I’ve gone out of town for the weekend, back to a place where I can get outside, hopefully relax, and just kind of try to forget about the things weighing on my mind for a bit. I have come back to the place I consider “home.” Although it is not where I grew up, it is where I feel a large part of my identity was solidified.
To start, I have come back to my alma mater, a place that cemented my desire to get out into the world and use my “energy” to do something good. I never get out here anymore with time to see any of my old professors. Those are the people responsible for churning out future leaders of non-profits and NGOs. (In contrast, our sister college across the street, where I took my health policy courses, spits out the hedge fund and Wall Streeters.) I’m still amazed at what I had learned at this institution. It’s the reason I choose to wear a school ring bearing this academy’s name. It’s a daily reminder that I have a purpose. I come back to the campus and walk around every time I come back to town.
I had the chance to spend time with an old friend, a former coworker from back East. We had bonded over philosophical discussions, our shared dark and inappropriate sense of humor, and a mutual hatred for our inept boss. It was great to see her and her partner. I really like him; he’s a great match for her. I’m glad they moved out here, or I’d see them much less often.
I went by my favorite comic book store, and I picked up a deluxe hardback of a D.C. Comic written by Neil Gaiman. If you are a big ole geek like me, that’s happiness! I’ve spent a lot of time just sitting out in the sun reading or listening to music. (Not reading the comic, because I don’t want to read all of it on the trip.)
Before I left home, I had dug up my DSLR camera to see if I still knew how to use it. I’m hoping to get up into the mountains to take some pictures; I’d love to get out into the desert to do the same. The warmth without humidity is wonderful. I’ve forgotten what it’s like.
Food! Burgers and duck fat fries…there’s a gastropub here that has set the standard for me, when it comes to burgers. I’ve tried burgers in every city I’ve been in since, and it’s still my favorite. There’s a Nepalese restaurant about a half hour away I’m hoping to get to, but not sure if I will. I’ve been a bit lazy. There’s a good Inca restaurant close by too.
My identity used to be wrapped up in the outdoors, when I lived here previously. I was a road cyclist and a runner, when my asthma was under control. I’ve backpacked the highest peak in the continental US (with a 52 lb backpack strapped to my 98 lb frame). I loved ice climbing, but almost got killed once doing it. (Thank goodness for helmets.) Rock climbing, though, that was “my thing.” When I dropped out of law school, I spent most of a year rock climbing, trying to figure out how to accomplish my goals, since I had found my path had suddenly changed. This is kind of interesting, because one of the reasons I loved climbing was because I found it to be a very strategic “solo” sport. I had to really think through my moves to get to the top. I couldn’t get to the top the way my 6 foot tall climbing partner could. I miss it. Maybe I should get back to it, even if it is only in a gym.
I would love to finish the day on the peak watching the sunset over the ocean, but there’s also a peace that’s found being in the desert at night watching the stars, no light other than maybe a campfire off in the distance. I want to wander through the rose garden of the other sister college and try to capture its beauty with my camera. Sitting atop Griffith Park at night overlooking the city on a clear night is just as beautiful as it is in the movies. I’ve realized the importance of these places, even if I utilize their spaces and vistas to try to clear my mind.
So in an effort to show that I do have a lighter happier side, these are a few of my favorite things, and that I hope to have in my future again with some consistency someday.
Still the activists’ school, murals and all.