Why I Run

It took some effort to pull my front door open, it always sticks on cold mornings. That’s just one of the quirks of this weird old house. As I stepped out into the morning air my dog looked up at me from the couch with a look of confusion and disgust. “What the hell are you doing human? If you are going out there at least close the door, I don’t have thick fur.” he seemed to say.

What the hell was I doing? It was bitter cold out, autumn has overtaken summer with a vengeance and the air burns my lungs in the morning hours. My hands immediately start to curl up in search of warmth, reminding me again that I need to buy some gloves. Oh well, I can buy gloves later. Right now I’m going to run in a big circle around a park a few times with the soccer moms and retired folks.

The reasons I run are varied, and I need all of them to keep me moving. Getting out the door usually requires me to focus on the short-term benefits. Running wakes me up and suppresses my appetite to prevent snacking. It also gets the blood flowing through my body and clears my head. Running in the morning has consistently improved my  job performance and my writing, and it keeps me motivated to take care of my body and life. When I don’t run I’m more likely to spend the day on the couch with Oreos and Netflix being a sloth, but when I run in the morning I tend to get my errands done, eat fairly healthy, and get a lot of work done. This first positive action in the morning sets the tone for the day.

But those reasons really only get my out the door and to my first mental wall (usually around mile 2). I need more than that if I’m going to push past the walls and keep running. For that type of motivation, I need to focus on the long term and philosophical reasons I run.

The first reason, as cliche as it sounds, is my partner. My body is kind of a gift to her and I want to take care of it. I want to be healthy enough that our lives can be long and fun together and that means investing a little bit of time now for a big payoff later. An investment in me is an investment in us. I also really like it when my partner tells me she finds me attractive, particularly when she is specific. There is just nothing that boosts my self-esteem like when she wraps her hands around me and says “wow, I can feel your abs”. Is it superficial? Sure. Do I care? Not really. I like feeling sexy to her and myself. It is kind of cool to step out of the shower and see myself in the mirror and be happy with what I see.

The second reason is related to my partner. Well, it is at least related to our relationship. Since we have a “not completely monogamous” relationship I have opportunities to be intimate with others with my partner’s consent. I can’t really fall into the “now that we’re married she’s stuck with me so I can let my body go” trap if I want to keep having the sexual variety and experiences that I’m interested in. I realize that attracting a intimate partner (or to get people to keep sending me sexy snaps @pneiger) is more difficult if you don’t appear healthy, particularly when I can’t offer any type of romantic relationship. When I lack the ability to provide love for a future partner I need to make up for that in other ways, being fit and providing friendship is a way I can do that.

Another reason I run is kind of quasi-spiritual. I see my body as the most amazing gift I’ve ever received. I don’t think there is a god out there that gave me a body, but if there is one then it seems like I should show respect for that gift. I wouldn’t take something my mom gave me and treat it like shit, why would I do that with my body if it is a gift from a loving god? It seems pretty disrespectful to eat junk and neglect your health if your body comes from god. Anyway, I don’t really believe that, but I do think this life and body is a gift of sorts from the universe. As such, I want to treat it well and see just I can do with it. I love self-experimentation and my body is an opportunity to see what my potential really is. I want to try and run 100 miles or be physically fit enough to explore space someday. I want to try and live until the point when death becomes optional.

Running is also tied to my life philosophy of libertarianism and minimalism. I believe in personal responsibility, including self-defense. But self-defense isn’t just owning a well-maintained firearm and practicing your marksmanship because other humans are not the only danger we face. It is very unlikely that I will need to use my gun to save my life, but it is very likely that I will need a healthy heart and immune system to save my life. I exercise because I love my life and I want to increase the quality and quantity of it. Eating junk food and neglecting your health is to commit slow suicide, it is anti-life.  Life starts with the body. As for minimalism, if I want to live a life with few possessions and lots of leisure time, I need to stay healthy. Health expenses add up quickly and I need to take as much responsibility for minimizing those costs as my genetics will allow.

Like all philosophical views, this is just my ideal, one that I fail at regularly. I’m not trying to get on my pulpit and put others down (just last night I ate way too much ice cream and cookies and seriously slacked on my exercise), this is just meant to illustrate what I think about to keep my body moving when I hit walls while running.

