Friday, January 15, 2010

2009: A year gone but never lost...

The bottom of my coffee mug signals to my brain what my body already knows: I've just ingested my coffee and perhaps the timeline I had done it in was too fast. Anyways, 2009 a year in review from my point of view.

From the start 2K9, represented my move two-thirds of the way across the country to beautiful, quaint, and unique Gunnison Colorado. I don't know what I was thinking when I moved here. I had little expectations. I just knew it was the land known as Colorado and whatever happened would be for the better. Better because I would be forging my young life on my own; away from family and friends-not that I needed to get away, but there comes a time when a young man must, in this case, head West. All allowing me to find out more about myself and what makes Al's clock tick...right down to the second hand.

Recollecting my thoughts, the first few months had a very stable feel to it. I knew that every month past January would be another month cementing my presence here. Similar to my landscape though, once I could go seemingly no higher, the trudge down the other side presented new challenges and issues. I had yet to make solid friends that were near my age. A person can only spend so much time in their own world watching movies and reading books before they crave human contact. Not just any contact though, something that is on-par with what they left behind. I cannot say that the search started that very March or April, but I was definitely more aware of my lack of friends, outside the students I worked with of course and my supervisor. The beginning of summer/late spring found me in the Cascade mountain range in Oregon and Washington, climbing some peaks with my brother in-law and his good friends. Beyond offering a rarer glance into life in some other mountains, not Colorado, I found myself easily and gratefully distracted. Returning to Gunnison a week or so later, I had little time to mentally prepare for my first trail running race. I have to give props to my supervisor and friend Scott for backing me and keeping me driven. Much like other things in life, a solid figure in the shadows somewhere, whether it's in your mind or physically present, provides sustenance for forging onward. The non-literal view from higher up makes the big and obtrusive seem so insignificant; especially when in one's hindsight.

Summer 2K9 presented more free time than I expected. I had made one solid friend that I could engage with outside of work, though it was a female and most would assume a relationship. I, however, saw it as a connection to someone in-tune with what I liked to do and experience. Granted there was attraction, being the nature of humans, but allowing yourself to be swallowed by reasons of lust alone is no way to live. I was fortunate to have her company, her willingness to listen to what ailed me, and in turn be a leaning post for her. I do say, friends are categorized by such parameters.

As summer snaked away like a river in spring, swelled initially by winter snow melt, I found myself loving where I was but lacking the surely essential male-to-male bonding. I had left behind a few good friends back home in Pennsylvania and replacing them was a task seemingly absurd. Absurd? Yes; senseless because you can't replace the uniqueness of a friend – male or female. My only hope was to stumble into something more like what I had left, yet in tune with what I felt and tried to replicate in my life in Gunnison. Rewards aren't often deserved, but when you come into something you feel was in the cards, you can't help but smile on the intricacies of life, and how we often get what we really need, and not what we want. I thank my mother for those wits of wisdom; who I assume came from her own mother, and so on, so forth. In admittance, the male friends gained happened to be a few years senior to me, but highly appropriate; for they were at a slightly higher level than I in terms of maturity. Learning dynamically in my young life, I realize that without established pillars, one can easily tread laterally. Having two slightly older males in my life brought about dissection of myself and my life and an approach to reorganization. Being alone in a place makes it a bit easier to be selfish. If you only have yourself to live for, though my family meant a lot still, you often enact and engage in things that do yourself well. It's like a snow globe; even though the walls are translucent, the falling snow inside the globe (perhaps representing your own thoughts coming to be), distracts and grounds you in a limiting way to your own world. Until of course, the globe is dropped, disrupted, or otherwise.

My snow globe had been cracked. Nothing had spilled out yet, but now suddenly, the crack began to spider – eventually leading to the contents expelling out. If spilled milk isn't worth crying over, then spilled snow globes, representing my own selfish world, aren't either. It had been early September and I felt secure and solidly grounded in Gunnison. A simple trip to Taos New Mexico with sisters, bro in-laws, and babies changed that. I look back and thank the forces at work for how things proceeded. Not to grind on about mountains but, the climb up one's own personal mountain is very representative of my life. The uphill climb suddenly reveals a depression with a short often fast down-climb; sometimes descended without grace, followed of course by a steady rise to perhaps another false summit. The literal top is often always out of reach and sight. Good thing though. If we knew where we were headed or what the top looked like, would we still push ourselves? Some would say yes, others would succumb to temptation and perhaps level off. If the opportunity to see how I will die and in what year proposed itself to me, I wouldn't take it.

Living in the day and the week that we are, while knowing that 2010 will be different and better in ways than 2009 was, allows me to keep stepping forward and upward; even if it's at a pace measured only in millimeters. I pray aloud to the good graces that my next summit is false as well. I desire to continue on not truly knowing my literal summit until I am destined to by the powers that be.

What does 2010 hold? What did 2009 give? Comparing the later to the former isn't necessarily befitting. They both are unique. Perhaps we can only remember bits and pieces of yesterdays, much like a pop can in a garbage compactor: the can is readable when in recent thought, but as time goes on and the compactor compacts, the can becomes less and less discernible– akin to remembrance of memories.

What I do know about twenty ten is that a lovely lady whom I never saw coming has graced my life. My family continues to maintain strong ties with me and I them, across the physical distance of this nation. My friends here and afar, provide guidance, discovery, and irreplaceable companionship. My life is headed in the direction it should. The beauty being my ability to take my hands off the wheel, clear my mind of negativities while focusing on being my better self, and letting life steer in the direction it is to go. This story is mine, but sharing it with others brings an internal smile within me that is uncommonly repeated. Find the inner smile in you. I challenge you for the new year. If you were to share a story about your life, I would love to hear it. Sharing is caring; as they say but do it considering you desire to. May the year twenty ten not be the end of growth.

Much Love,

Alan
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