the best years

Childhood is often referred to as the leading candidate for Best Years of One’s Life, though a significant amount of us have different experiences. For better or worse, there are many things a person may get to explore as a kid that will not be accessible once adulthood is reached.

Perhaps the reverse is also true.

In adulthood, I feel that I have slightly more autonomy, even if there are still feelings of helplessness. Peeling off the layers of adulthood has been a challenging experience, and in my early thirties, and I am only just starting to suspect that I might have the hang of it.

20160617_095140
June 2016, the day before graduation. Seattle.

I have not updated this blog in over a year. In that year plus, the following events have occurred:

  • [Summer 2015] I worked two full-time jobs, and took on an independent study at my college.
  • [Fall 2015] The mobile game studio I’d been employed with for 4 years closed. After 9 years in the industry, I decided that would be my last job in games. I took the first part-time job I could find, with the goal of finishing college in mind.
  • [Winter 2015/16] I am granted early admission to my first choice university.
  • [Spring 2016] I graduate college.
  • [Summer 2016] I scramble like mad to ensure my place at the university.

During this time, I pushed myself to a great number of limits. A lot of them made me cry from a combination of exhaustion, frustration, and depression, but I managed to make it through. Full-time studies can be incredibly isolating, especially when living near the centre of a larger city.

IMG_3573
March 2016. Montreal. Photo by Marisa Parisella.

I have had to ask myself a few times why I pushed so hard. I came to a couple of conclusions:

  • I did not think I would live beyond age 30. When I turned 31 last summer, I arrived at what one might call an ‘oh shit’ moment. ‘Oh shit, I’m not dead after all. What do I do?’ I made some plans, and pledged to revisit my progress every so often, so long as I wasn’t dead.
  • I gained a bit more faith in myself and my abilities. I doubt this would have been possible without the support system I have in place, composed of chosen family and friends.

I turn 32 tomorrow. I tend to think about how things are going in life the most around birthdays, and each new year.

I am a late bloomer in several ways, so perhaps it makes sense that my thirty-first year felt like one of the best years of my life.

Untitledxx
July 2016. San Diego.

I learned incredible lessons on and off campus. Some days were hellish and unforgiving, but others were filled with laughter and gratitude. Overall, I found methods to keep myself motivated, and outlets in which to kvetch. It is my belief that in this life, both are very important.

If there’s any gift I could think to give to the childhood version of myself, it’s to keep working hard to make things better for the version of myself that remains, and for those I love, for as long as I can.

I’ve dwelled on it long enough, and I can finally say that it’s OK that I didn’t have a particularly fantastic childhood. The best years aren’t always on time.

Advertisements

Seattle, I’ll not stand idle

I’ve been in Seattle 4 years officially now. The time has been… bittersweet.

marketscene

Yes, it’s a beautiful city and region. That cannot be denied. The state of Washington and the Northwest in general offers treats for the eyes that are absolutely unparalleled. There are a number of people that are genuinely nice, motivated, and a delight to be around.

It can take time to find these people.

 

 

I can count on at least two hands the number of times I’ve been told “go back to LA!” or something similar aggressively (or maybe even passive-aggressively in places I cannot access), because I said something about Seattle that someone on the internet didn’t like. Even offline it’s prickly.

You know what, though? I’m not going back to LA. And I’m not going to stop loving this city with a critical eye.

blasted

 

That’s what you do when you care for something — you spend time, money and effort. You pay attention. You call shit out. You think of ways to make things better. You remain steadfast.

 

 

Make no mistake about me. I want to work hard and live well and vote often and pay taxes that I know are somewhat going to the betterment of my surroundings. I want to learn, and to grow.

I understand that there are many people who’ve been in this area much longer than I, especially since I am not quite 30 years old and had to fight my way up here. However, that does not entitle natives or longer-term residents to bully me into silence when I say something that isn’t popular to dislike about this region, or commonly gets ignored in favour of other points on an agenda.

If I wanted to be purely antagonistic, I could step up to the stage, say I don’t care for Nirvana, drop the mic and be done with it. But that’s silly, because there are plenty of people who like the band and the culture surrounding it, which makes sense because this is grunge city and all.

Wisdom consists in not rocking the boat when there’s nothing to be learned or gained from it, so I don’t push that button.

surrealshell

You may be asking yourself what I find so contrary about this place. Well, there’s a separate post for that which may come later.

For now, I am using this space to reflect on how far I’ve come, and to acknowledge that Seattle, for all its shortcomings (as you’ll find that no place is perfect), has helped me immensely.

my heart isn’t ready

It’s been a fortnight.

I realised that I had been mourning my relationship before it even officially ended, ignoring verbal protests. When our summer travelling ceased, there were no longer any distractions from facing the rifts that ripped open the very core of what we once meant to each other.

April ’12, Seattle, Washington – photo by Kayleigh


Anchor wasn’t a simpleton. The very act of saying “I don’t think it’s a good idea to continue this relationship” didn’t shock him in any way that I’m aware of; all it yielded was a shrug and a murmur. I also happen to be terribly expressive without talking. I don’t pretend to know or speak for him, but perhaps he had been mourning something too.

The interactions to follow grew tense on both ends, however, and I have made myself scarce.

Food intake and sleep have both been compromised due to going from friend’s place to friend’s place (though I remain grateful for the ability to). I’ve already lost ten pounds.

Looking for a new safe space has proven unsuccessful thus far. I’m not seeking a quick fix solution, but something long-term, sustainable. I still love my job, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I was happy for excuses to think about other things for 8+ hours out of the day.

Three years gone. My second longest relationship. There’s only so long I can feign that I’m infallible, and that I’m stronger than all this bollocks, don’t you think?

A few people have asked, “what happened?” Most of them haven’t bothered asking me anything else when I didn’t offer any sordid details. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

I’m not sure what it is about being single that others pick up on. It could be coincidence, but there have been a good deal of incidents lately to suggest otherwise. It’s been… educational.

I won’t lie. I’ve been known as a serial dater. I’ve gone as long as a year without seeing anyone else, but I’ve also lasted as short as an hour or so. An irresponsible hedonist, if you will. That too could be part of the reason for the surge in aggressive activity towards me.

Over the years, it’s been more difficult to take on that persona, especially while in long-term relationships. No discounting the interactions, but three relationships of mine should’ve been established much later than they were, if at all. Time is absolutely necessary to grieve.

I’m attempting forward movement by letting others know that I honestly can’t be arsed to dabble in romance at present. My heart is too tender and I’d be a pretty crap date.

Getting into something too soon would dishonor the positive time spent previously, and would sully the potential of a new beginning. No one needs that, no matter the attraction. I also have a great deal on my plate to square with that would be best served with me single.

May ’12, Tacoma, Washington

Here’s some advice for interaction offline and on: when and if you see me, don’t treat me any differently than you would before, bearing the previous information in mind.

You can talk to me. I may falter a smidge emotionally for a while, but I’m pretty much okay in general and am parallel with my goals for the immediate future and beyond. That’s all.