Changing Direction

The last time I regularly maintained this blog was in the winter months of 2015. During this time, our Capstone team was in the middle of spending three weeks in Sri Lanka for the data-collecting portion of our project. While the east coast suffered through sub-freezing temperatures and occasional snowstorms, the temperature in Sri Lanka regularly topped 80 and even 90 degrees. Sri Lanka was a welcome respite from the winters I was used to, and it was also an incredible bonding experience for my three teammates and me. I was the only guy in the group; I’m surprised they didn’t kill me.

The blog sadly took a back seat once we got off the beach and started working. After spending a few days in the cities of Kandy and Galle, our trip came to its end in the city of Colombo, where we gave our final presentation to a room of roughly 25 people from various city agencies. I’m not sure if our project actually achieved anything, but we all felt strongly about the work that we did when we boarded the first flight to Dubai, and the second to New York City.

The first time I regularly maintained this blog, I wrote about my traveling experiences. There isn’t much to write about on that front these days, as my current job only allows me 10 days of paid vacation per year. I don’t envision becoming a travel blogger anytime in the near future, but rather, it’s a conversation with one of my teammates, not the sun and surf, that made me want to dust off the blog and get it going once again.

One of the final nights in Colombo, my teammate and I sat at a table on the roof of our hotel. There was a bar, a pool, and plenty of seating available, and the hotel itself looked out onto the ocean. Even though the clouds and maybe a little bit of smog usually obscured the sun, the view of the sunset was truly magnificent. We sat there sipping a local beer, basking in the twilight, and chatting about nothing in particular. I’m not sure what led to the next part of the conversation, but it was then that she told me how her family had been going through a challenging time, and how she frequently felt pulled towards home. It was a feeling I understood, as I had graduated college and immediately moved home to take care of my father. It’s hard to live your own life when someone you love is suffering many miles away.

As we sat there and vented, I realized, and maybe she even said it out loud, that as human beings, we don’t talk enough about the unpleasant parts of life. I get that we’re supposed to look on the bright side, to revel in the blessings we’ve received, and while I usually do try to do that, the truth of the matter is, it’s difficult to be sunny 100% of the time. It’s difficult to always be positive when it feels like the deck is stacked against you and your world is falling apart.

The goal of this blog going forward is to hopefully start a conversation. Not with me, necessarily, although my door is always open both figuratively and metaphorically. The goal is to maybe start a conversation with someone you know who may be going through a trying time in his or her lives. It may not be comfortable, and there may be some tears along the way, but I feel like so many of us are only living half of life by not exploring and discussing the toughest parts of existence. So many of us try to internalize the pain, and as someone who is on his seventh therapist can tell you, that really doesn’t work.

I’m blessed enough to have friends who are willing to discuss these things, but I know that not everyone is. When you open up to someone, it can feel like you’re dumping. It can even make you feel guilty, especially if the other person hasn’t experienced the same issue or feeling. If this blog achieves anything of worth or value, I hope that it reminds the reader(s) that they are not alone, that there are so many people dealing with the same exact issues right at this very moment. That’s probably the most helpful thing I’ve learned in my near-thirty years on this planet.

So what do y’all think? This will be the general theme of the blog, but it won’t be all doom and gloom. Occasionally I’ll write about music or movies, or anything else that catches my attention. I’ll even try to write about the rare occasions when I do travel. I do hope that you’ll give it a shot and stick with me. I can’t wait to get started.

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