Monday, January 18, 2016

I'm Back

It's true. I'm back. I just flew in from a week in Canada, but that's not what this is about.

I'm back on the boat. At the time of this writing I'm gliding across a calm San Pablo Bay that's swollen with rain run off and associated debris from a recent storm. It's a comfortable place for me. But that's not what this is about.

I'm heading back to work on the boats. After four months as a line cook, I decided that the pace was too frenetic, the work environment too frustrating and the money not adequately enough to continue. I was losing about $100 a week working there. So I'm back on the ferry, where my communion with nature is accompanied by the low rumble of a boats engine. But that's not what this is about.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a big shopper. I like to get by with what I have on hand. But I realized that maybe I'd gone too far with this line of thought. I decided that it's ok to have a few things I enjoy and want, that go beyond just meeting my most basic needs. Armed with a strong American dollar and an exceptionally favorable exchange rate, I decided to do a little shopping in Canada. I bought things I'd been putting off for some time, and a small pile of second hand clothes that actually have color and personality. Once I unpack these finds and hang them in my closet, the primary color in my closet will no longer be black.

As I tried these new to me garments on, I saw a side of my personality I hadn't seen in quite some time. I remembered, how truly vivacious I once was, and how that joi de vie was also reflected in my clothes. And that's when I realized, I'm back. I've come out on the other side of a very dark place to a place where I can hope, and love, and dream of life's possibilities. I've arrived at a place where I'm comfortable and feel love and respect on a regular basis. I'm back. I'm back to being me, not a lost soul trying to survive turmoil, adversity, drama and unnecessary struggles. For me, right now at least, life is not that hard. I'm lucky to have love, and support and security and kindness in my life. I'm back, to a place I want to be. It's not perfect. There are holes, but overall, life is good, and I'm happy to be here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Communication Age

In a lot of ways, I think I knew this was coming. 

Communication has almost always been a passion for me. I wanted an easier way to write, and we got word processors. I wanted to be able to reach out to people, we got email. Social media feigns connectedness but also provides a platform for us to share real thoughts and considerations about the news of the day. Yes, this is a bit of a love affair between myself and technology.

What can I say. I enjoy a world where I can randomly chat with a friend online where we come up with schemes that involve more people with our shared interest. I like that when I talk to a business person on the phone, I can pull up an email to reference a previous conversation or find something as simple as a phone number, by just tapping a screen. It's as though all the abilities for accessing information I ever wished for are now at full and evolving fruition. How lucky are we?

I realize, that maybe this accolade is over the top, but I remember the time before we had such things. I remember manual typewriters and the coveted erasable typing paper. I remember phone books and yellow pages, and when day planners were the cutting edge of organization. I remember Xerox copied flyers, appointment books, Rolodex, and doing things in triplicate. Those things were real to me. 

And now we have electronic signatures, PayPal, PDF, and countless mobile apps to help us do all the things we use to do manually. We pay bills, order goods, plan our lives via screen and tactile input. It's a long way we've come in a short time. This new, ever evolving norm has changed how we do business, how we connect, how we respond to one another.

 It's also changed how we understand. And with so many words and messages flying back and forth through air and across wires, they start to lose meaning, and we start to lose understanding of the power of words and images, and the greater story that's told. What are we as a people if we cannot rely upon our own stories? It's the new quandary of our age.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Alternative to What?

So apparently I live an alternative lifestyle. I had no clue. I just kinda do me.

So, yeah, I don't have a regular 9 to 5 type of gig, and occasionally step outside my box to try something new, like cooking, but I do work, a lot. I just decided not to let my job define me. I like trying new things, and have a great safety net job that allows me to do just that.  I appreciate the freedom my work choices give me. What's so alternative about making decisions based on having a good life? I'd rather live a good life, that's interesting, comfortable, and adventuresome.

And, I don't live in an alternative space such as a wharehouse or a tiny home, but my childhood home has been gradually converted to reflect the lives of the Morales girls. We use power tools to make the space work for us, and I admittedly have grandiose plans for the kitchen and back yard. Chickens will be a thing this year. So looking forward to fresh eggs.

Like many Americans, I buy things on Amazon, but admit, that retail is not my first choice for most purchases. In general, I keep a thrift store list for durable goods, and do my best to make due with what I have on hand. And in truth, the things I get on Amazon are usually purchased there to avoid going to malls or shopping centers. But it's all part of a frugality regiment. I like saving money, and would rather have savings than expensive things. Is that so strange?

And, I like to eat good food, which translates into making a majority of my food from scratch. Processed stuff makes me sick, and it's cheaper and healthier to make your own. I still buy bread, but am looking to buy loaf pans for sandwhich bread. Also, having worked in kitchens from time to time, I know how easy it can be. Eating well is essential to well being from my perspective.

It's true, my life is not status quo. My goals are different than the standard American Dream. I've curated a vision of the life I want, and slowly but surely I am achieving it. I don't want all the things. I don't want status. I don't want bling. I don't want more debt.

I do want to live well, have as little stress as possible, go on adventures, spend time with loved ones, and to not spend my later years wishing I had I done more. If this is an alternative lifestyle, so be it. The other options just aren't that appealing to me.