Another source of inspiration is my nieces and nephews. I want to be alive and healthy throughout as much of their lives as I can. I want to celebrate victories with them and be there to comfort them when they are hurting. I want to provide guidance, support, and my perspective on life (if my siblings are foolish enough to let them). I’ve seen first hand with family and friends how being unhealthy can shorten the quality and quantity of your life. there are plenty of people my age (35) who can’t walk up stairs, play with their children, or travel because of their health. I want to postpone that as long as I can. I imagine this drive to be healthy and see their children grow up is even stronger in parents. I know how much I care for my nieces and nephews, but I’m sure that pales in comparison for the love parents feel. Maintaining a healthy body and being a good example seems like it would come hand-in-hand with parenting.

I don’t love running, but I don’t loathe it anymore either. It takes effort every day to get out and pound the pavement, but it is slowly getting easier and I keep finding more reasons to run. Hopefully, that continues and I’ll be in my 70’s running 8-minute miles around the park still.

 

Post-Script: I forgot one thing, I’m kind of a hedonist. I enjoy pleasurable experiences such as recreational drug use and ice cream. In order to balance the damage those experiences do to my body I need to exercise. A long life is boring if it doesn’t include pleasure.

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Community

There was a time in my life when I scoffed at the idea of “community” and was proud of my lone-wolf, individualistic life. Years went by where I felt almost no emotional connection with people, and I was fine with that. The reason for this self-imposed solitary confinement is multi-faceted: I felt betrayed by previous religious and social institutions, my heart was broken by someone I was engaged to, I was basically alone on the east coast while everyone I truly loved was thousands of miles away, my introvert nature made being alone easier than going out, I had embraced an individualistic political philosophy with just enough understanding to be dangerous.

In the end, the reason is irrelevant. I spent years shutting myself off from people, including the few people who knew me since childhood, and it is beginning to hurt. I don’t feel like I have a real community. I see friends who have 2-3 couples who are a tight part of their regular lives but I don’t have that.

I failed to take Baz Lurhman’s advice to “work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle”. I didn’t work hard. I thought my friendships were immune from entropy, but they weren’t. Without new energy my friendships decay. As my lifestyle changed and views on the world evolved I didn’t work hard to keep in touch with those people I knew when I was young. I often wonder if it is too late.

Maybe the geography and lifestyle has become too much to overcome. Despite modern technology, thousands of miles do prevent strengthening relationships, particularly relationships that have not been strengthened in decades. The friendship decays like unused muscles, and the pressure that you could once endure easily now cause you to collapse into a heap of weeping regret.

Lifestyle provides its own challenges. It isn’t just political or religious views, those are easy to overcome. When your friends start having kids and you choose not to you will likely be left behind, unless you work hard… before the children are born and for every year afterwards. It isn’t enough to just to talk, action must be taken. Financial differences are just as difficult to overcome. I don’t fear that my friends love me less because I live a simplistic life below the poverty level, but when my whole budget for social activities is $100 for a month it makes it difficult to connect with friends who see no problem dropping twice that in one night. It just makes things difficult.

It has never been easy for me to make friends. I am skeptical of people and a bit stand-offish. My views on the world are, umm, unconventional, and I tend to advertise my strange views regularly. It is particularly difficult for me to make friends with guys for reasons that may be worth going into in another blog post, and making friends with women when you are married and openly “non-monogamous” brings the assumption that I’m only looking to hook-up. Again, I am to blame for most of this, my fascination with sex is well documented and even I have trouble separating my curiosity from my platonic friends.

So, while I see my acquaintances have deep friendships with a non-biological family I feel alone. My friendships have deteriorated and I’m not sure how to fix them. Making new friends is difficult because there aren’t a lot of social groups out there really looking for new members. I feel like I’ll always just be an after-though, someone on the periphery who moved to Wilmington and kind of hangs out with a group of people who are all best friends.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try though. I should try to make friends here. I should also try to repair my old relationships. There was a time when I was part of a four-person group that seemed inseparable. College, the military, and all the travel in between has fragmented that group… maybe it can be fixed, if I’m not the only one who wants to fix it. I often daydream about having adult friends that I go on vacations with and visit each other regularly. And, there are other couples that I feel like we connect with in a way that could provide a family for me (despite lifestyle and geography), I need to learn from my mistakes and work hard to keep those relationships growing. “I suck at communicating” can no longer be my mantra if I want community.

