9 November 2015

When it started to get dark I went for my second run. The first run was shorter, but it was a run nonetheless, and it was a huge deal for me because I haven’t had the energy to run in a really long time. Like years. Mind you, I walk like half the way, but that’s progress for me. There’s not much right now that feels as freeing as putting on my old running shoes, getting out of the house, and jogging with nothing but the ground and the cold air to keep me and my thoughts company.

I think about a lot of things, but this is a different kind of thinking than I do the rest of the time. The other kind of thinking can keep me up at night. It can be 4am and I’m doing nothing but agonizing over what my future could or could not be. Or it’s somewhere between 6 and 7 in the morning and I’m still thinking about what I want to do when I get out of bed. That sort of thinking isn’t always healthy, which is evident in my extended absence from my running shoes. But the sort of thinking I’ve found myself taking part in on these first couple of runs reminds me of when I was younger and so certain that regardless of what career path I ended up choosing, I would have fun doing it and I would help people in need. Those were my core values. Having a good time and making a positive difference in the world.

Tonight’s run allowed me to admit to myself that I really am unsure and, frankly, scared about my future. I still believe in those two core values of my youth, but there’s another part of me that really questions whether or not I am wasting my young adult life. I always hear people saying that your twenties are the best years of your life—that you have the most freedom. You can go wherever you want. You can travel the world. You can party with your friends. You can fall in love. You can live out of your car. All of these wonderful adventures just waiting to be had. But then, here I am, in my twenties, an occasional insomniac struggling to figure out who God is, uncertain about my career path, wrestling with my health, and trying to make the most of my younger years all at the same time. If this is the best time of my life, then a miserable existence awaits me.

See I can’t just stop thinking like other people apparently can. There’s too much for me to imagine. I wonder what it would be like to be healed, to sleep deeply every single night and to be a long distance runner. I think about reliving my high school years with the knowledge I have now. I picture myself on a beach in Hawaii with all the time in the world to just swim and nap in the sun. I imagine what it feels like to fall in love. Would it be any different than when I dream about it? In my dreams I’ve fallen in love with so many girls. These dreams are so vivid and sometimes it takes me years to forget a particular dream like this. So, as you can probably imagine, I spend a lot of my time wondering if, for one, she exists, and secondly, if I am looking at her every time I see someone who makes me look twice. And you can save it because I already know I’m a bit obsessed.

Tonight my mom found a dog on a busy road by our house. It’s a black lab and it looked to be about 4 to 5 months old. She was getting dangerously close to oncoming vehicles, so my mom picked her up and took her home. We made signs and put them up around the street on freshly rained on stop signs and telephone poles. This dog is very sweet and to my surprise looks quite okay with being “lost.” So tonight I wonder what it would feel like to be a lost puppy. Would I actually feel lost? Would I be waiting for my human owners to rescue me from this cruel world? Or would I revel in the reality of being lost, this opportunity to go my own way, to make my own decisions, and to forge my own future? I suppose what being lost has to offer is the rare occasion to choose your own direction with full ownership. You, in a sense, get to create your new home.

After approximately thirty minutes of running in the early night among an orange and red sunset and a crisp autumn breeze, I return to my “real” home, a home that doesn’t seem real so much as it seems in rather desperate need of healing.

2nd November 2015

I woke up with a cold this morning, which was too bad, but I ended up embracing it because it meant I could have a sick day and sick days can be fun if you let them. My dog was sick today too—some stomach thing—so I got to lay pathetically next to her in solidarity. I think she liked that.

I did a number of little things today, but nothing that significant to write about. Though I will tell you something that I thought, which is that I miss living in the city. I found that living there can make the mundane tasks of every day life seem less pointless. I could water my plants and look out the window at a city also in the midst of the mundane. And “going out” was as easy as stepping out my front door. See, when you’re in the city it doesn’t feel like you have to leave to find the world because you’re already in it.

