Never did I think I'd feel so alone in my own town.
I can't wait to leave.
I just gave my landlord notice so in less than 30 days I’ll begin the transition out of California. Nevada City first, hopefully TN or NC second. But the where doesn’t even matter, it’s the why. And yes Covid is partly to blame, but this has been brewing for over 13 years. Marriage is also partly to blame, ie. a lack of my own making it difficult to hang around married friends. Schedules are partly to blame. Even my job this past year made for an odd social life - a 5am wake up / done by noon situation. My own energy of having to be the initiator is a big factor, but lately it feels worse. It feels like I’m still curious, still learning, still discovering, still exploring. And I can’t think of another friend who is the same. Actually that's partly untrue. They're probably all curious but either have forgotten how to express it or it's possible I don't recognize their attempts. I fully acknowledge the weight of kids/ wife/ job/ mortgage and the toll it takes on the soul of a man. Much has been written in fact on the topic. However I still feel a disconnect. Like I showed up at the party dressed as Slash but the dress up party is really tomorrow, and the 80's party? Yeah that's not for another month. I have one friend who’s been married but is single now and we’re finishing up a book together, and we took a hike on my dads trail last year, and we talk about a motorcycle trip. He might still have the curiosity spark in him.
I’m starting to test another theory though.
I’m wondering if I did this on purpose.
I’m wondering if the line I drew in the sand, relentlessly searching for some Covid truth amidst the fear mongering, I wonder if subconsciously I pursued this track because the friendships here (although still meaningful) are simply not productive for my unique journey, and I’ve known a break was needed. Like if I was saying on the surface “who’s with me” but my subtext was “I already think no one is,” as I challenged the gov't and exercised (I think) a healthy dose of criticism towards health 'orders' that were exposed pretty early on to be arbitrary and not based on any clear science. Even though I usually start a rant with “I don’t care if I’m alone in this..” maybe it was in fact exactly the opposite - it was a passive-aggressive call, and a reminder to myself of my suspicions, this just isn’t my place anymore. As they say in the matchmaking world, it’s a sign your date might be the one if being together is just.. easy.
Which means the converse is also true.. ie. it shouldn't be this hard.
That sounds sad.
But I don’t feel sad.
In fact I’m teetering on the brink of having 2020 be a crazy productive year. On the brink of more than one significant breakthrough, getting paid to direct my next film being just one example. Finishing a book is another one. Making a run of brand new Homesteads is also a pretty big one. Taking better charge of my future, getting into the stock market, applying for a home loan, prioritizing goals and focusing, all these are adding up I think, to a feeling of confidence and happiness, feelings that are building the closer I get to long overdue success.
What kind of success?
Success like birdieing a par 4 that you know was above your normal performance. Success like thinking out of the box all your life and having it finally work. Like contacting a famous artist to illustrate the cover of your book and having him say politely no, then sketching an idea for him to start from, contacting him again and having him say yes, he’d love to.
Success like relaunching a bike brand after 30 years and watching people hand you their money. They want to be part of the story. Hey it might only be 10 or 20 bikes but for each of those people it might be the most unique bike they ever own.
Second theory: what if I’m not the only one working subconsciously towards my success? What if my friends aren’t disassociating from me because of me, but rather something in them knows that they can’t help me by enabling a comfortable life. The Good Will Hunting syndrome. That even if this stage is lonely it’s the only way I flop out of the nest? The only way I’m forced to seek companionship out there is if there’s none left here.
Like I said, it sounds sad.
But it makes me think of Jackson Browne, his songs seem sad at first but really they walk a line between sad and necessary. Lonesome and pondering, but not hopeless.
I saw Jackson once, on New Years Day in Santa Monica. He had a dark blue puffy ski jacket on, the kind I had as a kid in the seventies. He was across the street and I wanted to say something that only he would know, and maybe something to make him smile. So I blurted out the first thing that came out "Saturate before using!" I yelled across Wilshire Blvd. on that winter evening. I figured he'd have to turn at the title of his debut album, and so he did. He turned on a dime, looked right at me and shoved his fist up in the air as did I in response. We both smiled.
As I’ve noted here and many of us know subconsciously, what has to happen in the hero’s journey before he breaks into act III?
You got it.
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Here's to new beginnings.