34 (Part II)

The Journey continues…

I remember it vividly, at least the major details. After a night of merrymaking, I set out for the day, on what was the final day of my solo trip to the PNW. I was in Vancouver, and truth be told, if there was another readymade destination for me to go to, I likely would have continued my trip. From San Francisco to Portland to Seattle to Vancouver, I had kept moving north, almost in a straight line. If there had been one more destination to the north that made sense, I might have went for it. After all, there was no real end date. The only goal I had was to go to Portland, and before I even got there, I missed a connection, and spent the day in San Francisco. I decided to just see what happened after that. There was no hard and fast plan, and so I let my intuition guide me. I was determined to take as much time as was needed. It had definitely been a year.

I’d made some friends the night before, and had spent the night talking about anything and everything. Now, in the brilliant light of day, I began my trek to a nearby tourist attraction, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I remember that there were bridges between trees. I remember a transparent section, where you could look down and see the Capilano Canyon in all its vastness. I’ve always had a slight fear of heights, well, maybe it’s more of getting too close, as if I’ll do something stupid, or trip, and go careening over the edge. The views were spectacular, and I couldn’t help but notice all the other people that were there. People just enjoying the day, enjoying the sunshine. The main bridge trembled as you walked across it, but I never felt anything less than safe. I was out in nature, and I appreciated the recommendation of the Canadians I’d met. This was all so cool, such a sight to behold. I wish I still had the photos.

I walked around the area 2 – 3 times, and when it was a little later, I decided against taking the bus/shuttle home. I was tired, and not feeling the greatest. I decided that the walk home would do me good. It was a long walk, but not hilariously long. During my passage, I noticed streams and the like. I was in nature, but never overwhelmed by it. I was enjoying the experience. I was listening to music, and it’s very clear to me just how crucial music has been to my recovery. Sometimes, the right song can lift you up, but other times, the sad songs can help you feel what you need to feel and get lost in the afternoon. Occasionally, I checked the map to make sure I didn’t wander off. I have a penchant for getting ridiculously lost, and on my final day, I didn’t want that. It was an unneeded wrinkle. It was time to go home. It was an internal feeling more than anything else. Aside from a few friends, there wasn’t much for me to return to. Everyone else was living their own lives. It was one of the reasons that I went alone.

I’m pretty sure that my stepmother called me every day when I was on that trip. We’d grown so close during the past three years, and we were sharing an apartment. Maybe she missed having me around. After all, who else was she going to yell at about cleaning the coffee maker? I kid. Maybe she thought I had lost my mind, or maybe, she thought I was running away. I’m not sure what the reason was. Maybe I’ll ask her, but for now, it doesn’t really matter. Even then, I didn’t care what the reason was. I was happy that someone was checking in on me. It felt like a true mother-son kind of love.

The trip had been my first step towards feeling better, after losing my father. For the first time in months, I was energized again, maybe even excited about life, when I’d felt so low for so long. I had a feeling within me that I didn’t want to waste, because I’m a little too aware of just how fleeting those good feelings can be. You never know when things are going to shift. You can never predict when the game is about to change.

I walked home, ready to start the rest of my life, ready to board a plane, and head back for the east coast. I’m not sure if I knew at that point whether or not my sights were set on New York. All I knew was that I was excited, and that maybe for once in my life, I was feeling my age, when I often felt like I had to be much older.

I sit here and write this post, something like 9 or 10 years later, having taken a variety of trips this past summer. Of course, I wanted to revisit places that I love, but mostly, I knew that I needed to soul search, as we all should from time to time. It’s important to figure out if what you’re chasing, if it still matters, if you still want it. Maybe a change in course is needed. Maybe you want to get back to being that person you’ve always wanted to be, or maybe you’re grateful that you’ve gotten off course. Maybe this new version of yourself has surpassed anything you could have possibly come up with. Heck, maybe you’re just lost.


And I’ve written before, about my birthday audits.

I sit there and reflect, attempt to change the parts of myself I don’t like, or that need fine tuning. It’s nice to think that I have some control, but in reality, there’s precious little I can do. There’s so much I never could have predicted, and so I’m done trying. I give up. Not on life, but on trying to act like I have any idea what will happen next. The future is uncertain, but I’m excited about it. Most of me, a large percentage of myself, wants to dive in head first, but there is some trepidation. There is a part of myself that is given to self preservation.

There are two sides to me. On the one hand, there is a part of me that wants to just play things safe. Take easy jobs, avoid relationships and children, and just try to get out of life alive, maybe even retire early if things go well. It’s a path born out of fear, and I know that we can’t live our lives that way, but there’s something inside me that wonders how much longer I can last on this ride. There have been so many surprises, so many twists and turns, and I just don’t know when I’ll reach my breaking point. Maybe our inner strength and love our infinite, but I don’t want to be the one to find out that they both are exhaustible.

There’s the scared person, the person who says, “Get me off of this thing,” and then there’s the person who says, “Go for it.”

I don’t know which side will win out. After all, I believe that life is ultimately for the living, and yet, as my stepmother so rightly pointed out, I’ve been dealt a lot of surprises in my life. Unfortunately, while I have no evidence or numbers to back this up, I would say that the bulk of surprises in life aren’t surprises that you want to experience. Even so, an opposing thought flows through my head, counter to the tank that is running out. It says something like, “Man, you’re still alive. Let’s ride this thing until the wheels fall off.”

And so I’ll attempt to find a balance between the two approaches, between grabbing life by the horns, and preserving my mental health. I’m getting better at setting boundaries, and saying no to things when it’s clear that there isn’t anything to gain. I’m still as curious as I’ve ever been, and despite my trust issues and fear of abandonment, I still love people. I’m hoping that that’s enough to get me through. Maybe love really is the answer. I’m still learning, living, and searching. I don’t know where this path leads, but I’m getting better at letting go of my expectations. Whatever happens is okay.

My thirties have been mixed, but I’m not about to quit. On the contrary, I’m kind of excited about what the rest of my life holds. I really have no idea what will come my way, if I’ll fall into something traditional, or if I’ll forge my own path. I’m kind of leaning towards the latter, but above all else, I want to be happy and at peace. I’ll do my best to survive, to adjust, to thrive. Thanks for reading.


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