Sunday, September 5, 2010
Life Lessons Learned In The Valley of the Sun
So here I am. Sitting on my roof. At midnight. Watching a full moon set over the mountain. Drinking a PBR. And chewing Copenhagen. Wearing $130 yoga pants. Tying on a MacBook Pro. The eternal walking contradiction.
And I’m thinking that I’ve learned a few things in the Valley of the Sun. And that I’m going to miss this place.
I’ve learned what I want in a place. And a person. And life. I went on a hike today (go figure) and sitting in a glaciated valley, on the shore of a Forest Service Jeep turquoise alpine lake, with pristine pines and grumpy rock outcroppings surrounding me, I felt home. Finally. I never thought I’d be able to get out of small-town Ohio and do this. I didn’t think I had it in me to say fuck you to the path that had been preordained for me from birth. But I did. And here I am. I have learned, this summer in particular, that I want authenticity, and honesty, and happiness, and love. And that I no idea what those words mean. Nor do I put much trust in words. As one who deals in words, I know how shifty they can be. But At least I know that I want a clear blue sky, and a cold beer, and someone to hold me at night, and a friend’s shoulder to cry on, and a buddy to laugh with. And to make a difference to someone.
I learned that no one can be trusted. But that everyone should be loved. My mom raised me to believe in the good within everyone. And I took that to heart. I have this pernicious tendency to fall madly in love with everyone I meet. A lot like Maverick. Maybe that’s why he and I get along so well. But I digress. And through several dead ends. And a couple of ugly situations. And one new chance. I’ve learned that while everyone should be loved, not everyone should be immediately and inextricably fallen in love with. Jumping head first off a cliff is a lot of fun. Jumping head first off the cliff of in-love is also a lot of fun. And really dangerous. I’ve learned to take it slow. Give it a chance. And ride the ride for all its worth.
I learned who the good people are. They are the one who rescue you in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a fight. They are the one who listen to you sob about issues that have nothing to do with them but that you just needed to tell to someone. And keep it a secret. They are the ones who don’t judge you through each new “I-swear-this-is-the-One” guy you meet. They are the ones who teach you to fish while drinking red wine. They are the ones who drink beer on the roof with you. They are the ones who cry with you in 101. They are the ones who jump naked into an alpine lake with you just because. They are the ones who don’t take bullshit. And give you lots of bullshit. And call you out on your bullshit. And love you anyway. They are the ones turn out not to be snakes.
I learned that I can’t settle down. And there’s always the naysayers who say that you have to. Or that you will someday. Or that you’ll grow out of it. Or that it’s just a phase. Or that back when they were my age (whether that was two years ago or fifty years ago) they did the same thing. And I’d like to know when this magical time is that I’m expected to settle down with a husband, 2.5 children, a Golden Retriever and a respectable house. When I settle down it’s going to be on my terms, like everything else I do. It’ll be with a man who has the wanderlust as much as me. And wants rippin’ skier, mountain babies. And with a cabin in the mountains, a house on the beach and an apartment in Johannesburg. And somehow I’ll get there. By taking the roundabout, crazy-winding, tangential, long-way-around path that I always take. Sorry Dad, I know that kills you. But I promise I’ll be alright.
But as usual in my life, it’s time to get going. And time to move on. Because there’s a too vast world out there. Vaulting us on to the next great venture beneath the skies. And that’s why my car is always stuffed full of shit in the trunk. I’ve always got hiking shoes. And a yoga mat. A wine key. And high heels. A sleeping bag and a backpack. Sweat pants. And shorts. And a map. And I’m always ready to pick up a leave when things get too heavy, or too boring, or too dull. Or when the wanderlust bites me and tells me it’s time to go and see what’s over the next rise and around the next bend. And I’ll miss the old places and the old people like hell. And they’ll always have a place in my heart. But what I’ve really learned is that I will find those people and those places everywhere. Because everyone has a little bit of everything in them. And everyone is worth knowing. And worth loving. And I’ve got lots of places to see. And beers to drink. And strange foods to eat. And people to love. And leave. And meet again at the end of this crazy journey we call life.
I love you all. Good luck out there.