Here in Tacoma I live in a neighborhood about 15min from downtown, which is far enough from the city to feel alone. It’s not my parents’ fault. It’s a really nice home and a pleasant neighborhood. We’re on top of a series of hills tucked away from the elementary and middle school, the golf course, the corner store and the old Blockbuster that’s parking lot is now a place where kids skate and smoke weed. I have no friends here, although I used to. He used to live across the street in that mansion. I always felt a little less cool than him mainly because of their house and how young and trendy his parents were. We’d call each other on our home phones and hang out usually at his house, for obvious reasons. We’d skateboard on our quarter pipe that our dads built together.

I had another friend the next street over. I’d walk to the street, then I’d crawl through the brush to top of the hill that marked the end of his backyard. I’d slide down and make my way to his back door and I’d knock and wait. Most days he’d answer and we’d watch scary movies and skate in the street. If we were lucky we’d convince his mom to drive us to a skatepark and we’d just skate for hours.

I miss all of that. That’s when living here made the most sense. That’s kind of when my life made the most sense. It wasn’t so complicated. Now it’s all about finding some job that’ll give you enough money to do the mundane, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy your work. Now without a job, I spend lots of time watching nothing in particular from my window feeling nostalgic and remembering all of those things. Nowadays this street is pretty deserted during the day, but maybe it’s always been like that. I think most of them go to work around 6 in the morning. Sometimes I’m finally falling asleep when they pull out of their driveways.

I don’t know what I’m doing. I really don’t. I’m twenty three. I don’t have a job. I’m living with my parents. I’m in this stagnant pool of young adulthood and it’s like I’m just learning to swim all over again. All I want to do is have fun with my friends, but I don’t have friends here anymore and the friends I do have are busy living their lives that look nothing like mine. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so alone in my entire life. It’s partly this amazing privilege to be living here with a mom and dad who are willing to put me up until I figure out my next steps, but it’s also this incredibly lonely experience.

Before dinner tonight I took a walk back to my middle school. The school is a ghost town at night. The detritus of Halloween night litter some corners of the school property and remind me why it’s a holiday that I mainly avoid aside from rarely getting invited any where. I started tracing the perimeter of my school counter clockwise. I looked into the gym. The lights were on and I could see it was remodeled now. But I could still make out the area that me and my first girlfriend sat during PE. I thought back to that one day after band class when her friend dumped me because she was probably too afraid to tell me herself. It’s funny how it felt nothing at all like being dumped the next time in college.

I went around and found the stairs and walked up to the where the library is located. I peered in the windows of the dimly lit library. Everything looked nicer now. I wondered to myself why my schools always get better looking once I leave. This looked like a library I could have spent hours in, but back then it wasn’t anything to retreat to. I walked down to the basketball court that I mainly avoided because of the assholes who felt the need to pick on me during lunch and in between classes. I didn’t stay there long. These weren’t memories to dwell on. So finally I went around to the entrance of the school and found the curb I would sit on to eat my lunch alone. I just stood there for awhile taking it all in. It was dark now.

I remembered how alone and unlikeable I felt as a seventh and eighth grader. I remembered all the friends I lost. I remembered the time I came home from my first school dance in tears. I can usually find it somewhere within me to see the humor in the past, but as I was standing there in the deserted school yard I never once felt like laughing at these old memories. The pain was still too real. It’s manifested itself in different ways over the years. I’ve felt alone all my life. But I also remembered how so much changed for the better once I moved on to high school. I made friends. I got a better haircut. A couple of girls liked me. I got asked to my second school dance with one of the popular girls and I actually had a good time. In high school I finally felt like I was worth something again. Then I thought about where I was now, in my twenties and once again lost and confused and lonely, and I knew in my heart that this too would pass; that I would move on from the ambiguous space of feeling too old to skateboard all day and too young to give my time to some boring and meaningless day job. This too would turn into something beautiful and unexpected just as everything else has. The secret was to just keep walking, to keep taking chances and learning from the past.