Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not waiting to live my life

When I was in college, it was trendy to long for the "real world." As if where we were and what we were experiencing was somehow diminished because we weren't paying rent. After graduation, of course, I quickly realized how naive I'd been. but I fell into the same mental trap in the Navy. On the ship I started planning for the life I'd live once out of the Navy or at least on shore duty. And I began to do the same thing upon arriving here in Texas. I'd regale Lauren with my plans for grad school and a new career. She and I'd discuss where and how we'd live and how it would be so much different and better than now.

And then we got wise. I don't know when we started thinking differently. Perhaps we simply became impatient, but we just started doing the things we wanted to do then, now. In the Navy (and I suspect this is similar in any large organization), it was easy for me to fall into the mode of thinking that I wasn't allowed to do something until I was assigned to do it, which included training and qualification. So, applying that to the rest of my life, I can't race bikes until I'm good enough to join a team, I can't be a writer unless I'm hired as one, and so on.

Then my cycling friends started a team and let me join because I'm a decent person. And within the team I became the rider I'd aspired to be. Now I'm a competitive and contributing member--I push the pace in our club rides, I rack up points for the team and I manage the team's web sites. It's the team role I would have dreamed of had I dared and I'm doing it now, without any qualifications.

After reading Penelope Trunk's Guide to Blogging, which Lauren emailed to me, I decided to make a public blog, seperate from the family one Lauren and I maintain. And now, even though I'm still in the Navy, I'm a writer. It's that simple. I know it's silly, but one of my best friends texted me the other day:
I used to only read the journal and the economist. Now I only read the sidewalk.
I wasn't offended that he forgot to capitalize Sidewalk, I was flattered that my friends actually read my blog. Then, another friend, who I'd travelled around the world with, but haven't heard from in years emails me:
I've been reading your blog, though. Good stuff. But I'm wondering, if deficit spending isn't the answer to the financial crisis, what should the government be doing right now?
And today, another good friend asked me for the URL.

I forgot to mention A-ticket, our 1973 Airstream Land Yacht. Lauren and I can't stop complementing each other on our decision to move into this old girl. It's like a permanent perfect vacation. I love the design, I love the scale, I love every day in this rocketshiphouse. And we didn't wait to get out before we moved in, we just did it. We decided to start living the life we always wanted right now instead of placing obstacles in front of ourselves.

I wake up each day with so much hope and expectation because I can't believe it's this easy to feel so accomplished and be so happy. When we actually do get out of the Navy in less than two months, I have no idea what I'll be doing. A year or so ago this would have bothered me, but a year or so ago I wasn't living the life I'd always dreamed of.