Though, I feel like that’s what I always say.
And to be fair, there always was. It’s just usually forgotten somewhere along the way and I end up making it up as I go along. Case in point, I STARTED this post about a month ago. At which point I had a plan to write a whole slew of funny things that have been going on. But, I’d forgotten what most of those were and was gently twitching as I imbibed some weird thing me and the Barista collectively decided probably cost about 7 dollars.
That whole plan went exactly as far as the photo. Since that poor beverage choice it’s been one non-stop roller coaster with TODAY, being the first day I have more than an hour to actually sit and write something.
Not saying that’s what I’ll do, but it would be theoretically possible. So, try #2, here we go!
I don’t even remember what I was talking about in my last blog post, but I’m sure it was sad in a self-reflective, vaguely maudlin way. And that’s ok when I’m not busy being excessively extra for all the various hats I’m wearing, or a pot of coffee deep into the reason that LEGO Star Wars is the greatest game ever made (not really, unless I’m nostalgic. But FIGHT ME) I’m usually self-reflective and vaguely maudlin in the car as I drive to new events and adventures.
2ish months ago I was in Philadelphia for a writing conference, AWP 2022. It was 3 days of me being as exuberant and positive as possible and then meandering about Philly afterwards.
When I was a kid I would hear about people going to conferences and in my head there was a bunch of people carrying briefcases meeting in board rooms in inexplicable high rises, making decisions about the integrity of their field. There were many large hand gestures. Everyone was in suits.
It was IMPORTANT
Having now been to several conferences as an adult. I can confirm this is not the case. It seems to be a giant party in which everyone is determined to see everyone else and have at least one drink with that person. Also, people seem to forget, quite often, that there is a conference actually going on. There are meetings, somewhere, but I never see them and I tend to just be in the press of people chatting and talking while I mention the booth I’m tabling for and nod beatifically to the most current writing strategy being espoused. Additionally, I wrote a sorta-story in the middle of all of that. Not a good one, but it was aggressively decent.
Like many things I seem to do, it was a whirlwind of chaos, amazing books, and incredible people, and then I found myself on the 4am plane home wondering how exactly it came to be Sunday already.
And that idea, RIGHT there. Is the one that keeps sticking with me.
How did it come to be the time and place it already is?
It’s continually happening. There seem to be major events that require my presence with alarming frequency. It’s an honor and I’m thrilled to be there. But, I’m also wondering how I even got to this point in the first place.
Perfect example – this past weekend I was in Columbus, Ohio for a wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, a fun trip away, and absolutely amazing.
I was there with my absolutely amazing partner and we were having a phenomenal time and I realized we’ve been together almost two years (if I squint a little). When did that happen?
Hell, it feels like I just moved to Milwaukee from Madison a few months ago, but also several lifetimes. It feels like we’ve been together forever, but we’re only coming up on two years. I used to only dress in cargo pants and sandals, and now I can rock a three-piece.
When did all of this life suddenly sneak up and surprise me?
Fast forward to about 20 hours from that photo – I’m in Wausau, WI receiving my 6th-degree blackbelt from Grandmaster Likes. It’s an honor, but I was up there with martial artists I’ve been looking up to since I was 11. I was, and still am, absolutely floored about how I got to this point. I’m still the kid that wanders around the country competing and now I’m a 6th degree. Also, now that I’m all fancy, what exactly am I supposed to do?
The short version is. “I don’t know.”
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next, or what the best next move should be. All I DO know is there are a whole lot of goals out there that I still want to achieve, and I don’t feel any closer to achieving them than I did 10 years ago. Heck, that’s what a lof of the posts in this blog are about. A feeling of being stuck.
But, then something happens – a wedding photo, a phone call, a random comment on FaceBook, and I get slapped in the face with the strangest paradigm shift about the impact I have or the role I play.
It’s humbling. And a little terrifying.
And also, oddly comforting the absolute dumpster fire of life plans I seem to have cobbled together is apparently working, albeit not in ways that I would have ever expected.
There WAS a plan. So very long ago, and it’s grown so far beyond its humble beginnings I usually feel like I’m just along for the ride with no idea of where it’s going and frequent desires to get off. But, I think that might be the point of it all. Who DOES know exactly where they’re going? Who on earth wants to have a precise course charted that takes them from birth to dirt and no questioning in-between?
All this to say, I may not know where I’m going, but I do, I think, know where I want to end up. And for now, that’s good enough.