The exhaustion this last year's imbued me with finally began petering out in late November.
I've been working a lot—many seven-day weeks, many fourteen-hour days, many of those unpaid. I've been disillusioned—witnessed [and, occasionally, been the target of] misaimed explosions of entitlement, manipulation, and even abuse from individuals I'd formerly admired. My mind, body, sanity, and finances have all taken some gnarly blows.
I'm not ready to dunk into those memories and convert my findings into a blog post yet, and it's possible I'll never feel inclined to do so. For now, suffice it to say that I've been learning, and relearning, and relearning.
The upsides of last spring-summer-fall have been great, too, albeit largely retrospective. I've been challenged in completely unfamiliar ways, tapped into new skills and interests, improved my communication skills, learned not suffer for my sense of "justice", and climbed out of some pretty ugly messes somehow better off than I'd been before falling into them.
And so on.
Suddenly, my time is open again, my lifestyle lacking any sort of built-in structure or routine—how my days are spent and how I judge whether I'm spending them well is up entirely to my own whims, values, and self-discipline. But right now I have no close deadlines and no one I'm reporting to.
It's freeing, but also dangerous, especially when I'm recovering from a year's worth of wounds, subservience, and sleep debt, all of which might conspire to render me functionally inert.
Bee-lining from Arcata to the Nevada border, I originally intended to spend about five days in Reno, then about five more in the Bay Area, give or take, to tie up loose ends and decompress in two of the places that have vied for the title "Home" on my heart's compass. I hadn't saved nearly as much money as I'd hoped to over a year of radical frugality, so I was in a hurry to get to New Mexico.
Well, that didn't exactly happen. My car decided to freak out and sit pouting in an auto-shop lot for almost two weeks in Reno. Meanwhile, I grew more attached than ever to the idiosyncrasies of one of the most underrated cities in America and of my favorite people in it.
Of course, that's what makes it a trap. My car broke down and took two weeks [and almost two grand that I didn't have] to fix. Meanwhile, I ran around amidst desert hot springs and trees full of horned owl chicks, got treated to all-you-can-eat sushi [which, at $15-25 a head, is fresher and better than any mid-range-to-expensive sushi I've ever had in the Bay—no one ever believes this, including myself from a couple years ago, until they come to Reno and are taken to precisely the right sushi spots by a local, but it's true], had a fantastic goodbye party thrown together at the last second, which got such a good turn-out that I started feeling a bit too ooey-gooey to want to leave.
Similarly, the Bay found me entangling with all the local goings-on. Visited my family and helped them decommoditize [i.e., threw away years and years of crap accumulated in the name of nostalgia—a habit that runs in my family that I've painfully had to break out of, because a nomadic lifestyle does not support hoarding memorabilia], and further prepared for my bike trip by learning some basic repairs at home from my dad, who's a cycling enthusiast. Meanwhile I was paid in chocolate milk for late-night rescue missions; was adopted by gaggles of gregarious gay men in bars on the Castro who stole me from the friends I'd come with; went on my biggest bike ride yet, with a climb that was brutally humbling [the better to kickstart my motivation for the coming months]; ate a giant penis macaroon courtesy of Hot Cookie SF; got free front-row tickets to "Margaret", a concert by Jason Webley and a bunch of amazing musicians revolving around a scrapbook one of them had found in a dumpster; underground warehouse venues; watched nature documentaries; studied French; had unexpected and delightful run-ins with out-of-town friends.
I have no regrets, but my leeway to decompress is narrowing fast.
Hitting the road for one more detour: Christmas in Gerlach [missed peak season, and there's no sense in trying to move or get a job on Christmas or Christmas Eve], and then beelining it to Santa Fe, now eager to buckle down and get to work after a few extra weeks of family, friends, getting my life in order, and some good old debauchery.
It'll be later than I'd originally planned—but perhaps not later than I was really meant to arrive. Fingers crossed!