memories

Adventure: Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Adventure is weird and complicated. Like ordering a martini for the first time or Thai food, it’s not easy. It’s sexy, sure. We escape the familiar in favor of the unknown. We leave our friends and family behind. We buy maps (or iPhones) and plot new courses.

My wife and I have only five days left of our six-month stay in California. From here, we’ll pack up and drive to Idaho for a few weeks and then drive, finally, to Rochester, New York, where we’ll settle.

The idea of living in three states in one year sounded fun, initially. A couple of fair-skinned gypsies in a Prius-charriot awaiting adventure—that was us.

All I’ve ever wanted was adventure, and truth be told, I’ve had my fair share.

I’ve back-packed through Ireland; I’ve driven to the Grand Canyon on a whim; I’ve rode through a carwash on a razor scooter… Adventure is in my blood.

Is adventure good for blood?

Fake Adventures

I grew up idolizing movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and The Mummy where characters traveled to the ends of the Earth, or universe, to conduct business. I’d watch TV shows like The X-Files and swoon. The monster-of-the-week storyline, on the search in a new area, fascinated me (and still does).

But it’s all fake. It’s exciting, but truth be told, if I met a new monster every week and I’d be dead by now. I’d be digesting in some mutant’s stomach and that’d be an awkward funeral.

Then there is the whole social media thing. All the fake adventurers. I recently read an article about the “Instagram Envy Effect,” which, really, is just how it sounds. Instagram captures everybody’s good moments, new moments. The rest of us watch and wish we could have those moments. Really, it’s all just fake. We post the interesting moments and leave the rest hidden, like reality TV.

I bring the Instagram article up because social media—as well as movies, music, and books—teach us some falsehoods about adventure. They tell us adventure has no downside. That it’s all just fun all the time and YOLO and pose!!!

Warning: Adventure is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here are some tips to make sure you never, ever have an adventure.

Issue number 1:

You’re basically always packing. I’m not sure how you feel about packing, but I’m not a big fan.

Issue number 2:

Friendships are rare. It’s hard to get close to people when you’re always on the go. It’s not like the comic books where the hero has all the friends. The real-life hero, the traveler, is awkward at parties, unable to connect—not sure if he even wants to.

Issue number 3:

It gets harder and harder to leave. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe the traveler’s heart is just failing to pump like it used to, I don’t know. Maybe a six-month vacation wasn’t a very good idea. All I know, is that it’s getting harder to leave.

My friends, my family, my town. Sometimes, adventure just kind of sucks.

The memories are worth it, and that’s what I’m holding on to, for now.

the gang 043

What are your thoughts on adventure?

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Becoming a Better Friend/Leaving All My Friends

It’s June 5th; this means we have 25 sunny (foggy) days left in California. Time has been flying. I didn’t quite realize how fast it was flying until June 1st came around. Really? It’s June???

It hit me like a pile of time bricks… if that’s a thing…

Five of our six California months have been spent. Geez… In a few days we’ll be flying to Rochester to look for places to stay. When we get back we’ll have another couple weeks here; sooner or later, though, July 1st will roll around and I’ll have to say goodbye to all my California friends and family once more.

July 1st we drive back to Idaho to square up our belongings; sometime in August we’ll make—what I’m dubbing—The Great Drive.

(Confused? About Me is a good place to go to catch up)

Good at Leaving

About four years ago I left California for Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. It was there I met my wife, started school, and got really cold. Originally, I was looking for a change of pace. I used to say, “God called me to Idaho;” truthfully, our signal has never been that strong. I just sort of ended up there.

Every time I leave California, whether it be a weekend visit, six month stay, or major life move, I’m reminded of the friendships I have here. The term friend doesn’t really cut it as much as the term family does.

There’s times where I feel just as connected to Randall, Patrick, Scott, Justin, Timmy, both Aaron Boyds, as I would my own brother or sister. Generally, these people have always been there for me. As I get older, I realize how much I’ve taken them for granted. These goofy, weird people.

Friendships Never Sink

When I was younger I assumed the world existed for my benefit. I thought my friends were suppose to be some sort of accessory—something that benefited me in the way I talked, looked, and spent my time. Consequently, I took way more than I received.

Remember that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon dumps all of her problems on to Kenneth, and then Kenneth goes crazy and needs therapy? I think that’s what I did to the majority of my friends. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they were all in therapy.

That said, I’m trying to be a better friend. I’m trying to be a better person, in general. I’m hoping to give more than I take. This includes listening more than talking, or not turning every conversation into something about me.

My friends have stood by me all these years, despite my selfishness. I hope I will get the opportunity to stand by them someday.

We’re starting to get a little older; responsibilities are starting to pile up. But when we get together, we still laugh as much as ever. We pick up right where we left off and I feel at home.

I guess, what I’m getting at, is that I don’t want to leave my friends again. I know that I’ll have to, but this time it wont be as easy.

Cheezy Friendship Gallery

A few photos, recent and old. I guess I’m being emotional or something.

That One Time the Roof Caved in on Me

Memories from my past bubble to the surface every now and then. At times, they feel larger than life—tall-tale even, like in Big Fish. Since taking Psychology 101 last year, some memories have become suspect.

