banana pancakes

The alarm rang off at 6:00 a.m. I slowly cracked out of my paralyzed lying-position and a few minutes later rose out of bed. This time was early for me, these days. I staggered down the tight hallway and veered left into the kitchen. It was Valentine’s Day, and I ran across town yesterday, scooping up breakfast items and other holiday treats. Porter would be rising in an hour, maybe later, therefore, I better get moving.

The day before I gathered strawberries, pancake mix, bananas, chocolate chips, eggs, sausage, potatoes, orange juice and champagne. This meal wasn’t going to be just breakfast, but a downright feast. Disclaimer: I have no experience making pancakes. Yet, I provided myself with some extra time for a trial run, however, the process turned out to be just as straightforward as the directions on the side of the box.

Nearing 7, the sausage was sizzling, the pancakes were browning, and the home-fries were almost touching a crisp. Then I overhead Porter’s door squeak open and her footsteps pounce down the hall.

“Hey!” I said. “You shouldn’t be seeing this.”

“Are you making breakfast?” She asked. “I woke up early to go out and get you bagels.”

So we were both holding our plans under wraps, but we settled on the grandiose amount of food I already bought. Porter joined me in the kitchen, and I turned up some Bob Dylan to jumpstart our morning. Then I popped open the champagne at roughly 7:10 and mixed up some mimosas.

It’s not frequent we devour large meals to kick off our days. We soon hit our limitations not long after we sat down and ate. Valentine’s Day, like many other holidays, has transformed into a consumer holiday, capitalizing on the love and care between individuals. Although I do feel corporations and companies exploit the customers by jacking up the prices on these days, I nonetheless advance with the orchid purchases and dinner celebrations. It’s an addition to the recognition of the love shared.

We all have lives to carry out, outside of our relationships, and sometimes we become entrapped in our day-to-day affairs. I feel these holidays, allow people to intently focus on the special people in their lives, even if it’s just for a special meal in the morning or at night. It’s a tribute of gratitude to them, by simply acknowledging what you deeply feel for the other. It’s a more open opportunity to be vulnerable and express honest feelings; not that they can’t be displayed on any other day, but holidays are a marked period of reflection.

Porter and I scraped up our plates and stored away the leftovers. She had to get moving, so I proceeded with cleaning up the dishes. We arranged to meet in Chinatown after work to grab some noodles and wine. Holidays are also a time for eating well.

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I came to the ocean

Fort Funston camps right below Ocean Beach at the end of the Great Highway and, geographically, at the bottom left corner of San Francisco. Lots of dogs and their owners congregate in these parts, but not many venture down the rocky, muddy slope, which takes one down to the shore. With the towering cliffs, shielding one from below, and the abandoned gratified, concrete structures from World War 2, the beach feels desolate. Therefore, I came here on Friday to get away from it all.

Packs of crows danced hundreds of feet above me and one hawk soared in the wind. The sun was dropping and in about thirty minutes it would disappear. Just like how’s there’s a constant cycle of ocean water flowing in and out, another day was flowing out for a new one to come in. With that, I drifted down the beach, with the water engulfing my feet and the clean, ocean air purging out my mind.

I fell into a pattern of taking life too serious, or rather, attempting to make my life more serious. This behavior that I clenched on to may be influenced from social-conditioning, but it rests more in the self-centered space of the inherent ego. I can trace back my rooted thoughts of finding purpose or passion to senior year of high school, when we needed to pin down our future academic endeavors in college. I recall scrolling through the long list of majors, and nothing struck me as my calling.

These thoughts would fade away, but always resurfaced now and again. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until these past six months that I actually had an extensive period to sit, contemplate, and analyze a future career or life of purpose. With my clinging to label myself as someone, I clenched life with both hands and hoped to strangled an answer out of it. Well, to my disappointment or rather, my ego’s, my search failed and was recently aborted.

At this point, I disregard the notion that everyone has an innate life purpose. In fact, I’ve dumped several of my past beliefs. I picked them up when I was in a fragile place, weak and down and dispirited. Nowadays I scan around the internet and notice that a lot people, who are hurting, hang onto spirituality or religion. These sources of truth attempt to provide facile answers and remedies to a complex, mysterious life. We all want the answers. We all want the truth. But I’ve discovered it’s better to relinquish these needs, and instead, embrace the mystery of life.

