Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving, even if it is a bit late. It is never too early or too late to give thanks for who and what you have in your life.

We all make plans. We have dreams and desires, we set goals, and sometimes we even accomplish those things. Other times, life gets in the way and we get diverted from our path into a new direction. Those can be difficult times, trying to figure out how to start over again or how to adjust to a new set of goals. In this way, I never pictured myself having children. I wasn’t anti-kid, I just never saw it as a part of my future. Now that I have a child and am helping raise another, I find myself adjusting to my new reality. More importantly, I find myself being incredibly thankful for the children and my girlfriend, they are wonderful people and I am a lucky guy to have them as family. My baby is 7 months old, now, and she is as active as I could hope for. Babbling, rolling, jumping, and darn near crawling, she is a joy to see and I can’t wait to see how her life unfolds. Z, my girlfriend’s daughter, is progressing at school and it’s cool to watch her learning new things and becoming more able to understand the world around her. As for my girlfriend, she just got promoted at work and, even though it’s a hectic position, I have no doubt they got the right person for the job. I love them and the make my life better every day.

I am also very grateful for the childhood I had, and the family I was born into. I have always been loved and I have always known it, something that many people can’t say, unfortunately. I’ve had opportunities, I’ve had help, and I’ve made mistakes, but my family has always been there for me, and I will always be grateful for them.

This Thanksgiving, or whenever you read this, I challenge you to sit down a while and think about what you have to be thankful for. Please take some time to put away the frustrations you may have over changes or adjustments and give thanks for what you have, even if it’s not what you planned for or expected. Yes, sometimes life doesn’t follow your plans, but that doesn’t mean that the unexpected path won’t be every bit as wonderful as what you had in mind.

Happy Holidays

Coming to Seattle

Growing up, my family would often take our summer vacations on the road. We would pile two adults and three kids into a car (and as time went on, a number of different vans and an SUV), and venture across multiple states, seeing what there was to see, visiting scattered friends along the way. These treks took us through every state in the west and one memorable jaunt into Canada. We spent countless hours on the road driving between destinations, begging dad to pull over for pit stops, we ate at all manner of diners (different names, but they all managed to have similar fare), and stayed some of those nights in hotels, some more questionable than others.

Of all the cities we visited, there aren’t many that stuck with me so much as Seattle. We kayaked Puget sound, explored the market (where my dad pretended to be a street performer with a fart noise maker he got in the market – we look back fondly on this now) enjoyed some local food, and I even ended up burning myself on a climbing rope cutter at the local North Face store. Memorable as this experience is for me, I had no way of knowing just how important this city would be for me.

Before I moved to Seattle, I had lived in the desert for a total of 22 years, 19 in Palm Springs and 3 in Phoenix. Towards the end of my hot and sandy lifestyle, my life was what I could only describe as stagnant. I completed some college coursework in Palm Springs,but had no real focus; I graduated from a technical school in Phoenix, but had no realistic prospects for working in the field. All the while, I worked low end, low pay, superficially satisfying jobs with no foreseeable future.

I was suffering the effects of a profound inertia that I am trying to break free of, even today. I needed a change. I needed a way out to a place where I could make meaningful, fulfilling changes in my life.

I thought long and hard about what change I needed. About how it would look, how it would feel, and about imagined possible outcomes. I put all that desire and hope out into the “ether”, the universe, if you will, asking for what it is I wanted. About a week later the universe answered, in a spectacularly direct fashion…in a karaoke bar.

I was meeting a friend and his fiancé to celebrate her birthday with drinks, singing, and pool. In the course of the evening, my friend looks across our table and says: “I’m going back to Seattle in November, if you can be ready you can come, too.” I was stunned. It was unexpected to say the least, but I knew that here was the opportunity I had been looking for, asking for, needing. So, after all the waiting, anticipation, and preparation, we went. He went back to the town and people he loved, and I moved even further from the people I love and the towns I had developed a distaste for, to open a new chapter in life, in a place I had loved from long ago.

Seattle just made sense, plain and simple. I could extol the economic, social, and environmental virtues of Seattle to explain just how exactly it made sense, and, while they may all be accurate statements, they don’t quite capture the nature of why. It was just a feeling. Driving into Seattle at nearly 2:00 AM, a zombie after a 36 hour drive, I got the feeling of coming home from a long, confusing trip. Not since I lived with my parents have I felt that way, though I never told them that. The difference, here, is that, despite the family I love in the desert, I needed a place I could call home as an adult making my way in the world (something I had no hope of finding in the deserts) From the moment I arrived, I knew that Seattle was exactly what I needed. It just made sense, and, now looking back to the few times I had visited, I suppose I always knew that somehow.

After two years here – November 13th – I am a stay at home dad to a baby and a 5-year old. I am a daddy who feels less of the inertia he suffered under in another place, for whatever reasons. I have no illusions about it, Seattle didn’t do that, I did, because I felt better able to breathe and less afraid of failure. I guess home has a way of doing that, and I am grateful for every day and every choice that brought me here, both good and bad.

Thank you, Seattle.
Thank you, Hope.
Thank you, my loving family.
Thank you Jojo.
Thank you to the children.
Thank you to the universe.

And thank you for reading. I challenge you to examine how and why you came to be where you are and to be grateful for it, even if you aren’t quite where you wanted or expected to be.