The Restart

Press down, hold for 10 seconds. Wait another 10 seconds, turn on.

The restart.

Except it has been much longer than 10 seconds.

But I’m back. Buckle up, it’s about to get interesting around here.

-Doug

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Full Circle (or Figure 8)

Over the past six years, my laptop of choice has always been a PC with a hefty video card and processor. I value the combination of portability for mobile learning and power for recreational gaming. However, this requires certain compromises. My laptops have never had anything close to quality battery life. So, when I work outside of home, I am tethered to locations with easy access to power outlets. Whenever I enter a new library or coffee shop, my first instinct is to map out all the optimal electrical access points. As a new place becomes an old place, I develop favorite chairs, tables, corners.

I’m sitting in an old place, at a favorite spot. I couldn’t even begin to recall the number of tests prepared for, papers written, and conversations facilitated by this spot in this place. I’ve done some of my best work here. It seems my life has come full circle again.

For four years, this coffee shop served as a hub for social and academic endeavors. Many of the blog posts featured throughout the years have been written from this same spot in this same place.  Two years gone, here I am again. This is not the first time I’ve returned since graduation, but it may be one of the last.


 

Here’s what I did not fully anticipate about my geographically unstable lifestyle: every time I move, I leave a part of myself behind. To be fair, some of this is by choice as I seek to redefine who I am, but it doesn’t change how it feels to return. My life is beginning to feel like a book full of unfinished chapters written by an author obsessed with cliff hangers. Is this bad or good, normal or strange? I don’t know, and I’m not sure it can be defined in such stark dichotomous terms. Maybe it’s little more than nostalgia and this entire thought exercise is meaningless.

Still, it is strange to re-unite with older versions of myself, like meeting an old friend again. Much of the person I was here—the dreams, the fears, the achievements and the mistakes—I still carry with me. But, some have remained and continue to haunt these favorite spots in these old places. Familiar walls trapped and kept parts of me left behind in fading memories that will eventually disappear forever.

Now here I sit again, at this coffee shop, facing the next transition, shedding again a former version of myself in Boston. I don’t view these repetitive restarts as ‘bad’, rather that of soft mourning often natural when waving goodbye. I expect this is often a motivation, even if unconscious, behind settling down and committing to an area, a job, a relationship. I’m afraid of commitment, not to any of those, but I’m not ready for that level of commitment to myself. I am not sure this version of myself is the one I wish to live with for the coming years. So I continue to scatter abandon parts across the map.

Yet, I still find myself revisiting these old places and these past memories. Whenever I leave, I often find myself telling friends that I’ll be back again, and to date that’s been true. So, maybe I’m not completing the circle, but just continuing through the figure 8. Returning to all the same places before crossing the middle and back again.

Does any of this matter? Is any of this important or true? Maybe not and I’m not sure that I care.

These are just laptop musing as I sit at a favorite spot in an old place talking with a previous version of me.

 

I’m An Adult Tour of America

Good People of the Internet,

This is it: the last night in Boston before I begin my extended road trip, which I have decided to title “I’m an Adult Tour of America.” As I mentioned on the Twittersphere, there is a recently increased chance that I will actually complete the entire Tour and make it out to the West Coast, in addition to all my previously scheduled stops.

Barring a disaster or two, in the next two months I expect to make stops in Michigan, Iowa, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, and hopefully Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. This is, by no means, a complete list, but more or less outlines the hot-spots I will be focusing on for various reasons. I expect to visit other places along the way as well.

If I may be honest, I’m somewhat surprised this is actually happening and beyond thrilled that I have the resources to engage in such a crazy adventure. While I am hitting the above mentioned locations, when and where and how are all up in the air; I’m figuring this out as I go along, so stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter as I’ll be trying to post frequent updates as I figure it out.

I realize many of you friends and family have adult lives so I’m going to do my best to give people advanced notice before just showing up out of the blue. However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I’ll forget to or spontaneously do so, so I hope you like surprises!