There’s this one memory I have; the one where the ceiling caves in on me. Until recently, I wasn’t sure it was real. I asked my older brother about it. In the memory, he’s the one who carries me to safety.

Quickly, here’s the memory: 

It’s an old white house in Paso Robles, California. Two stories, maybe, just one. I’m eight years old or so and scared to death of the Daddy Long Leg spiders that inhabit every corner of every room in the house. Everything is dirty and dusty. I hate it here.

“Kevin,” he yells. I wake up. The air is thick with dust and drywall; broken wood is everywhere. In fact, my bed is covered with it. I look over to my brother, standing beside the bed. He’s laughing. “You slept through it,” he says and laughs again.

Everything is confusing; I’m paralyzed with fear and can’t move. The next thing I know, my brother is carrying me out of our room and into the kitchen where everybody is listening to music and eating popsicles.

Party

My early years were quite… different than most. After the parents split up, my dad moved us around a lot. Life got weird. Shady, actually, is a better term.

We were those obnoxious, trashy neighbors. The ones with the loud, late night parties, or fights that ended with clothes on the lawn and the cops being called. That was us.

Sorry neighbors.

“They were partying in the next room,” my brother said. Last year, we reminisced about our childhood and I asked him about this event. “We came out of the room,” he continued, “covered from head to toe in drywall dust. No one knew it happened. I think it was the music that caused the ceiling to fall. The bass.”

“And I slept through it?”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “you slept right through it. I thought you were dead.”

Guardian Angles 

It seems a little self-absorbed to claim this event as a miracle of God. Honestly, I’m really not that important. It could’ve just been dumb luck.

Still though, I think back to the broken wood in and around my bed—some pieces large and quite dangerous. All I know is that the ceiling caved in, one ugly night in Paso Robles, California, and two young boys were spared.

In times like these, I’m reminded that I need to live my life in a worthy way. Not because I survived my childhood or because a ceiling caved in on me, but because I was born at all.

Life is an opportunity and everyday among it a unique gift. Don’t wait for tomorrow or you may just get crushed to death by your own ceiling.

“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”

What are your thoughts? Do you have any good memories from your childhood you suspect are false? What is your response to living life as a gift? 

Beach Body: The Boogie Back-Break Blues

photo

The Pismo Beach Pier

Some of my favorite memories revolve around the ocean.

In high school days, my friend Tim would come over and wake me up at 6am or so. He’d pull me out of bed and we’d drive to Pismo Beach and hit the cold ocean waves.

I was a boogie boarder; surfing was too much of a commitment.

When Megan and I moved back to the area, I knew sooner or later I’d have to face Poseidon.

Beach Body

There are many beaches in San Luis Obispo County. Pismo is famous; Avila is second best and pretty good for boogie boarders. Grover has a lot of people, and Shell is just too rocky. There’s Oceano, but it’s choppy and nobody goes to Oceano.

The less people to embarrass myself in front of the better; I went to Oceano.

First, there is the issue of the wetsuit. If you’ve never put one on before, let me explain. It is the single most difficult thing you will ever do in your life. It’s like putting on someone’s skin who is two sizes smaller than you.

For shy kids like me, Oceano has bathroom stalls to change in. They’re tiny, lightless, and the locks are all broken. The door may or may not have swung wide open with the wetsuit stuck around my ankles.

Boogie Time

531646_309924065803806_274447830_nAfter taming the wetsuit for what seemed like an hour (think Tommy Boy in the airplane bathroom), I met my wife back at the car. “How’d it go?” she asked.

“I think hurt my back.” She laughed. “No seriously,” starting to stretch, “I think pulled a muscle.” She laughed louder. Somehow, yes, I managed to hurt my back while pulling on a wetsuit. A new low. I don’t want to talk about it.

“Well don’t go in the water,” she warned. “It’ll make it worse!” I looked over at the choppy blue surf. She had a point, but I was already here, and my wetsuit was on. It’s not like I’m getting it off anytime soon. If I didn’t do it now, I never would.

So I ran towards the shore. And I ran. With each step, the sand felt colder and the air tasted sweeter. I reached the waters; my feet burned from the cold, and seized my thoughts. Soon my waist was covered, then higher.

So cold. So cold. Don’t think about it.

I cursed myself, the waters that now held my life, Obama, anything I could think of. The first three minutes dragged; I needed to go numb.

Soon, my thoughts became verbal. I started yelling phrases that didn’t make sense. Fart Cough, poop magnet. Cold help Siren Tonk! AHHHHHHH!

A wave slapped my face, and a rush of memories came over my eyes.

Kevin Glasses

the post beach, triumphant Kevin

I saw Tim; we laughed over waves and cursed the cold water together. I watched the sky, from years ago, turn to day as seals broke the surface of the water, right next to me. For an instant, I saw who I was five years ago.

I saw what was important, and what wasn’t.

Reality returned, and happiness came with it. For the first time in my life I was proud of where I came from. More importantly, I was happy with who I became. I was happy with what I’ve chosen to love.

My wife, our future, God’s plan, the ocean.

I caught my first wave. As it did so many years ago, everything made sense.