On a chilly Wednesday morning, my daughter and I decided to get outside and have some adventures. We traveled the city on foot, taking our time and exploring all the little details of the world around us. We marveled at the colorful, musical, interactive art installations at the Southmoor rail station, which we only discovered because of the kind act of one young lady on crutches. Struggling down the stairs with her one crutch, she shouted after us to wait so she could explain to my daughter how the art in the tunnel could be manipulated. Complete strangers, the three of us shared an elevator and chatted as if we were old friends. We happened upon a fire truck testing out its hoses in a vacant parking lot. We felt the cool mist from the hoses spray clear across the street. We sat and stared at manufactured rainbows and water shooting hundreds of feet into the air. She took her first ride on the light rail today, and the look of excitement on her face made the three miles we walked seem like nothing. Today, it was a good day.
I write this, because I am blocked. I am torn between assignments and deadlines and story ideas, and pressure. The pressure is all self induced. I put myself in this situation, and now I expect something from myself that I’m not sure I have in me. I’m trying too hard and overthinking everything. Or maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Or maybe I’m not good enough.
I write this post simply for the sake of putting thoughts down in words. The practice of remembering details and trying to paint a picture. The work of remembering moments that I can come back to later when I have alzheimer’s disease. That is if I can remember my username and password. I can’t even do that now, and I have a supposedly healthy brain.
I’ve spent virtually every waking moment with Penny since she was born. The only extended time I have spent away from her was when she had to spend the night at a friends house while my girlfriend had surgery, so it is inevitable that I would eventually bring her into this blog.
I’m still searching. What is the story I want to tell? I have a major photo essay assignment due in three weeks for Photojournalism. I want to nail this one considering it is what I would like to do for a living. I know, I know, I’ve heard all the stories. Journalism is a dying art and the job market sucks and the pay is low. That doesn’t deter me one bit from wanting to pursue my goal of becoming a journalist. I don’t need a lot of money, just enough to survive. My payment will be the experience of living the life I choose, not the one that I settled for so I could have a bunch of material crap that doesn’t mean anything when I’m dead and gone.
We are getting rid of our stuff, we are preparing to live our lives the way we want, we are freeing ourselves and celebrating our non-conformistness (not a word but I don’t care). I want to see new things and old things, and tell stories about them. I want my daughter to experience as much of the world as we can put in front of her. I never talk about this, but her mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor and also has the BRCA gene. If Penny has that gene, which is highly possible, it just makes me more determined to get us all out on the road and enjoying life to the fullest before she has to start thinking about death, and cancer genes, and all the hard stuff that life throws at us. We’ll get her tested for that gene this year, along with a scheduled surgery for my girlfriend to have a mastectomy to remove her only remaining breast. In my life, we plan for these things as a neccesity, we have to budget our money according to life saving surgeries and preventative care. So we look forward to our traveling lifestyle. We see it as the light at the end of the tunnel, something to keep our minds off the hardship and pain we are about to endure. That goal keeps us going through the tough parts.
I’m lucky. I know this. I have been down before, and I never thought that I would make it to the life I occupy today. Maizy showed me that anything is possible, she picked me up, dusted me off, boosted my ego, slapped me on the butt and encouraged me to go out and do something with my life. She made it all possible, and she still does.
We have sacrificed, and simplified, and planned, and now that plan is in motion. Here comes the scary part: the follow through.