential. I’m so psyched.

BJJ Practice 7/13/2012*

Today’s BJJ practice was more of the same top mount position attacking drills that we’ve worked all week. We drilled the Ezekiel Choke and Front Choke and tried a new type of Ezekiel/Bow and Arrow Choke shown to use by Coach Shane. I really like attacks from technical mount right now because I’m so bad at finishing from mount.

Drills:

  • Ezekiel from mount. I learned from my awesome training partner that I need to re-position after I get my grip and hand across the neck to make it more of a blood choke rather than a pain move.
  • Front choke from mount. I’m still struggling, but again, my awesome partner showed me to how to be more balanced from my elbow and knee positioning so I don’t fall off, get swept and lose my grip. I’ll get better at this.
  • Bow and arrow/Ezekiel hybrid choke from mount where opponent rolls onto their side. This is pretty technical with a lot of steps, but for some reason I really feel most comfortable with this.

*I wasn’t sure if I should bury this note in the bottom of a BJJ class post, but I’m going to anyways.

I am extremely fucking sad right now. A close friend has been battling Stage 4 Lymphoma for 3 weeks and the prognosis isn’t good. Last night, my girlfriend’s best friend’s Fiance passed away in a tragic swimming accident. My girlfriend left for home to be with her friend and won’t be back for a while. I feel like I’m really having to sit with these feelings all alone and it’s hard to deal with. To have one friend fighting for his life and another friend pass away, about to marry my girlfriend’s best friend, AND he has two children. I’m just really heartbroken for these people in my life who are experiencing so much loss and hardship. I don’t feel like I can do anything right now either except keep living and loving my life as hard as I can to honor them.

I have nothing eloquent to say or feel right now. I just wanted to be honest and say that I’m really sad. I’m glad I have jiu jitsu to work at at least to take my mind off this all for an hour at a time.

Good Florists Are So Money

Considering I bought tickets to a play and we were denied entry to it (dog sitter miscommunication, plus traffic, plus parking garage fiasco, but we were granted tickets to another night later this month) I’m glad I could rely on a single entity of my Valentine’s Day planning to go off without a hitch.

Today is Valentine’s Day and l had a bouquet of my girlfriend’s favorite flowers (Stargazer Lilies) delivered to her office before she got there this morning. I planned this last week because I haven’t been able to find Stargazer Lilies since we’ve been dating. One type or another of Lillie will make her happy, but when we very first started dating, she told me that Stargazers really got her. I got about a million marketing emails advertising ridiculously low rates for delivery of 2 dozen roses in a crystal vase, etc. These bouquets were friggin impressive and cheap and I’m sure my girlfriend would have loved them, but none of them had Stargazer lilies.

So, I called the one flower shop that I knew of in Boulder, Fiori, and asked if they had Stargazer Lilies. They did! They also would hook me up with any delivery options I wanted within a certain price. Totally professional, personable and reliable.

Tonight is a special dinner. I’m excited for it. I’m grateful for the love in my life. Time to celebrate.

Home For The Holidays – How Good Have I Been?

I head home for the holidays this coming Saturday. I am super excited. This year has flown by and I’ve only been back in MA a few times. I guess I’m lucky to have been back at all, as some people I know never go home!

I wonder how good I’ve been at keeping in touch this year? I’ve fallen out of touch with some people and made many (MANY) new friends and have an amazing new relationship in my life. But, how good was I at keeping in touch?

This is something I’m going to ponder while I’m at home smothering my family and friends with the love and attention they’ve missed out on this past year. I can’t wait!