I’m all kinds of excited to be returning to Austin in a few days. We all have several "turning points" in our lives that we can define, and I can easily say that my Austin experience was one of the most positive in my life. I was completely in the closet until I moved there, and gained a support network of friends that didn’t know me as "questionably straight Earl." I was able to start fresh, and see if my fears had any basis in reality, and I was proven wrong. Of course, I’d be fooling myself to attach to all of the good and label that "Austin," and chase after that. But there was a ton I didn’t do while I was there, and having come full circle come November 19th, it will be a good moment to reflect on the change a year has brought. I’m proud of myself, to be honest. A few years back I would NOT have seen myself having done what I have done, and I would definitely be pleased with myself in many ways. Funny that I can still find things that I don’t like. Uphill on the treadmill…
Austin Checklist/Plans/New Years Resolutions/Whatever (to be updated)
– Learn an instrument. I’ve always wanted to do it but never find the energy or time to do so…Honestly I think I just have an attachment to the image of the charismatic musician but also it would be a fun skill to try and master because I’ve never done it before and might actually enjoy creating in that fashion. I’ve no idea on the type of instrument; only that it be an inexpensive one and wierd. Like the pan pipes or something.
– Learn to draw. Drawing talent runs in the family, of that I have no doubt. I was pretty active at it when I was younger, but let it go for whatever reason. I can draw what I see fairly well, but somewhere between my mind and paper things I pull from memory get shredded and mangled. It comes to constant practice, I suppose…But I’d love to draw fantasy art, in particular.
– Improve my photography skills. I’m still delving into the guts of my camera…Learning how to not only use, but how to even find the depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed options. I want to become semi-professional, so I need to practice more. I think I have an eye for quality, but remain lacking in the technical aspects of the field. Everytime I browse some of the albums Livejournal Photophile
members possess, I feel green with envy. And it’s not their cameras that make that difference, its skill and experience. But I think that’s something I can learn pretty quickly.
– Learn a new language. I still intend to travel more…New Zealand was a baby step, to be honest. First world, modern, English-Speaking, all modern amenities…My next travel experience I want to be a little more challenging. And right now I’m torn between Asia and Latin America…But that’s far off (say, 2011).
– Make money. I weary of scraping by and feeling like a mooch. I want to be able to not check my bank account if I want to order takeout or feel guilty when a friend offers to pick up the tab. Or pick up the tab myself and not have to check my bank account. You get the idea. However, I refuse to give in and lock myself into a career that demands I give up flexibility and freedom for material comforts. Bad trade. So it’s up to me to decide what sort of side/self employment options will allow me to continue my free spirited lifestyle and get my bank account some padding, to boot!
X – Casual flings. I don’t want to date. I admit I haven’t given it enough of a chance…But frankly, I’m afraid I WILL find someone and my current goals will be turned around, because it happened last time and the re-redirection towards my original ideals are what killed the romance. I’m selfish and I admit it. But I also happen to like companionship sometimes. So I’m going to give "friends with benefits" a try once I get back to Austin, and see if that doesn’t balance things out a bit. I wasn’t up for that at all when I was there last year, but then being in a relationship, it didn’t matter to me. But now I have some inkling of what I want, and more than a few of my friends have suggested I try that half-measure until I decide what’s really right for me, so maybe it’s worth a shot.
– Learn a martial art. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do. More chasing after self-image, and very un-Buddhist of me (not that I’m a Buddhist). But sometimes learning things because they’re cool is fun.
– Have a plan. For you know. Life. Still working on this one.
– Improve my meditation. Learning at the sides of two senior monks was a great way to start things off. I feel I’ve a solid platform, but now I’m seeing I’ve a long climb to go. I thought I’d made a ton of progress until I returned stateside…Sort of like in the cartoons where the main character, exhausted, grabs ahold of the final ledge, thinking he’s climbed the mountain…And upon pulling himself up, see’s the actual peak piercing the clouds in front of him.
– Have a supernatural experience. I want to believe. But I have no basis for it. Ghosts. Aliens. Whatever. I think there must be something to it, considering the numbers, time, and energy people put into it. But then, we’re hardly the most logical of creatures. Either way….
– PDF!!! (and no, not the document file..) Jeremiah and Maria got me into this one. I cant say much about it until I go, but I liken it to a mega-hippie camp of free expression and "radical participation." I’m excited.
– Ragnarok. I miss hitting people with foam swords.
– Tudong Part II. I want to go vagabonding again; possibly next summer. Somehow, I might be able to tie it in with Ragnarok, depending on how much time I have. It will almost certainly be stateside this time, which should be interesting. The "where" of it, however, is very much up in the air. After reading "Life in the Mississippi," by Mark Twain, the Mississippi Valley surrounding area sounds like a fine place to do it, although yes, I do know its not 1880, or whenever it was he wrote that book. The Appalachian Trail was recommended as well…I’ve also been meaning to do an East Coast Nostalgia Tour of all of the cities I used to live in growing up…Hmmm…Decisions, decisions…
This list is indeed subject to change and updating as time progresses. Stay tuned!