Reflections on a Random Tuesday

I've heard a lot about the "good ole days of blogging" lately. Most of the people I know from this funny little online activity are from a period when blogging was quite different than it is today. Blame the prevalence of social media (twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and so on) or blame the fact that life changes I sure had a lot more time to write about nothing when I was 17 than now, when I'm 30.

I've been thinking about how my life online is quite different than it was a decade ago. While most of what I share happens on Facebook and Instagram, it's admittedly much less information that I used to blog about. Blogging was, for many, a deeply personal look into another's life. It used to be a way to form these deep connections with like-souled people without ever "meeting" them face-to-face. Through this weird phenomenon of blogging I have some wonderfully dear friends that I have only meet a few times in my life. Without being involved in the friend circles blogging created, I would not have met Vahid, and that worked out pretty well in the end.

While blogging is not what it used to be, I will always be thankful for falling into this crazy time on what was the tail end of what I consider the "hey day" of personal blogging. Now, most of the blogs I loved so much have been shut down by their owners, transitioned into "lifestyle blogs", or, like me, they simply stopped writing, while their sites remained, a quiet tomb of a life shared online. While blogs slowly died or changed, those who avidly read and commented slowly disappeared as well. People who used to take time to read and comment with their own stores of relevance no longer did that, myself included. We still read but ran out of time to comment, then we ran out of time to read everything, then we stopped finding time to read anything altogether. Our attention dwindled to bite-sized snippets on Facebook or Twitter between work, families, and life.

I've kept this blog here even when I stopped writing. Updating this became less important as I moved onto other things in my life: graduating college, getting engaged, married, finding a job that didn't make me hate life. I always meant to come back, to "get back in the rhythm of it," to find the group again. Although that group is gone, migrating onto other parts of life. I am still here, tentatively sticking my toes into the same water, feeling the nostalgic warmth of it all. I miss writing, writing about my life to reflect back on, writing for the sake of writing and the continuous learning that comes with a writing practice, sharing photographs I took the time to shoot & edit. I realized that when I stopped writing, I stopped doing many of the things I found personal joy in. Coming back to any of those things–photography, writing, painting–has me fumbling to find the path that I had worn so well previously.

Am I jumping back in, blogging forever? I don't know. I never intend to stop, I just…do. Eventually I find it harder to sit and write or paint. Then I find it easier to find excuses than time to sit. Then I find it hard to remember the last time I actually sat. So I'm here, for the moment at least. Maybe I'll see you here and we will wave to each other, remembering how good it feels to be back at the same shore, with the same water washing over our toes.

Sunny Day in May

Moody Sea
May is always one of my favorite months. In California the weather was warm again, everything was blooming, and when I was younger it meant that school was almost over for the year. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest that isn’t always the case. It’s warm and then it’s not, the sky is grey and rainy and you are left wondering why you didn’t wear socks with your shoes. But it’s nice today, the sky is mostly blue, the sun is out, and I’m in a really good place.

I’ve been at this new job for a few months now. I’m still learning things but I feel like I mostly have the day-to-day minutiae of my job down. This summer is a first for business travel and that’s an interesting position to be in. I’ve slowly been accumulating small things to keep that are specifically for travel so I can cut down on the unpack/repack for the few busy months ahead.

I have a handful of half-started ideas I thought I would end up fleshing out sooner. Blog posts, writing ideas, other assorted creative starts are sprinkled everywhere I look. I meant to come here sooner, I always do, but it’s been hard lately.

February ended in a big upheaval, starting a new job, dealing with a car accident, getting a new car, and jumping into everything. I’ve had some other difficult decisions to make and have been processing the result of those decisions for a while now. This all coincided with one of the worst anxiety episodes I’ve had in years. I spent all of April constantly feeling anxious. I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like I was trying to navigate my life behind warped glass. Everything felt distorted. I feel like I’m finally finding my way out of this anxiety bubble. Things aren’t feeling so impossible anymore. So I’m here because at the moment writing this doesn’t feel just so hard.

I went to San Diego for work at the end of April. Spent my six year anniversary on the beach with my feet in the water and even though I ended up bright red, it’s one of my favorite anniversaries to date. I’m still working through my pictures of San Diego, I just simply haven’t had the desire to upload them and do some editing. But I’m slowly itching to start doing things like that again. With the bursts of nice weather I think about going out adventuring with my camera, which makes me happy.

I’ve started swimming laps this month as well. I have prescription goggles which are amazing inventions and I can’t tell you how good it is to see in the water, really see, not just seeing blurs and not knowing if it was a person or a marking on the side of the wall. Vahid is teaching me to freestyle swim and it’s difficult. Or rather coordinating myself is difficult, but I’m learning. I’ve never been a great swimmer. I would drown in the water but I was only ever a master of a hybrid doggy paddle and underwater swim that barely kept me afloat. I’m managing about 300 meters a session and slowly building up from there.

May always ends up being a big month of change for me. It could be the first signs of spring bring an unconscious want to change. It could be because it’s my birthday month and as such I find myself naturally reflecting back on the previous year and looking forward to the new one. Perhaps it’s nothing to do with anything and it simply takes me five months to start a change. No matter what it feels good to move again, to be hopeful again, and to know that I’m exactly where I should be in this moment.

Making the Time

Last week Vahid and I went out on a Thursday night for a date night. We got all dressed up and headed out for cocktails and a nice dinner at two places we hadn’t been before. We headed down to NW 23rd and had some amazing cocktails at The Fireside. The place has a great atmosphere and the drink menu is a great one. The food looked delicious, although we didn’t have any this time around.

We then headed to a place I seem to see all the time in Portland, Touché. I’ve been wanting to go there for the longest time but never seem to make the time to go there. Or rather whenever I see the building I think, “Oh yeah I want to go there for happy hour.” Then the thought fades away as the building fades from sight. When I saw a groupon pop up for the place I snagged it and mentally made a note for a future date night. The food was okay. I had a pasta dish with chicken in a tomato cream sauce and Vahid had a hazelnut crusted chicken breast served over rice and a cranberry dish. I really liked my food while I ate it but the next day when I was thinking back over dinner I didn’t find myself remembering it fondly the way I do a really good dish. I thought it was good but nothing too spectacular. I’d say it’s on par with The Old Spaghetti Factory which is a chain restaurant with much cheaper prices. Vahid’s chicken was a bit on the dry side and his sides were more flavorful than the main dish. We’ve made better chicken at home. It was a bit disappointing and I am glad we went there with a groupon and saved a bit of money.

What spawned our date night was actually my Christmas gift to Vahid. It’s a year of dates all pre-planned and where I could, prepaid for, and nicely sealed in an envelope. Each month is something we have never done before but have always wanted to do. It’s a way to experience more of Portland while also making sure we carve some time out for each other minus all the distractions that come from everyday life. There is only one month that is something we have done before but the locations are different and I just wanted to make time to do this summer as the season for this is incredibly short.

In February we are going on a brunch cruise down the Willamette River. Some of the envelopes contain something simple like January, a nice dinner a place we haven’t been and perhaps a show afterwards, some are adventures or day trips, some are going to places we always say we want to go but never make time to do so.

While I feel that I perhaps didn’t start the year out strong it’s hard to find something to do in the dead of winter. No one wants to go hiking when the trail is just mud and it’s raining and you’re wet and you are most definitely not having fun.

I am really looking forward to these each month, almost as much as Vahid is. I hope you’ll continue along with me as I share each new envelope and what’s in store for us this month!