Doldrums

I have recently finished graduate school, and as a 42 year old male with the mind of someone in their mid twenties, it is time to pick up some new activities to occupy the void created by ditching the text books for good.  When my evenings were once occupied with reading, writing and posting on collaborative sites, they are now very quiet and unproductive.  Often times I go hours without saying a word.

Since graduating about a month ago, I seem to have been in some sort of honeymoon like state of mind where I simply enjoyed not doing anything for hours on end.  Well, the honeymoon is over baby and I need to get back to doing the things that I enjoy and address that creative itch.  It is now time to write more even though I am not the most eloquent writer.  Having been a career military officer, I tout myself as being a master of saying a lot with very little.  It is time to get out with my camera, which cost me several times more than my first car.  Play golf, mountain bike, hike, draw, camp, visit museums and the list goes on….

One potential “project” that I would like to do is write a story that goes on for some length.  If I bound it, I would call it a book.  If I drew a few stick figures in it, then a graphic novel.  Nonetheless, I have a story idea and I would like to tell it.  If I were to tell you that the idea came to me in a dream, it would not be entirely a lie.  I don’t quite remember the exact content of the dream, but the name of the character and his image have stuck with me while the story has continued to develop over the last few years.

 So maybe, just maybe, I will use this as a place to post some snippets while I continue to formulate a way to tell the story of Nello Calabash!

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Quiet

Aside

The last eight months have been a little bit of an adventure for me.  Two years ago, I never would have envisioned that my employment would take me 600 miles away from my family.  Fortunately for me, we are in an age where information technology and relatively inexpensive air travel allow me to be with my family on weekends.  What sort of freedoms does this afford me?  It frees me up to be the guy who is the first one in the office, not because I want to, but merely for parking reasons.  It allows me to focus on graduate school, which feels like it is getting easier as I get closer to completing it.  Lastly, and most importantly, it makes me really appreciate what I have back at home.  The time that I am able to spend with my family is now true quality time and I soak it up like a sponge.  The one thing I miss the most is having the ability to socialize and cook in the kitchen with them.

EggSpuds

The weekends that I do not travel home, allow me to have a little bit of untethered freedom.  I can be spontaneous and head out on my own adventures, get on my bicycle, take a train into the city, pack my tent and sleeping bag, throw my camera over my shoulder, and just do what I please.  Where am I going with this?  It ties in with an audio book that I listened to last week during my 600 mile drive from home.  It is called Quiet, the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.  Susan Cain did a fantastic job collecting and presenting scientific and social data on the often overlooked importance of introverts in the world.

Since I have always considered myself somewhat of an introvert, not in the sit in a dark basement and shy away from the world sort of way, Quiet provided a lot of introspection about me.  I enjoy my “me” time, but I also enjoy spending time with my family and close friends.  Susan’s studies point to the fact that most of the great inventors, artists, writers and musicians were introverts, able to sit for long periods of time and focus on their craft.  So to my fellow introverts, continue to speak up in your own way and don’t give in to a world that seems to encourage extroversion.

The Art of Doing

I generally categorize people into two categories:  doers and don’t doers.

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The definitions are quite simple, and believe it or not, I have defined these without consulting Websters, Dictionary.com or any other reference for that matter.  A doer is one who does, and a don’t doer is one who doesn’t.  Now this isn’t going to make me a Nobeloriate or win me any ribbons at the county fair, but it allows me to easily categorize people I am in contact with on a daily basis.  Me, I am a doer!

 

Take today for example.  I am a geographic bachelor, meaning my lovely wife and kick ass children live in a different state than which I work.  We have been at this as a team for about seven months and it hasn’t reached the point of being terrible.  I think it is actually more difficult for me since I have left my network of family and friends to spend the week grinding away in our nation’s capital.  The reason it is important for this background is that I have found myself having a tremendous amount of free time on weekends when I don’t commute home.  It is like being single again, without having to worry about dating.  I only have to make sure I am fed, clean and occupied.  This is where the fact that I am a doer comes in and the ability to be spontaneous.

 

Today is Sunday.  On a whim, I decided that I wanted to sleep in and enjoy my morning, knowing that I had a thing or two I needed to get done.  Those that know me, know my idea of sleeping in is usually around 7 am.  Let me tell you, today was no different.  Me, being the doer that I am, had the apartment cleaned, my laundry done and made the grocery run by 9:30 am.  Now I had the entire day to fill with the things that a doer would do.  I had contemplated taking a drive to the coast, but the near freezing temperatures swayed that decision.  I thought about heading towards the mountains but only for a brief second.  I finally decided to grab my camera and head towards the museums and monuments of Washington DC.  Spontaneity took over and I found myself at an NHL hockey game and taking pictures of the Metro.Image

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 Days like today make me glad that I am a doer and not a don’t doer.  The idea of being spontaneous and acting on a whim is scary to a lot of people, but for the doers out there, I think it provides sort of a natural high.  The don’t doers, are perfectly content not doing, and I am totally accepting of that.  All I know is I will always be a doer with very little regret.

Hamming It Up!

There are few things in the world that bring me more pleasure than hanging out with my children.  They are getting to the ages where they think they want to become adults, but are able to act like kids when convenient.  On the contrary, I am getting tired of being an adult and want to act like a kid as much as possible.  Image

On occasion, my kids are even fun to photograph!

I am complex creature!

WolfGapPano

I have never claimed to be a simple man.  On the contrary, I often find that my mind is awash with hair brained ideas, get rich quick dreams, adventures that I long to undertake and what if scenarios that are more far fetched than a reinterpretation of the Mayan calendar.  So to put me in the category of having a one-track mind could not be an farther from the truth.

I prime example of this is that last year I was asked by my daughter to give a presentation to her 5th grade class on one of my passions.  She asked me before the Christmas holidays.  My initial thought was that this would be a walk in the park.  I could pick my passion, knock out a little presentation, and boom!  Done.  In April, I was still trying to figure out what my passion was.  I had heard about the dad who collects art.  The other dad who loves to compete in triathlons.  For me, this began to reach the point of becoming overwhelming and causing me to lay awake at night.

I knew that I didn’t want to be the only dad that let their daughter down.  I also knew that I had to come up with something quickly and so overwhelming that it would knock the socks off of the kids.  So I began to stew in total secrecy.  I set a date to give my presentation in an extreme effort to kick my creative juices into high gear.

So began the process in which I began working in my secret workshop known as my head.  After several days of making lists of things I am passionate about and staring them down as if they were gunfighters at the O.K. Corral, I was not able to whittle the list down to a single one.  Then it hit me almost as quickly as I would say yes on prom night.

I don’t have a passion, I have many!

That was one of those moments in life where all seemed right in the world and nothing could knock me off my pedestal of granite, carmel syrup, oreo cookies and a squirrel named Lefty.

So it became my goal to set myself apart from all of the other one passion peeps and convey to the little impressionable future doctors, lawyers and janitors that it is perfectly all right to not have a passion.  In fact, it is better to have more than one and to keep trying new things because the one thing you don’t try, me be a passion missed.  I think I ended up presenting a list of well over a dozen things I am passionate about of which most fell upon deaf ears.  In the end, that was quite alright with me because this became more about a journey of self discovery than telling a bunch of pre-pubescent kids that photography, cooking, sports and driving fast will get you laid later in life.

In the end, I will take this complex creature any day over a more simple model!