I long to feel like I’m part of a peer-family… something ten years ago I would have never said. Hopefully, my 20’s didn’t fuck things up for the rest of me.

Thankful

I kind it kind of cheesy to list the things I’m thankful for, and to be honest, it feels a little bit like a humble-brag. But fuck it, I want to do it. Thanksgiving is a ridiculous holiday in a lot of ways but I think it is important to think about the things we are thankful for, to kind of take stock of the good things in life.

So, here are some of the things I’m thankful for, in no particular order. Some are things that I have little to no control over, and some are the result of my own actions.

  • My partner, Anna, continues to be the most influential person in my life. She is my partner in crime, adventure, and love. She loves me for me and encourages me to pursue what I am passionate about. Our life so far together has been amazing and I am thankful for the millions of random occurrences that brought her into my life.
  • My dog is the best. He is an asshole sometimes and has no self control when it comes to food, but he is my fur-baby and I love him.
  • I have some amazing fucking friends. People who take me in, provide me with support, and challenge me in every possible way. We try new things together and intellectually stimulate each other, I’ve long had a tribe and having it grow and evolve is exciting
  • I can’t help but be grateful for my biological family and my upbringing. There have been rough days in the past but things are looking better and we are creating new, adult relationships. My upbringing was stable and loving, more than many people have.
  • Living in the age we live in is absolutely amazing. We can pursue free education via the internet and have access to more information than would be imaginable two generations ago. I really believe that we have the potential to live forever (if politicians and governments don’t fuck it up), but even if I do die I am glad to live in a world of such dynamic change.
  • It took years and lots of sacrifices but I ended up with a job that allows me the freedom I need. I can be a minimalist by working only a few hours a week but still have more joy, happiness, and adventures than I would have imagined as a kid.
  • I am healthy. Part of that is my decisions to change my diet and my lifestyle (I am thankful that I made that decision early in life instead of waiting until my 40’s to take care of my body), and part of it is simply genetics. I don’t have a sweet tooth, my oral health is good, I am rarely sick, and my body responds quickly to exercise.
  • I’ve had a life filled with new adventures and a lot of potential for more. There are many options for new drugs, sexual experiences, travel, and accomplishments. I can pursue all of those without much risk.
  • I’m thankful for my military brothers. We have a bond that is beyond what many people can relate to. We certainly don’t share the same views on many things but we all know that we can call on each other in a time of need. I’ll always be a Blue Devil.
  • This last one came from reviewing my list… part of me doesn’t have a very “property oriented” (for lack of a better phrase) happiness response. I own basically nothing and have no desire to own anything more. I just don’t have that drive, and I am thankful for that.

Tribe

My partner and I have been in Southern California for the last few days, which is why I’ve missed blogging the last few days. Between going out, catching up with friends, and recovering from drug-fueled nude parties that raged all night (mostly kidding) I haven’t made the time to blog. It was a conscious decision and I don’t feel bad about it.

Visiting LA regularly is pretty important for my partner and I. As much as we love cycling and travelling we need to visit our tribe regularly, and many of them live in Southern California. As much as we didn’t fit in with the culture in this area there are wonderful people here who make our lives complete, in many ways they make life worth living. Having people you can talk with about anything, cuddle on the couch with and do nothing, or know you won’t be judged for your looks, thoughts, or deeds. People you can be naked around, physically and mentally. True love exists in friendship, and I am forever grateful for the friends I have here.

Our time here is always too short. A week goes by so quickly when the nights are filled with laughter and the days filled comfort. I wish we could stay with our tribe longer than just a few days at a time. We daydream about a time in the future when we all live in the same town, though realistically that won’t happen. Despite our common interests and love for each other our lives are heading so many directions. We have different passions and different cities we want to live in… though it would still be the tits if we could all just live on a farm together hanging out around the bonfire and showering outdoors.

That day won’t ever come, but that’s okay, we live in a world with many options. No matter where we live a Facebook message or a quick flight can reconnect us. My tribe is spread like a spiderweb around the world, some of the wires are strong and some weaker, but they all connect me to my friends. LA may be a focal point but it is made stronger by the connections to Dallas, Portland, DC, Charleston, South Africa, and beyond.

