At Least You Know You’re Alive

Crossposted at Question The Rules | | Flickr photo by Behrooz Nobakht

I’ve been going through a rough few weeks but in tough times, you sometimes hear people say “Well, at least you know you’re alive!” and I know exactly what they mean.

Here’s what today was like foe for me; my wife woke me up at a little before 7am because we’re having a moving sale since we have to be out of our house in a week. We tried to move our couch upstairs to sell but we couldn’t do it and gave up, leaving it wedged sideways in our hall.   We did the yard sale, sold the two huge, heavy TV sets (yay!) and the couch (the new owners will figure out how to get it home) and a few smaller things. Now, I’m at Starbucks using their Wifi and I get on a 15 hour train ride to Los Angeles in a couple of hours to teach a visual effects class tomorrow then another 15 hours back to Albuquerque for the final pack up before we go to live in a hotel for an unspecified amount of time.

But at least I know I’m alive!

I’m not stuck in a rut. Every day is a new adventure. It’s a bit stressful but it’s also exciting and I’m making sure to keep it fun and interesting. There’s a lot of drudge work in packing but I’m keeping my eye on the new places we’ll be exploring in about 8 days.

Adventure is a choice. If you aren’t risking anything, you probably have very little to gain. I certainly understand the drive to dig in and hold onto the what you have but I also know that staying in a holding pattern eventually makes you run out of gas.

My Triple Whammy

Flickr photo by Matthieu Luna

I’ve hinted a bit at parts of what I’m about to write but I realized that I haven’t actually laid out the whole thing that’s going on in my life all in one place – so here goes.

September has been a rough month. Three major things have happened to me and my family, any one of which would be stressful all on its own. I’ll use the popular numerical checklist format to add a little emotional distance…

  1. About three weeks ago, we found out that we have to move. The house we’ve rented for nearly a year in New Mexico needs major construction that will be very disruptive and last months. I work at home, we have kids, and the owner of the house never made any offer about how to resolve that.
  2. The filmmaking seminar business has been really weak and the last two events I did have lost money. I’ve made sure the events have been great and the show must go on but it’s been a big financial hit.
  3. I talked a bit about the problems with my eyesight due to diabetes but it’s worse than I said, really. I need medical treatment at this point and I probably need to get back on some medication.

So – health problems, financial problems and we have to move. That’s been September so far.

But I’m an optimist and a realist. Things could be a lot worse. The kids are good, we’re not starving and Lauren is the love of my life. We’ve adjusting and the adjusting contines.

My experience is that things in my life seem to happen for a reason and it’s a growth process. Our time in New Mexico has been great and we learned something about suburban living; we like some parts of it and other parts we could do without.

I’m a fan of simple philosophy that people like Leo Babauta write about in his great blog Zen Habits. I’m a fan, not an example…but I’m trying. I’m trying to regroup and really hone in on what’s important.

In screenplays, the hero often doesn’t choose to embark on their journey but instead they are forced to by forces beyond their control. That’s a lesson that’s shown up a couple of times for me lately. It came up in the Donald Miller book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years and it came up a few days ago in a conversation with screenwriting expert Derek Rydall. If you believe the universe is rather barren and mathematical, you can call it a coincidence even though that doesn’t explain a damn thing. What I’ve noticed in my life is that sometimes the universe seems to toss out messages to me and I’ve learned to try and listen.

Whatever prevents you from doing your work has become your work. – Albert Camus

The journey I’m being forced into is one where I’m a writer. I loved to California over twenty-five years ago to write and I just haven’t.

I’ve done other stuff. I’ve done things that I loved doing including photography and visual effects and other things that blind people don’t do all that well.  So now while I’m at a fork in the road where I may actually go blind, I’m getting the message that maybe I should write. I can do that, so I’m going to do a lot of that.

I’ll probably do some other stuff because I do but I’m trying to reboot my life yet again and focus on writing and my health and actually walking the simplicity walk.  I want to stabilize my businesses, too and of course, my family is all wrapped up in everything I do.

I feel very lucky. I’ve had so many things happen in my life that went far beyond my wildest dreams and excited to see where this next phase of my life leads. Thank you for being part of it, just by being here.