Colorado

December 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

A sea of green beauty flowing in the distance, the open Colorado landscape tells a story that only the depths of my soul can hear. My deepest and most precious thoughts and feelings can be found on the shaking pedals of the blue columbine flowers as a mountain breeze graces the expansive meadows that fill the massive valleys between mountain peaks.

Human beings find all forms of natural landscapes beautiful and interesting. There is some sort of inexplicable cosmic pull that occurs whenever we gaze off into the face of nature’s most amazing spectacles. But for me, there’s something deep within my spirit which constantly longs for the beauty of the American mountain west. It’s more than a simple ascetic attraction. There’s something about the incredible contrast between the deep green fields and the almost unbelievably large, snow covered mountain peaks that make me feel at home. The fresh smell of land uncorrupted by human civilization for miles. The open, clear blue skies untainted by pollution. My fascination with Colorado reminds me a lot of Melville’s somewhat comical description of a sailor being away from sea in Moby Dick:

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.”

His ocean is my mountainside. After a good deal of time away from the mountains I feel “off”. As if there’s a part of me that is missing. Almost like a long lost lover or something.

Katie and I have decided to take a road trip from North Carolina to Seattle during the first two full weeks of July. We’re renting a car and headed west to Colorado. Then north, up to Glacier National Park. Then west out to Seattle to stay with my uncle. And of course we’re making tons of stops in between.

I try not to show it to Katie but I’m so excited I might piss myself. I can’t wait. The only thing better than re-experiencing the beauty of the mountains (and a lot of new places as well) Is experiencing it with Katie. She makes me genuinely happy and I can’t think of anything better than combining the two things on earth that make me happy.

Until next time,

Peace

The Internet and Modern Social Movements

December 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Like a scattered pack of ants frantically scurrying through the thousands of paths in ant farm, the energies of the human youth have splintered and fractured since the growth of the internet. Previous generations had the benefit of seeing their movements form into integrated forms of expression. The hippie generation of the 1960’s might be the purest example of this now extinct form of generational self-expression. At no other time in American history has a generation so strongly embraced such a solidified and powerful lifestyle which stood in opposition to the traditional culture of previous generations. Everything from their views, their clothes, even their speech, was a direct and unified middle finger to the rules of their parents.

Such a movement is not possible in 2015. Rather than providing a medium for unified movements to gather support, the internet has instead become a space for isolated communities focused on specific interests and narrow goals. This isolation has in large part created a generation of people who are no longer interested in a generational “call to arms”. Even among the politically active youth, there is very little interest in venturing from the confines of whatever schools of thought they ascribe to. On the one hand, the internet has certainly helped to create a “sub-class” of young bloggers and amateur intellectuals that likely never could have existed outside the walls of academia a mere generation ago. But this growth in education (in the broader sense) comes at a price. It could easily be argued that the divisiveness among the politically active youth reflects a larger division occurring within contemporary culture at large. Simply put, people are less likely to join forces.

But divisiveness isn’t the only thing standing in the way of generational movements. The internet has created a level of self-awareness which no other generation has had the benefit (or the curse) of experiencing.  Popular social media sites like Reddit and Twitter have become hot beds for scathing critiques of popular cultural fads and interests. So called “hipsters”, a group which ironically grew as a result of this cultural self-awareness, have been the victims of some of the worst attacks. There’s a good chance that if it weren’t for the internet the hipster movement would’ve taken on a form somewhat similar to the beatnik generation. But because the internet provides a sort of cultural mirror, smartass millennials stomped out that fire long before it ever started to grow. If the hippie movement had come about after the popularization of the internet, would it have survived? Or would they have been mocked and derided for their unusual behavior?

In the end it doesn’t really matter. I’ve come to accept that a solidified generational  movement won’t happen again so long as modern technology is around. And that’ perfectly okay with me. Rather than fight against the current, my plan is to go with the flow.  I plan to build a self-sustaining home on a big chunk of land and just sort of do my own thing. And I mean that in every sense: politically, socially, fashion-wise, etc. If the internet has taught us anything it’s that we must adapt or be forgotten. So let’s embrace the individuality of the technological age. Let’s embrace the uniqueness of the human spirit. Let’s just be “us”.

Lost

December 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

This Tuesday, December 23rd will mark six months since Katie and I started dating.

Perhaps it’s because of the holidays but I’ve been unusually uncomfortable with the reality that I really don’t have anyone else. Or maybe it’s because things have been so rough between the two of us lately and the thought of losing her makes me realize that I literally have no one else on this earth. Whatever the reason, I’m afraid.

Moving back home is not an option. Nor will it ever be.

Katie told me that she’s unhappy. She says I never seem happy and I’m always down about something. Both of which are true. She thinks I’m bipolar and wonders if I’m clinically depressed. I’m not sure if I’m either of those but I do know that I’m not in a healthy state of mind. I’m fairly certain that ending our relationship would only send me into a downward spiral. I don’t want that.

