Monday, August 15, 2011


Writing is among the things I do best. This is not to say that mine is any better or worse than anyone else’s writing (qualifying my craft is a job for those who read it), but it is absolutely a reflection on something I am very comfortable with. Through the written word I can access parts of my psyche that are otherwise difficult to reach. It could be that it slows my thinking down enough to actually be cognizant of my thoughts as they parade through my mind… or it might be that the part of my brain used to compose these symbols is not the same as my real-time, on the fly and instantaneous part… or it might be something altogether different. I suppose if I were to sit down and examine that phenomenon through my writing, the exercise would reveal insights, but that is not my purpose tonight.

Tonight I am decidedly not comfortable. And writing brings me a sense of ease that few other things do. Since my world tonight is upside-down, writing about it is a source of solace that I am usually reluctant to engage, but it always brings relief. Tonight I find myself in a new city in a new state at a new school embarking on a new goal. Almost everything familiar, including the geography, the weather, the time zone, my family, my friends and especially my girlfriend are still in California. Furthermore, while certainly not in the same class as the people I love so much, I had to leave my Harley behind, too. But since its benefit is largely reliant upon the Northern California roads I am so familiar with, my bike might actually cause me more stress here than meditative comfort. But I digress…

This is about change. Major change. And though I signed up for it and knew this was coming, the cold hard reality is just that - cold and hard. I have felt this before, many years ago when I was just out of high school. I left the home of my childhood to go to school in San Diego. I was unprepared for the isolation I felt in every respect but one; I was just 20 years old and far more resilient. Now 49, I have embarked on an adventure better suited for a much younger person. Exciting? Of course. Intriguing? Absolutely. But I have left a far more entrenched and established life and network than I could have possibly attained at 20. My past experience tells me this discomfort will get better. Not in respect to missing my home and friends and most profoundly, my girlfriend – that angst will remain prominent, but in time I will establish profession relationships and personal friendships here. That, however, will take some time.

In the meantime, I am struck with the wisdom of age without the resilience of youth. There is, however, another distinct difference between this move and past others. In the past, I was not so much moving toward the positive as I was moving away from the negative. What I left behind was not much and the discomfort felt upon arriving was no worse than the stagnation I felt prior to. This time there was nothing to run from. But Baton Rouge is where LSU, the school that offered me the opportunity of a lifetime, is and this is where I must be for many months out of the next three or four years… it can’t happen anywhere else. In this case, it is not a choice between the lesser of two evils, but rather a temporary sacrifice that I willingly undertook to advance my professional credentials. That will, in turn, positively influence mine and my family's security when I am finished. It will also place me in a job so satisfying that it will hardly feel like work.

But change is still uncomfortable and major change is majorly uncomfortable. Human nature tends to resist change and I am nothing if not human. Eventually I will become more used to the situation I have placed myself, but I am afraid that leaving those who love me and whom I love will always remain heavy on my heart. Reunions will be frequent, but bittersweet, as each will be accompanied by yet another departure at some point until this goal is completed, at which time, of course, a new challenge and more change, probably major change, will come again. This never gets easier, but at least this time it represents an advance, not a retreat. Seems like that should help, but it doesn’t…