Tag Archives: tahoe

People, Places, Things

27 Oct

PerfectI’ve been thinking about the environment I want to live in this week; moving to Spokane has made me aware of how important my living environment is, beyond my immediate home.

During my last trip home to rural Michigan I saw deer, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, possums, porcupines, turtles, turkeys, and hawks.  There are a dozen lakes and two rivers within ten miles of where I grew up.  My community was small but close-knit.  Even now, years after moving away, I’m still welcomed with genuine affection every time I come back to visit.

When I lived in Tahoe I commuted 40 minutes each way in the winter; it didn’t matter how overworked, tired, or stressed I felt, I always enjoyed that drive.  Who wouldn’t?  I drove past Lake Tahoe, through picturesque mountain towns, and up to the breath-taking Donner Summit to go ski.  All of those gorgeous things were just part of my trip to work, part of my environment.  The people I met were usually interesting; everyone was pursuing some ambition.  My passion for skiing meant I fit in.

My brief stint in Reno was pleasant.  I could see Mt. Rose in the distance (but not too distant) and the Truckee River ran right through downtown.  At night the strip was a blur of neon and tourists.  Between the casinos and the high unemployment, there were a lot of desperate people, but I still felt safe walking alone.  I felt like I could be every part of myself there, without having to explain anything to anyone.

I haven’t found much to appreciate in Spokane.  The fall colors are nice, but that’s temporary.  The people I meet seem far more settled than I want to be.  People my age are married and own houses.  Good or bad, they have careers.  No one seems to be trying anything new, or deviating from the American dream if they can help it.  My wanderlust makes me an oddity, so I’ve stopped sharing much personal information.  I don’t belong here.

I think I have a lot to learn about the type of environment I want to live in.  I don’t think it’s the geography that matters (as long as I can ski), or the population density.  Instead, I think I want to live somewhere where there are interesting, ambitious people.  People who are eager to try new things, who like to experiment.  The people I surround myself with change my core story.

I plan to move  to Los Angeles this spring.  I’ve never lived anywhere like it, and I’m very interested to learn how I feel about that environment.  Will I find it challenging and stimulating?  Or will it feel too busy and overwhelming?  What will I learn there?

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What makes an environment home for you?  Is it the people?  Is the setting enough?  Do you consider other things entirely?

The Catalyst for Change

7 Oct

Three years ago I arrived in Truckee, California.  Several days earlier I’d left Michigan, where I’d lived my entire life, and drove out there via the scenic route.  At that time, all I knew was that I needed a change.  I didn’t know what I needed and I certainly didn’t know how I was going to do it, but moving across the country seemed like a good first step.

It was.  Sure, moving across the country in a reliable car, without having to borrow money, or at least having a job waiting would have been a better first step, but I was able to make progress without getting caught up in perfection.

Moving did not solve my problems, but it did show me which problems were caused by my circumstances and which problems were caused by me.  Moving did change my circumstances and it showed me that I can do big, life-changing things pretty much any time I want to, if I just take that first leap.

I made my first step toward change because I was incredibly unhappy and didn’t know how to help myself; all I could do was something drastic.  Is it like that for everyone?  Is change usually brought on by duress?  What happens when things get better — do you keep trying to change or do you become satisfied?

I guess the short version of what I’m asking is what’s your catalyst for change?

Wonderful Spokane?

30 Jul
Spokane river as it flows passed Canada Island...

Image via Wikipedia

I just read through all of my Reverb10 posts.  A few of them are still very relevant, perhaps even more so now than ever.  Moving to Spokane, away from the awe-inspiring Sierra Nevadas, has decreased my sense of wonder dramatically.  To be honest, I routinely hate it here.  It’s a nice place, with nice people, and I’m getting that Biggest Little City in the World vibe (without the vice) that I so enjoy.  Unfortunately there’s nothing here that just takes my breath away the way Tahoe did.

I’m not sure Spokane is the place to capture the thrill of living, but I’m here for the next year.  I think the best way to embrace the situation is to spend time working on me and to experience a sense of wonder in my own accomplishments.  Maybe I need to be here so I can change my core story.

One thing that will help, is to take more risks.  I need to push myself in new ways, and I can’t let habit and security hold me back.  Living in Spokane is one of the safest choices I could have made; now I need to create my own adventures.

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After the thrill of living is gone?

5 Dec

Reverb10: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffery Davis)

This prompt is difficult for me to answer because I don’t really make an effort to cultivate a sense of wonder, I just have one.  Every time I catch a glimpse of the mountains surrounding me I experience wonder.  Or when I read a fantastic bit of fiction, or when I notice how much my friends’ children have changed, or when I manage to catch a glimpse of nearly anything out of my mundane.

Every time I hear that John Mellencamp song, “Jack and Diane,” I dwell on these lines:

“Say uh, oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
Say uh, oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone. They walk on.”

After the thrill of living is gone?  When does that happen?  How?  I’m 26, and I’m still excited about seeing toads.  (On my last visit home to Michigan I found one as I was crossing the street.  One of the joys of being from a small town is the ability to be the jackass chasing a toad down the street in the middle of the night without having to worry about disrupting traffic.  When I caught it I brought it to Georgia, who also feels that sense of wonder, we admired it for a few minutes while it stared at us resentfully, and then released it.)

I guess I cultivated a sense of wonder in my life by living it.

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