There was a time when keeping in touch would be impossible, but now technology has allowed for me to stay connected to those I love. This isn’t an excuse for neglect though. As Baz Luhrmann states in the greatest song ever “Everybody is Free to Wear Sunscreen” (see below), “Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle. The older you get the more you will need the people that knew you when you were young.”

Some of my tribe did know me when I was “young”, though that is a relative term. I guess some of my “newer” friends will be my old friends when I am in my 50’s. My best friend, who lives here, has known me since 4th grade, nearly 25 years now, but we have many dear friends here who feel nearly as close to us and I can tell they will be with us in the decades to come. There is a certain bond that grows stronger each year, as long as we work to stay connected and grow with each other. Technology is magical, but it can also feed complacency. When something is easy to do any day it becomes easy to push off until tomorrow, and the next thing you know a year has passed.

So, as this trip gets closer to the end my mind is on my tribe. The chosen family who made me who I am and put up with my nonsense. I love them and often miss them, the moments I’ve shared with them have made my life the amazing experience that has been so far.

Out of the Bay and Into the Wine

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on May 5. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now.

So, I feel like the last post was kind of shitty. I wasn’t really in the mood to write but felt the need for force myself to. I should have known this is a mistake. I love writing, but if I’m not in the mood it is obvious. Sorry for the shitty writing last time… onward to better things.

Leaving San Francisco was bitter-sweet. We were all eager to get on the road again but that city had a great feeling to it. It takes something special to make us feel vanilla but the kinky sexy vibe that seemed to ooze from the city was enough to make us feel “normal”. Basically, we loved it. There is something about the titillation that comes from being in a place that doesn’t hide, fear, or shame sex that makes the spirit feel truly alive. I am sure we will all be back, in fact, it is likely we will all live there at some point, but probably not after our bike ride. It was just too expensive and crowded for our current tastes, after Los Angeles we need something a little smaller to call home.

Anyway, we headed out from San Francisco towards the East Bay (probably not the right phrase, I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about most of the time). We took a ferry into Oakland, rode through Oakland and Berkeley, and into the hills to the north. Our plan for Friday was to crash with Anna’s cousin and her husband, Katie and Neal. The ride itself had a few hills but the real thing that stuck in our minds was the difference between Oakland and Berkeley. The ride through Oakland felt a little dangerous… the roads poorly maintained, zero bike lanes, and traffic that seemed mostly unregulated. We saw cop cars all over the place and the police presence was strong. Berkeley was only a few blocks away but felt incredibly different with freshly paved roads, dedicated bike routes, slow traffic, and the only people we saw were college students and random touristy pedestrians. It is kind of crazy how the environment in the US can change block to block.

Katie and Neal put us up at their gorgeous house in Orlinda. Even though they were in the process of repainting the house they opened their doors to us. They had some amazing decks… I love a good deck, they are great for BBQing, banging in an exhibitionist way, enjoying a fine cigar, and just relaxing after a long day of work/play. We didn’t bang, BBQ, or have a cigar on their deck but we did get a chance to relax a bit, share a beer, and then go out for some Thai food. I had only met Katie and Neal once before this and it was awesome to spend some more time with them. I really hope we get a chance to hang out more in the future.

We left Orlinda late in the morning to go to my cousin’s house. I had not seen Emily, my cousin, in a long time… with the exception of my grandmother’s funeral it has been almost a decade. Emily and I always had a bit of a rivalry going, we are the two oldest of our clans and I think that lead to some unnecessary, but probably predictable, hostility between us. Luckily, this trip really showed how that negativity towards us was no longer the case. I had a fucking awesome time hanging out with Emily, her husband Joe, and their four kids. I am often pretty negative towards the idea of having kids, and many times it seems people have kids for all the wrong reasons. That isn’t the case with Emily and Joe, they are doing parenting right (in my unhumble opinion). Their kids are all individuals and are encouraged to pursue their own passions. They are taught not to judge and embrace individuality. If I had kids I hope I would be able to raise them as well as Emily and Joe do. It was fucking awesome to share beer, Jager bombs, and some great conversations that hit every subject with them.

