Everyone blogs for a different reason; as a reader, it is my opinion that most blogs are products of a simple indulgence - look what I am doing, look what I have done. There's a term out there for it: Micro Fame. A way to selfishly share their lives without having to reciprocate and listen to others. The selfishness can easily be offset by reading other blogs, so essentially you get a bunch of people relating to others without interaction -- unless you comment each other, of course. I'm still amused by the "look what I'm doing every five minutes" style of blogging, even though I don't agree with bombarding people with so much useless information; I'm not really interested in knowing that you stubbed your toe 5 seconds ago and that your last fart smelled like bacon. It's interesting, though, that blogs have provided us the ability to know each other's intimate thoughts, yet still keep us at a safe distance, disconnected. It used to take effort -- a phone call or personal visit -- to find out how and what a friend was doing. Now, we place our emotions and experiences on a 24 Hour Buffet -- I've put it all out there... please take what you like, when you'd like.
I don't have a problem with this new system. In fact, it makes me all the more appreciative of the "old" ways; a phone call from a friend can make my day. And in cases of my dear friend Danielle, it is sometimes the only way to keep up with her trials and tribulations in another hemisphere. And her blog is something to admire, because it is also a great resource of how to survive when suddenly moving to Brazil in addition to her intelligent editorials and daily events.
Sometimes my own blogging was sporadic. I've always tried to keep the the right priorities: This is a blog about life, not a life about a blog. Quality over quantity.
Ultimately it comes down to this: This is a blog about my journey through grief and transition. Anyone that has lost a parent, or both, understands what an adventure it can be. The fact is that my journey will never end... it simply becomes a bit easier; I know how the path is paved, but sharp turns inevitably pop up whenever I think I know where I'm going.
Six years ago, I spent a week at the United States Naval Academy, in preparation to attend that prestigious institution. The competition was fierce, but I made it to the summer program, a good indication that I was on track to gain my admission. I wrote to my father, the Army man, every evening and detailed my experiences. He was so very proud that I had made it there. On the last day, we were subjected to yelling, questioning, and intense physical exertion -- your average boot camp stuff -- but most of us were spoiled 17 year old kids, so this was extreme. I just remember doing push ups as they mopped up the sweat and tears off the floor in front of me. Then, suddenly, we were sent outside to the main courtyard, greeted by the Navy band and the Dean. We were soaked in sweat, and now rain, yet we were overcome with so much pride... we freaking survived. I remember cheering, hugging strangers, and feeling euphoric. At the time, I considered it the proudest, most challenging time of my life.
A month later, I pressed my ear to my father's chest as his heart beat its final time. I planned the funeral and gave my eulogy to a standing room only crowd. I buried my parents together, after having held onto my mother's ashes for 12 years. The next few months became the most difficult challenge of my life.
I received the congressional nomination required for admission to the academy, but it no longer made sense to go. My only support was gone. Later, I got accepted to all the UC's that I applied to, but I found myself unable to go. New challenges -- a house, a business, a crash course in adult life -- all prevented me from going off to school.
I try not to use becoming an orphan at 17 as a scapegoat. But I cannot deny the catastrophic change it has caused in my personal development. There was a reason that I excelled at many jobs I once held, but never stuck with: It just wasn't where I was supposed to be. There was a reason I couldn't make house payments: I wasn't supposed to be a homeowner! (yet.) I just felt like I was living someone else's life. Even after being criticized by people I considered friends at the time, being told that my chances were gone, that I should find a trade and stick with it, etc etc... I made it. On the flipside, there are the friendships that have endured through all of this, that never doubted me. Those friendships make the naysayers hardly even memorable.
Five years later, I am here. I'm sitting in the UC Davis library, doing what I've only dreamed of: Putting off studying to write a blog post. Haha.
Every day I have my "I can't believe I'm here!" moments, and my friends always tease me for being the one that repeatedly asks, "Don't you just LOVE it here?" Finally, I am directing my own life. I am no longer having to react to circumstances beyond my control. I have choices, something I missed for a very long time. Best of all, I have the love of my life by my side.
The transition is over, and there is no longer any uncertainty.
I am retiring this blog.
But I'm still around, and I'll still receive comments. So if for any reason you want an update, let me know.
And if you're in town, we'll share a Cafecito con Leche.
Butchers, Nationalism, and Empathy
3 days ago