A little over two years ago I began a new journey, a new chapter of my life if you will. It was scary and exciting and overwhelming and so many other things. It was my life in reboot. Little did I know just how the past two years would change my life.
I’ve grown through this time. Inward. A reflective journey I had already begun a few years previously. Getting picked off a mountain in a helicopter will kind of do that to you. In the years since, I’ve put so much emphasis on what I considered to be the most life changing event I had experienced. And yet, there was more to come.
But there I was, ripe for change. Reflective, which, if I’m being honest, isn’t easy for me. Not that I can’t or won’t be reflective, it’s just that I’m so critical of myself that I don’t enjoy the process. In fact, I feel I am too reflective. I over-think things, to the point I become self conscious about everything. I become sensitive. And intellectually I know I’m not unique in this regard, but try telling my insecurities to be rational and intellectual. Yeah, right.
I had accomplished a life’s goal and written a book. I was expressing myself in print and online in ways I felt I was too afraid before. I felt growth, but I’ve known for some time it wasn’t true growth. It’s been superficial growth. Like the first sprout of a seed in the clear plastic cup during the Science Fair…I could water it and watch it grow or be so excited the seed sprouted, run out and tell all my friends only to come back and realize I had forgotten to water it. That was my growth, thirsting for water.
Let’s just say I haven’t killed the seed just yet, but it’s in a precarious way for sure.
Two years ago I set out on my own to pursue writing full time. I released two books (Lifting a Foot Forward & A House in a Field of Reeds), began developing a web-adventure series (The Micro-Adventures) and started a radio show (now The Morton Podcast). Professionally I was honing my craft. In the winter and the early spring of 2013, I was working on writing two books simultaneously and had grand plans (ideas, anyway) for more outdoor adventures.
It’s no secret that in May last year I was gut checked big time. My dad passed away suddenly. To say it rocked my world is an understatement. For those that have lost close friends or family, you understand. Until that moment, I hadn’t really understood. A new chapter had suddenly begun for me. Unexpected and unwanted, but there was not a thing I could do about it.
Now it’s a new year, and we’re quickly approaching twelve months since he’s been gone. Honestly, the change in my life recently hasn’t all been the loss of my dad. A lot, but not all. I’ve reached that point, I guess, where I start evaluating things in my life more. I did celebrate my 40th birthday last year, so maybe a new decade also began a new chapter? I don’t know, but I do know my life is still in reboot.
Let me apologize if I start to ramble. For my readers that have been with me a while, you know I’m prone to the occasional existential post. A symposium of completely random thoughts, ideas and questions about minutiae that twist like switchbacks up a nearly endless peak. Or expertly fragmented sentences like that last one.
But I digress.
My life is still in reboot. In ways I never knew possible. I’m emotional now. Like see a commercial on t.v. and get choked up kind of emotional.
What the heck, man, seriously??
Like being emotional all the time doesn’t make me self conscious or self critical. Oh, wait. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to pretend to be all macho and stuff when you see puppies on t.v. and have to excuse yourself all the time so you can grab a tissue. Or the box. Whatever.
Actually, I’m okay with being emotional. I evaluate what makes me emotional and then…Yeah, pretty much. I over-think things. Which brings me to the human condition.
The Human Condition. It’s a phrase I’ve heard nearly my whole life, often by writers either in Hollywood trying to describe real life or by writers reviewing something coming out of Hollywood that was trying to describe something in real life. Either way, the phrase is stupid. No, actually, it’s STOOPID. Double O…Stoopid.
Like we’re all machines that have somehow caught this “condition” and that explains why we are weird, emotional, irrational, self-destructive, beautiful, passionate and loving creatures? Like the sanity and insanity of this life can be chalked up to this “condition”? I don’t get it. It’s stoopid.
Sandra and I went to go see the movie “Her”, written and directed by Spike Jonze. For me, it was a beautifully crafted look at the weird, emotional, irrational, self-destructive, beautiful, passionate and loving creatures we can be. It was at times strange, uncomfortable and awkward, and when it wasn’t those things, it was the most heart breakingly honest and sincere look at a man at his most vulnerable. Upon leaving the theater I was both lonely and sad, and yet felt like I had seen one of the most important movies I would ever see. A film that immediately had an indelible impact on me.
And with each step I took back to the car, each moment of reflection on what I had just seen, it occurred to me that I had witnessed the truest look into the human condition.
We ache for relationships. For love and acceptance. We ache to be challenged and to be supported and to be entertained. We crave these things as we crave food and water and air. And yet as desperate as we can be in need of nourishing relationships, we almost assuredly will take advantage of the ones we have. It is a detriment to the ones we share our lives with, but it is most certainly a detriment to ourselves. We take these relationships for granted, and in doing so we cheat ourselves out of the very love and acceptance we do so desperately need. Our weird, emotional, irrational, self-destructive, beautiful, passionate and loving behavior merely becomes a sideshow to our core need – relationships.
I’ve come to realize that I am in evolution. The evolution of a man. This realization is part of my growth, and someday, maybe soon, I’ll regress and feel callous and superficial and might even regret this journal entry. That setback will become part of the balance. But for now my sadness and loneliness has been replaced by joy and comfort and love.
Joy and comfort and love.
These things I suffer for the human condition.