Our time with Emily in Hercules eventually ended and we hit the road with a lot of hope for the future and a wicked hangover. Apparently when you try to bike up a hill with 100 lbs in tow after a night of Jager you kind of just want to die, especially when you find yourself being passed by a couple hundred friendly people in bright jerseys who want to greet you with a smile and a conversation. I never knew smiling people in bright yellow could inspire rage and vomit.

The next cities on our list were Sonoma and Santa Rosa. According to Wikipedia there are not any people in Sonoma, just a bunch of grapes and rich people on vacation. Wikipedia is wrong. I was able to find a couchsurfer in Sonoma and she agreed to let us fall asleep in her living room. It turned out to be an amazing city, probably because of the people we met. We got into town around 4pm and met up with our host (Suzanne… or Sue as everyone else called her, I never know what to call people…) at a local Irish bar. In case you are wondering, this is a good sign. Our brief meeting with Sue turned into several hours of drinking beer with a variety of people she knew. There was Sue, Kenneth, Kyle, and the hot vegan couple whose names I can’t remember (I’d tap that). To be honest, I felt really welcome with the group. It was like a bunch of old friends in a sitcom rotating around for comic relief and just enjoying life. We talked about Burning Man, were open about MDMA use, discussed brewing beer, and a whole lot of other things. The conversations just seemed so natural, which is good for three introverts like us.

Sue’s roommates ended up being just as cool. Even though Sue wasn’t around when we arrived but Natalie and Brian (or Bryan??) made us feel right at home. I really wasn’t expecting that from Sonoma, it seemed like a hole-in-the-wall town but it had a lot of love in it. It felt like a potential home but, sadly, we only got one night there. Oh well, now we head out to Santa Rosa for some beers and a couple days of rest.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

Saying Good Bye

To be honest, I thought someday I would get used to it. You think after all the transitions in my life… Oregon to military, military to college, college to Washington DC, Washington DC to Los Angeles… I would get used to saying good bye to new friends. It still isn’t fucking easier. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be. Maybe the difficulty, the held back tears, the moments of second-guessing all are a testament to the love I’ve found and the bonds I’ve formed. Maybe it is a good thing that it is hard… it still sucks though. 

Yesterday I want to a Game of Thrones party at my best friend’s house. It was the last opportunity to say good bye to a lot of the friends I have made while in Los Angeles. And the good byes aren’t over, this weekend at Lucidity I will say good bye to another group of beautiful souls who have helped me learn to love myself and others. These are people who I have come to look forward to seeing, people I meet with a warm embrace, people that I can open up to (even though some of them would rather me not). I wish I would have spent more time with them, made them more of a priority, and tried to build a stronger friendship and forge more memories. But alas, what’s done is done. There are no more days for new memories in LA, at least not for a while.

While it hurts to leave these people, I am not sad about the future. Because I have been through this before I know that many of these friends will be in my life forever. Hell, my best friend and I have known each other almost 25 years and have only lived in the same city for about 10 total. I hold on to people who mean something to me, thanks to Facebook and the internet that is easier than ever but it is more than convenience, it is in my nature. I may not talk to them much (hell, I don’t talk to them much now) but they are always in my heart and they always pop into my head at the best times… “Oh man, I have to call Josh, he has got to hear about this”, “Hey, Dagny would love that”, “Oh Blayne… if only you could mow down on these cheesesticks with me”, “Damn, where’s James when I need him?”, “I wonder what Emmett would think of that?”… I wish I contacted them more than I do. In a very real way they are part of my family and when thinking of them I am home.

Home isn’t geography for me. It is where I can be unapologetically me. It is where honesty, love, and peace prevail above politics, social status, or religion. And the people I say good bye to as I start the next chapter of my life will always be my family and home. I know that if I need them they will be there. I love them and will miss them… but I know that any physical separation means nothing when our minds and spirits are connected. They are my ka-tet and that is a bond that doesn’t break, no matter how far I roam. 

Expectations of Others

I’ve gone back and forth for a while about writing this blog but after a conversation I had today I think it is worth writing. Too many people have vented to me or asked how I deal with this topic that it makes me believe there might be others out there with this struggle. I certainly don’t have all the answers (or really any answers) but maybe sharing my experiences and thoughts can be of some help to others. So, these are my thoughts about dealing people who have expectations for how you should live your life and pressure you to abandon what makes you happy to do what they wish. In my life this was my mother so it will be from that point of view but it could really be any family member, friend, or mentor. (Spoiler: Things between my  mother and I are awesome right now).