I haven’t felt this way in a long time. I feel lost and without purpose. I feel like I’ve lost touch with whatever used to motivate me. I don’t love any of the things I used to. I can’t read anymore. I try picking up some of the books I had meant to read a while back. I can’t. I sit down and try to read but my mind just gets distracted by the same fears that keep me up at night. I can’t travel. I have a new job so I can’t afford to miss extended time at work and between the house, our jobs, and having three dogs, weekend trips are essentially out of the question.  I never work out. I tried monitoring my eating habits like I used to but all it takes is one terrible day and I lose all motivation to get back into shape. I keep saying I’m going to sign up for a gym membership but every chance I get I just stay home and brood around the house.

I’ve had sex once in the past two weeks.A new record low that is making me feel even worse. Of course Katie and I finally had a couple nights off this weekend but we spent the entire time arguing about how depressed and unhappy I am. She’s getting sick again which will probably lead to a longer gap. I masturbated for the first time in over a year today. It was terrible but it helped quell the unhealthy animalistic rage I feel during long periods without sex.

We don’t go out. I had planned a surprise date night with Katie a couple weeks back. We had talked earlier that week about how I need to enjoy North Carolina and stop obsessing over seeing the rest of the world. So I made an attempt. When I called her after work she said she was really sick. She sounded terrible over the phone. So I said forget it and we just stayed in and watched Netflix. She’s basically been sick since then.

I don’t know why I post this in a public forum. Maybe it’s for the same reason that teenage girls cut their wrists. As if I sort of get off on the potential attention. To be honest I don’t know. All I know for sure is that typing this provides some form of a cathartic release. Would it be embarrassing if anyone I know read it? Of course. I’m just…lost. I feel like I’m fucking sixteen years old again but with adult problems.

I’ve thought about my issues a lot and I think every one of my fears can be traced back to a larger fear of the uncertainty of my future. I’m at a unique stage in my life where every life decision I make has drastic repercussions down the road. Where I live. Who I’m with. Where I work. My profession. If I go back to school. Shit, even what I fucking eat. I can’t do anything without there being some major ripple effect on my life in 15-20 years.

When I reach middle age will I regret the decisions I’ve made? Will I wish I had done things differently? I don’t fucking know.

And that’s what’s fucking killing me right now. Not knowing.

On Travel and Looking Forward

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

The past few months have felt like a real drag at times. Between switching jobs, renovating an entire house, and building a new relationship, I’ve been feeling really tired and worn down.  That isn’t to say that I’m not ungrateful. I have a great career, a house I never dreamed I’d have before 35, and a partner who is down to earth and loving.

Some days are easier than others. But lately I’ve had trouble sleeping at night which worries me. I was up until 3 AM last night. It’s almost never a particular incident that keeps me awake. It’s like as soon as I lay down and turn out the light my mind starts to amplify all of the fears that I can drown out during the day. It’s getting tiring.

At any rate, I’ve been making it a point to look forward and do my best to let go of the past. As a part of that general effort I’ve started planning summer 2015’s road trip. I’m thinking about taking off two weeks in July so I can spend my birthday somewhere interesting. One of the best parts about not going to Ohio for the holidays is that I can save all of my vacation time for interesting trips like this. I’m not sure how my new company will handle it, but I’m assuming (hoping) that a couple weeks in the summer will be okay.

So this year I wanted to hit up a lot of places I’ve never been before. My route will be one way from North Carolina to Seattle(I’m renting a car). Of course I’ll be stopping in Colorado. Katie’s never been and it’s quite possibly my favorite place on this planet. After Colorado we’re going to head north and hit up places neither of us have ever been to. Gran Teton National Park, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park are three of the spots we must visit. My uncle has a condo near downtown Seattle so I’m hoping he’ll let us stay there for a few days. Then we can just catch a flight back to RDU from Seattle. That’s the tentative plan, at least.

I really need this road trip. I’m getting very antsy and I feel like I’m starting to grow bitter toward North Carolina. Which isn’t fair. North Carolina is a beautiful state with a lot to do. I now work for a great company with plenty of opportunities for career growth. Taking this job was basically my way of committing myself to North Carolina for at least the next couple years. And I’m totally okay with that. I need to learn to love the skies I’m under and quit day dreaming about some mecca that doesn’t exist. And after a little while gaining what I can from my current position there’s always the possibility of moving to another one of my company’s locations. I’m not stuck in North Carolina forever. I might as well enjoy it while I can and make the most of it while I’m here.

Besides, North Carolina isn’t entirely terrible. For instance, it’s December 15th and I’m typing this blog on my back porch as the sun sets through the lolbolly pine trees.

Here’s to hoping I return next time with a better state of mind.

-Eric

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