Monday, November 30, 2009

The Journey Back

A few pictures from my trip in the U-Haul from Boise to San Diego:

My ornamental cabbages get a very pleasing pattern of frost on them in the mornings now. I hope whoever is in the house next spring enjoys all the bulbs I planted. They'll have purple and blue crocuses in the back yard, huge yellow daffodils along the front of the house, and purple and white tulips and irises in the front planter.

The scenery between Boise and Salt Lake City is rather bleak and flat. But there is a certain beauty to it, especially near the end of the day.

Ye Olde ATM
We were amused by this cash machine out in the middle of nowhere, far away even from the convenience store that presumably owns it.

Dad Sketch
My dad on the computer in the hotel room in Las Vegas.  He found ways to keep us connected all along the way.  Laptop computer, wifi internet, iPhone, iPod, digital camera... we had it all.  Too bad the computer couldn't provide cruise control for the truck!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Paradise Lost

When I was planning my escape to Idaho, I had a feeling that some things would become clear to me that I couldn't yet see through the haze of all the work and commitments I had in L.A.  I was excited to find out what I would discover about myself and what it would mean for my future.

Unfortunately, such discoveries are not always pleasant.  Stepping back and looking at my life through clear eyes showed me something I did not want to see, and led me to a path I never intended to take.  There were warning signs before we left L.A., some subtle and some overt, but the excitement of leaving, combined with the emotional toll of saying good-bye to my cherished friends and activities, clouded my vision.

Being far away from friends and family and unencumbered by a regular job put my personal relationship in the spotlight.  We cared deeply about each other and we were both committed to making the relationship work, but we had some recurring issues.  Ultimately I discovered, unfortunately, that there was no acceptable middle ground.  Our differences were fundamental and substantial.  No amount of wishing or trying could take away the underlying fact that we were not right for each other.

After arriving at that realization, I took a couple of trips that I already had planned, visiting friends and family in Salt Lake City and checking out Portland, Oregon as a possible place to land.  Then I flew to San Diego to be in the comfort of my parents' home for a bit, while I contemplate my next move.

When I started my blog, "Escaping Paradise" was an ironic statement.  I was declaring my rejection of the characteristics that people seem to seek out in Southern California: the endless summer, the party atmosphere, the paparazzi. All these are things that I don't value.  I felt that I could find my own paradise somewhere else, away from the distractions of L.A.  But now I feel like I've accidentally escaped every aspect of paradise, and find myself instead in a very uncomfortable limbo.

I'm not saying that I regret going to Idaho.  For one thing, I'm still too close to it all to hope for any objectivity on the subject.  But I also see that life only moves in one direction, and whatever steps I took in the past have led me to where I am now.  I'm happy to be myself and to be alive here and now, so I have to accept and appreciate the events that carried me here.

When I was in Portland, I spent a contemplative hour or two in the Japanese Gardens.  One of my favorite parts of the gardens was the zigzag path.

I enjoyed following the path along its twisty way, turning a full 90 degrees at each new corner I encountered.  I realized that it would be good to appreciate my life right now in the same way.  I want everything to be straight and clear, to know my destination and see the way to get there.  But if that's not the way it's going to be, why not regard the turns and changes of direction as a fun, scenic path?

And so I round this corner, a sharp 90-degree turn to the right, and look at things from a new perspective... again.  I'm sure there will be another discovery waiting for me, just around the bend.