Obviously I don’t know what it is like to be a parent but here is a quick run of my background so we are all on the same page. I am the oldest of six children and grew up mostly in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I never planned on leaving Gresham until I joined the army and saw some of the world. After the military I started college in South Carolina where my ex-fiance lived. She lived within a few miles of her parents, grandparents, and all her aunts… basically generation after generation stayed in the same area. Because I started college when I was 22 I had a little bit different perspective on it. After college I moved to Washington DC where I worked in a couple non-profits for a few years and then headed out west to Los Angeles where I live now. Currently, I am living with my partner and her best friend, and the three of us are leaving in April for a 18 month bicycle ride around the continent.

So… that’s me. During my life (particularly when I was in DC and now in LA) many people have come to me expressing frustration about the way they interact with their parents. I guess they come to me because I live my life so vocally and openly, and clearly did not stay in the traditional, Christian, conservative life that I thought I was going to.

The tension between my mother and I really started when it became clear that I wasn’t going to be moving back to Oregon. My mother had a vision of all of her children growing up in the same area, getting married, and all of our kids being best friends. She had expectations, unfair ones that involved other people that were not consulted. Even if you don’t have kids it is important to realize that you do not have control over other people, only yourself. Your emotions are yours and if you base your happiness on the lifestyle of someone else (particularly someone who you haven’t discussed things with) you will end up hurt almost every time.

Tension continued to mount between my mother and I. It seemed she took every decision I made as a personal attack on her. Sex before marriage, not moving back to Oregon, not being religious, deciding not to have kids… these were taken as an assault on her motherhood. She viewed herself as a bad mother (and thought I viewed her as a bad mother) because my life choices didn’t match up to her expectations. In truth, she was a wonderful and loving mother. I cannot imagine having anyone else raise me.

Sadly, the tension, anger, and resentment led to us rarely talking and I dreaded returning back to Oregon to visit. We both felt attacked by the other, we both couldn’t find a way to resolve the differences in our life. Even the act of visiting seemed to make things worse, no matter how long I visited (2 days, 5 days, a week, etc) it was never enough, she always wanted me around more and thought my desire to leave was because I didn’t want to be around them. In truth, the real reason was much simpler. I didn’t want to be back in Oregon because I didn’t really have friends there, the only activity going on at my home was watching tv, and missing work was incredibly costly for someone just starting out.

As time progressed it got to the point where any real communication that was happening would be through my sister or one of my brothers. The conversations my mother and I had were superficial at best and rarely broached any subjects of importance. It didn’t help matters that I was openly blogging about my “sinful” life at this time. (Lesson: Parents have a right not to know things about their adult children, but they also have a duty not to look for things… so if you have a blog don’t tell your parents or if you do give them fair warning of the content and encourage them not to follow it. My mother no longer follows my Facebook or blog). Neither one of us wanted the distance between us that we had but we didn’t know how to fix it.

I don’t know exactly when but things eventually started to get better. I think part of it was I stood my ground and got to the point where I had to be very forceful, even issuing an ultimatum that basically said “this is my life, if you want to be a part of it you can’t be trying to guilt me into things or use emotional blackmail to control my actions. You have one year to be angry, upset, and to question me about why I view things the way I do but after that year is up if you can’t accept who I am then our relationship is over.” Through the year we had fights and great discussions and we came out stronger in the end. Now we both respect that the paths our lives took are very different but we are both happy and there is not just one way to happiness. Our relationship isn’t perfect but it is healthier, happier, and for the first time in a while I look forward to visiting my family in Oregon.

I’m not sure why this tension seems to exist between parents and kids. Maybe it is compounded by the changes society is going through. Our generation is very comfortable communicating primarily through email, skype, and cell phones. We have seen pictures and videos of people all over the world and we want to visit. We have had study abroad opportunities and can connect with people from around the globe with the click of a button. We also seem less interested in committing to a life time of kids in a single relationship until we have explored the world more. We see an opportunity to have it all and see no reason to settle down until our 30′s or later (or ever). Life is to be lived, and for me that means new experiences instead of the path so many have already been… and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

PS: I will probably add more to this. I had a lot more ideas running through my head when I was biking today but some seem to have slipped away.