Doug’s I’m an Adult Tour of America

May 21st through ????

Coming to a city near you. 

I felt this was fitting for some reason:

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If My Home I Never Find

I did it. I made it to graduation.

Tomorrow, I’ll be walking across that stage, this time to be hooded for my Masters in Social Work. It has been an interesting past year and half, to say the least. I’ve had some great times and some terrible ones and a whole lot of fluctuation between two less extremes.

Now, on the eve of graduation, I’m faced with another convoluted crossroads of potential. The urge to run is back; the restlessness has been building over the past couple months. So, I am hitting the road after graduation. I am going to drive as far and see as many people as my dwindling funds and aging automobile will take my wandering soul.

Why? I have yet to find an answer for that which I can put into words. This need to run, to go, to wander has bewildered and frustrated many of those I care about, but I don’t have a better answer than simply that: I need to. I am searching for something, but it’s impossible to express it in finite language.

         I am searching for a home; I am searching for a place where I can have both peace and motivation—stillness and purpose.

            I am searching for an explanation; I am searching for answers to questions, and every time I start over I have found some and gained others.

Mostly, I am searching for myself. Somewhere between 18 and now I lost something and I’m trying to find it again, whatever it is.

And so, I’ll leave Boston behind soon. Realistically, I’m likely to return due to constraints of the job search, but even if I do, I wont be long to stay before leaving again.

Why? Because I need to. Because I haven’t found it yet.

 

“If my home I never find,
Let me live again.”

I’ve posted this song numerous times here, there, and everywhere. When words fail, music is the best expression I can offer, and there’s no better emotional explanation I can offer than this song.

Unexpected: A Gift from a Writer

Life is a conglomeration of unexpected meetings and happenings. With the addition of the internet, these connections and events have only increased in frequency. For this reason, I am often a proponent for the increased avenues of dialogue and relationships found through the world-wide web. Moreover, I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know individuals I would have never met any other way.

I had one such encounter a few weeks ago with an individual who had just published his first collection of poems. We struck up a conversation about the book, and he ended up offering me a free copy to read. He had not had much success yet with selling the book and simply wanted to circulate a few copies around to people interested.

Here’s where I could turn this conversation for my own personal purpose: to stand on a bit of a soap-box about the positive things I’ve found through the age of the internet in contrast to the often attributed negative. But this isn’t about me.

This is about a humble poet who sent me a free collection of poems: Seriously Silly by Marty Rogers.

The package arrived in the mail early last week, but being busy, I did not have the chance to read it just then. Later, I found, upon opening, that he had included a piece of paper with a hand-written note, along with a hand-written poem just inside the front cover. The note began: “This book, like its author, its readers, is imperfect.” He went on to explain that a few mistakes had not been caught in the proofreading process and that he choose purposefully to not re-print as a reminder for himself going forward.

I found that rationale inspiring and genuine. It’s the kind of quote that you tuck away in your pocket and remember later in life.

The poems are simple in format, style, and language, but what impressed me was the accessibility of his poems. This small collection of poems was intended to reach two audiences: kids and adults alike (10 and up according to the author). I found myself, a mid 20’s something, enjoying several of them and even putting the book down to think deeply about a few. Not every poem resonated with me, but rare is the collection of poems where that would ever be true.

While anyone could read these and find some value, I see this collection of poems best suited for a family setting. I have no preconceptions of my future, but I could see myself reading these poems to a kid, nephew, niece, etc. and equally enjoying them together. Clearly, I have a heavy potential for bias, but I do believe I’ve always held my own as a critic.

If you’re interested, his book is on Amazon here: Seriously Silly by Marty Rogers

In closing, I wanted to share with you, with his permission, one of my favorites.

What Compromise is All About by Marty Rogers

Perhaps those nearest the mountain top,
Those closest to the sun’s warm glow,
Could take some time, just to stop,
And help those of us toiling below.

Though few would ever reach the summit,
And that triumph may never be known,
None would ever have to plummet,
And none would have to clime alone.

 

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