Death, Rebirth, the cycles of life…

Posted in Personal News at 2:20 am by divinity

I sit here late night, a week away from something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I alternate between incredible excitement and a tiny bit of fear. The past year is strong in my mind as an important one. Around this time last year I had to say goodbye to one of the most influential people in my life, my grandfather. The man that helped raised me, encouraged me to learn and exercise my mind simply by sitting me down on the floor in front of the tv while we watched his favorite game shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. He was a reserved man, and I always admired how he carried himself. Everyone loved him, and he never lost his cool. His quiet confidence spoke volumes and I can only hope to live as full a life as he did. We miss you poppy.

While I was in Florida surrounded by family and the love and care that filled the rooms I started thinking harder about where I was at in life. When I was 17, I basically struck out on my own. I started guiding my own life and soon found myself miles away from my family. At 25 I started thinking more seriously about where I should take my life, and who I wanted to walk down the various trails next to. I was 99% sure I had figured it out, but sometimes that 1% gets you. With the assurance of my self, as well as all of the other important people in my life, I started taking steps towards what I thought I wanted. I did the customary things, and was greeted with warm arms and smiles, but unfortunately the financial beast blocked the path to dreams. After almost 6 months, the beast was finally slain, and work was done on what would have been a beautiful symbol. A month later that symbol became useless. Nonetheless I fulfilled my obligations, compensated the necessary people and now I have an expensive piece of wax.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to do with this. I knew that out of respect for the artist that put hours of work into it I wanted to at least capture that and pay due homage, hence the pictures. This blue wax would have been a unique white gold and diamond sparkling piece by now, had life taken a different direction. But now it is a piece that sits on my shelf, knowing that it has a little over a week in existence. It will make it’s final journey with me to a similarly unique space in the middle of the desert to be undone, consumed by flames, a reminder that everything in life is temporary.

Am I devastated by the course of events this past year? Not at all. In fact it’s had the opposite effect. The passing of my grandfather was the first real encounter with the strong realization of the finite time we have. A few months back I met a new friend who has had a similarly significant impact on my outlook on that aspect life, but probably has no idea. Soon after we started talking, she found out that she had cancer. Rather than retreat and wallow in despair like many would, she turned to face it head-on with a strength I have not seen in anyone. She hasn’t let it stop her from following her dreams and desires and continues to treat it with an attitude of humorous acceptance. Simply amazing to see and I feel honored and grateful that she’s made a cameo on the stage in this Act of my life.

I look at my life lately as a train on a set of tracks, cruising down. Months ago a switch was thrown and the train was redirected. At first I was unsettled and wondered why the switch was thrown. I could see far down those tracks and thought that the journey that had been good so far would continue as such. However the tracks that I jumped to were clouded in fog, and my visibility is still quite limited. As I’ve journeyed through this fog I’ve found it to be a very enlightening path and one that feels very good. Every few miles I realize that there are so many things that are right. My job is wonderful, challenging, and a great group of people. For the first time since I’ve been independent I haven’t had to worry about whether or not I’d be able to afford bills, rent, etc. I have also been able to dive deeper into taking my love of computers, the internet, and learning and turn it into several projects that are not only personally fulfilling but financially beneficial. They say “follow your bliss”, “Find a way to get paid for what you love doing”, etc. My “job” outside of my full-time position isn’t so much of a job as I enjoy the work, I feel like I’m providing something to people, and it helps me financially do the things I want to. I’ve learned a great deal in the past year and am happy to be doing it outside the normal “system.” The real world experience is what I desired so much and the main reason I chose not to go to grad school. I have zero formal training in what I’ve been doing, and I love the exploration and education on my own terms. Not only that but I’ve been given the opportunity to do something else I’ve wanted to for as long as I can remember. California has always had a sort of calling for me. The counter-culture, the tech industry, the just plain uniqueness. I hate to sound cliché, and I know it’s probably some sort of childhood fantasy based off of unrealistic representation, but it’s still stuck in my head. In just 3 months I should be packed up and headed out west to San Francisco, a place of great opportunity, excitement, and exploration. It’s funny how something feels so right sometimes. When I was out there to visit in June I fell in love. I had always thought that the song “I left my heart in San Francisco” was about someone and not necessarily the city. (I never paid close attention to the lyrics) But now I realize the feeling behind that song. I sit here in Chicago, a city I would enjoy on a vacation, but not one I would like to live in, and yearn for the people and city of San Francisco. The past few weeks, and the next few months are going to be so long.

And finally, Burning Man starts for me in just 7 days. George and I will be driving out to the playa on Sunday, the day before the masses get there, and claiming camp for our crew of 30! I have no idea what to expect, and I have purposefully done my best to avoid setting any sort of expectations. While it has been difficult, I stopped reading “Breaking Open the Head” when I got to the chapter on Black Rock City; I passed up the opportunity to watch the “Burning Man – Beyond Black Rock” documentary, and the various videos floating around on the internet. I do think that it will definitely be a mind-opening experience and something that will have an impact on my life. It’s not a party, not a Lollapalooza or 90’s Woodstock, not an art show, but more of a movement. To see the number of people attending Burning Man every year with zero advertising other than word of mouth signifies a movement in my eyes. A shift in the way that a portion of society thinks. One thing I have learned is that the community around Burning Man is an unbelievable one. To see an event of this magnitude (the 5th largest city in Nevada for the week) happen with no corporate sponsorship and surviving primarily on volunteers is so unbelievably refreshing. The openness and acceptance of everyone and anyone combined with the respect for the land (Leave no trace), plus the artistic expression, and minus the commercial capitalism that surrounds us everyday draws me. I found myself driving home from work today and found myself with an enormous grin on my face and goose bumps just thinking that I would be flying out in only a week. I’ve lain in bed unable to sleep for hours just thinking of the fun that will be had on the playa. At the same time I realize that it will not be 100% and will be a challenge and a chance to learn and grow. We as humans are not made to be out in the desert, so there will be the elements to deal with. At the same time there is a large sense of community, there is also a strong emphasis on self-reliance. You take care of yourself. A reinforcement of the independence and responsibility you have as an individual to yourself. I gained a lot of this from my time out west, and it has only been beneficial in the long run. I’m starting to philosophize on this too much. No expectations. 🙂

So, the next 3-4 months bring an enormous amount of changes. As I started this post, I alternate between excitement and a little bit of fear. But the excitement and anticipation is quickly overwhelming the fear. 🙂

Leave a Comment