I mounted a long, windy staircase, which was engraved in the cliff, and peeked back at the Pacific Ocean. The ocean runs to the horizon, and, to my knowledge, there’s no more answers out there than here. With that, I came to the beach not to find anything, but rather, to discard what I’ve picked up.

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Man on the Run

Life has a comical way of twisting things when all seems well. Yesterday I aimlessly wandered through Golden Gate Park with my friend Josh. We had the entire sunny day to waste away and that we did. Porter, my girlfriend, flew to Denver for the weekend. With that, I crashed in her room, as I have been. Later on, Josh and I grabbed a drink at a local bar. We then cut our separate ways as the sun dipped down to end a pleasant day. My reality was sinking in and, exteriorly, it seemed like my life was coming together. Yet, once I returned home and squatted down on the couch, things crumbled beneath me once again. I was given the boot by Porter’s roommate…

Eviction shakes up one’s nervous system. You resort back into survival mode: there’s no time to think, only time to act. I scrambled across the kitchen-tiled floor to Porter’s  bedroom, stuffing my belongings into my suitcase and gathering all of my non-perishable items.

I was back on the move, again. When I moved out to San Francisco I accepted the fact that stability and consistency would most likely not be present in my life. I mean, moving from place to place reignites the spark in life, but at the same time, it can be depleting. I aim for a manageable balance, but most things are out of my control.

After I filled my car back up with my belongings, I rambled around the block, uncertain of my destination. Then I rang up Josh–my only other contact in San Francisco–and he invited me to come on over. I secured a spot to sleep, at least for tonight.

Before rolling out to California, I anticipated myself sleeping in my car some nights. I did it last summer, and frankly, enjoyed it. San Francisco, however, is not the safest place to be sleeping in cars, unless you park on the outer edge of the city.

Josh lives in a co-op with seventy other people in the center of the city. His room is practically five by five feet, with just enough for a twin bed and a workstation. With that, his room would not be available to take refuge in. Nevertheless, there’s a communal living room with couches, which would turn out to be my resting place. The room is wide open with surround-sound speakers and ping pong; it also connects to the kitchen. Therefore, residents are constantly funneling in and out. In a nutshell, this spot is by no means ideal, but at this point, I’ll take anything.

My days on that couch will most likely be limited, as residents will begin to wonder and question about the duration of my stay, like my last place. Then I will be back on the move, fleeing in search of shelter. I am a man on the run.

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Takeoff

A layer of snow blanketed the ground, roofs and tree branches this morning. This coating is Pennsylvania’s first legitimate snowfall of the year, and it greets me right before my departure tomorrow. The sky paints a calming blue color, and streaks of light cross as the sun rises in the east. As I write this, birds are whizzing by my back windows, frisking above the snow. It’s a tranquil day before I sail off.

Before I sunk into a slumber last night, I lie on my left side, pondering about today. I wrote a post earlier this week about leaving home and opening the next chapter of my life. I was engulfed about leaving, but now it appears to be more of a soothing sendoff. It’s time, yes, but it’s doesn’t have to be loud, rather, it can be a fluid transition. It’s unnecessary to attach high stakes to any change, just let it be. It will turn out the same way regardless.

My Dad joined me in my room last night. He slumped in my desk chair and leaned his feet against the edge of my rickety bed. He then delved into an exchange about the upcoming year and the necessary changes to be made. With that, there’s movement for everyone this year, even if physical relocation does not transpire. There’s areas pinning us down in our own unique ways, whether financial, mental or physical. It’s time to liberate ourselves from old patterns and transition into a new beginning.

Flocks of birds chase and tail one another in my backyard. Since I typically work in my living room during the daytime, I’ve been observing their ludic behavior for the past few months. A synopsis: they take flight, land and pec around, then takeoff once again. They take off effortlessly and land nimbly. I will keep that in mind.

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Roll, Roll, Roll

Well, please disregard my post from yesterday, as I have postponed my take-off until Saturday. A large snowfall is dumping on the west, so I opted out of plunging into a blizzard to instead, elect for the warm upper-50’s weather settling in next week. The warmth will nonetheless contribute to a more pleasant road-tripping experience.

With that, I have already assembled all of my belongings and completed my miscellaneous tasks. Therefore, the next few days will consist of rest and outlining my plan for 2017. Two weeks ago, I stumbled upon one of my annually-bought planners: one for the purpose of organizing the upcoming year, but is seldom used. I skimmed over the consistent use in the beginning of the notebook, but blank pages arose from April onward.

As I reached the final pages, I caught a list before closing. It was an organized list of New Year’s resolutions/goals. Although I hadn’t peeked at them since last January, it was compelling to review my progress. Certain vague goals were accomplished, while other grand hopes were disregarded early on. My final goal for the year–written in all capital blank-ink letters–was to have enough money to quit my job by my birthday of 2016. Well, it more or less occurred–I was laid off a month before my birthday, and at this point, I still have enough money to survive. So, yeah, I accomplished a lot last year.

As a human being, I still have areas from last year to improve upon and goals to manifest. Because of my untouched planners from the past, I’m discarding that tool. Rather, I’m going to hunker down, quietly, and plan out my 2017 on my Notepad on my Mac, accordingly, my plan will remain with me throughout the year. In addition, goals and resolutions will be constructed with detail, in order to better evaluate my progress.

Circumstances arise and plans change, naturally, but this year I want to be consciously aware of what’s important to me. Therefore, I can decided to stay on track or switch on to a new, more-exciting path. Like the river, I will roll.

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Lightning Rod

The road is calling. I’m sitting, patiently, as the days tick down to my imminent departure. I’m not in a rush–it is freezing outside–but the reality is beginning to sink in. Endless possibilities emerge when one aims the nose of their car west on the highway. My plan remains to head to California, but what lies before and after that is unknown. And that fact alone is why “the road” is romanticized in countless novels.

My dad (pictured below) drives for Fedex. It’s a laborious job and not very glorious, but  he has endured it for over thirty years. I recall asking him one time what lured him to the job at a young age, besides just obtaining employment. He referred to the freedom of being on the road, not being confined to a building, and the variety of driving down new paths each day. Driving for Fedex may not be a vacation, but there’s still the independence that some desire.

This past summer I journeyed west, with an outline guided by festival locations, but inclusive of spontaneous turns and destinations as the trip carried on. I felt exultant, especially since I adopted a travel buddy, my now-girlfriend, mid-way through the trip. Experiences are better when shared. Nevertheless, one can not delay his trips or plans for company; people are too preoccupied with their lives. With that, I sought out alone, and it’s serendipitous what will occur when one follows their calling (girlfriend not guaranteed).

There’s the romantic, well-known term “free spirit.” I know it dates back to at least the 18th century, and probably way before that. Philosophers would idealize the freedom and curiosity yearned by one’s spirit, in addition, noting how the masses have cut of this instinctive nature in exchange for security. In order to activate this essence, one doesn’t need to travel, but can also be curious through other means: learning, studying, etc. Nevertheless, nothing triumphs experience. One can read all the books in the library–still enjoyable–but it will never surmount what was learned through meeting the world face to face.

As Ken Kesey once said, “I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.”

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The Way

Frost lie on the bridge railing and the sun peeked out above the clouds. A family of ducks swam peacefully fifty yards to my right. Smoke funneled out of the chimneys from a few cabins nestled in the woods. I wore my forest green ski-jacket with a sweatshirt layered underneath it. It was roughly 30 degrees on a serene morning in southeastern Pennsylvania.

I observed my thoughts, quieted my mind, and gazed around at nature. Occasionally a few birds would flutter by and the heron did make another guest appearance, soaring above the river. Overall, there was minimum action: everyone was just waking up.

These days aren’t filled with excitement or drama, but are much needed days of solitude. It’s a period when I can hear myself and regenerate for the upcoming new year. I can reflect on which area of myself needs growth and which area needs to be abandoned. Nature calms the mind and heals the soul.

I flow down the trail and drift back to the beginning. My steps follow back to where they came from. Once you know the way, you never get lost. I’m almost back to where I belong.

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