An Unusual Love Affair

                A place is just a place; it’s nothing more than a geographical location, a spot on the map where latitude meets longitude.  At least that’s what we tell ourselves when it suits us.  But we still have connections to the places in our lives, some of us more so than others.  Whether it is a feeling of affection for our childhood home, the spot where we had our first kiss, our schools, or a favorite park bench to sit on while we feed the ducks, we care for it.  Whatever the place or the reason, we develop personal connections to the places in our lives. 
I've lived my entire life in the city of Reno.  Sure, I've traveled, I've been to Alaska a number of times, and obviously to California more times than I can count.  I've been to Canada, Mexico, Belize, and a hefty number of the states.  After every trip, I've come home to Reno.  I've considered moving to another place, expanding my horizons.  But there’s this funny thing about my horizons, I’m never happy with them unless they are outlined by the mountain ranges of the Sierra Nevada. 
Perhaps it’s Stockholm syndrome at this point, but I love Reno.  It’s the best place I've ever been.  I know I speak highly of Alaska, and some day, when I’m rich, I intend to have a summer home somewhere near Prince William Sound.  But I can’t see myself ever leaving Reno for good.  This is my home, and it always will be.  The mountains surrounding our little valley are like a fingerprint, nowhere else will ever look the same or compare to the Biggest Little City for me. 
Some of you may be asking yourselves why it is that I’m so attached to this town.  What is it, specifically, about Reno that has me anchored here so firmly?  Is it the city, maybe the insanely high ratio of bar to customer?  The fact that there is no set closing time of those bars?  Maybe it’s something else.  I would say the Truckee River plays a part in it (and it does) but those of you from places with real rivers would just laugh.  Perhaps it’s the burgeoning culture of the town; unique enough to be artsy and creative, yet traditional at the same time, thus catering to all ages and demographics.
Maybe it’s the hiking trails, the little secret spots out of sight in the hills and mountains around us.  Some of them have waterfalls, others have hidden lakes, and on Peavine there’s a small, concealed valley that’s heavily forested compared to the rest of the mountain.  Above it is a wide, open, plateau that (at the right time of year) is covered by wildflowers of the most vibrant colors you’ll ever see.  Off to the left, over- looking the small, hidden valley, and around a bend from the field of flowers, there’s a narrow ridge only wide enough for one person to comfortably walk.  On the end of the ridge is a small, old, gnarled pine tree; growing out of the rocks.  It’s the perfect size and shape to sit under and admire the view while being totally alone. 
Or is it the sun?  At this time of year, the sun is rising as I’m getting ready for work, and it’s setting as I’m driving home.  In all the places that I've been, and all the beautiful sights that I've witnessed, few have been able to compare to the blush of Reno’s sky twice a day.  I've seen the sunset (or sunrise) stretch across the entire sky at times, setting fire to every inch of atmosphere above the valley.  People take pictures of the sunset over the ocean, or between sky scrapers, and other people find those pictures striking and wondrous, but it’s just not right for me unless I can see the silhouette of Peavine, or the outline of the Lady of Mt. Rose framed in red, pink, purple, and orange. 
Then again, while Reno may be nothing more than a spot on the map, a home is something more.  A home is the place that you share with the people you love.  I may not have a large family and certainly not all of them live in Reno anymore.  But my parents are still here, and (as a recent medical scare showed me) they mean the world to me.  Then of course we take in to account my other family.  My friends have become so much more than just friends to me.  I spend more time with them than not, and I've built closer connections over the years with these people than many will ever experience in their lives.  Both of my families have, quite literally, saved my life on more than one occasion. 
So ultimately, what is it about this city, this pinpoint on the proverbial map, this place, my home?  What is it that has me locked in place, with no intentions of leaving?  Is it the bars, the culture, my families, the ground, the water, the air? 

It’s love. 

I love everything about it, from the dirtiest, grimiest gutter to the blindingly clean mountain peaks after a winter storm.  I love the creek that we call a river, with the broken dam at Ambrose Park.  I love the fact that when one bar closes at 2:00am, I can walk to the one next door, and that bar will still be open.  I love the way the sky smolders like the apocalypse is moments away, twice a day.  I love the hidden, natural treasures that can be found by simply picking a direction and walking.  And I love the memories that I've made, but not as much as the memories that I know still can be.

I owe my life and my love to this city, and I won’t leave it until I've paid that debt, and if I have my way, that’s a goal that will never be reached.


The Stresses of Complacency

Lately, my head hurts.  I've been so stressed out the past year or so, it’s been wearing on me.  Yet I don’t do anything about it.  I've become complacent with my annoyances, just floating from day to day, “dealing with it”.  But through every bit of dealing with it, I’m not actually solving any of the problems that are slowly driving me insane. 

It ultimately doesn't matter which of my annoyances I’m talking about:  I’m unhappy at work; I have a non-existent love life; I can’t seem to lose more than five pounds without immediately gaining it again; my creativity has been misplaced in some dusty old box in the attic of my mind; Aaron Rodgers is still not playing; I don’t make enough money to have a single dime left to my name by the end of the year. 

As Todd Snider once wrote:

“Tension, tension, tension is all that I know
I got tension out in traffic, I got tension in my office
I got tension and it's everywhere that I go.
Tension, tension, tension is all that I know
I got tension in my health food, tension in my exercise
Tension and it's everywhere that I go.
Tension, tension, tension is all that I know
I got tension in my classroom, I got tension in my courtroom
I got tension and it's everywhere that I go.

Most of these things, I know that I have the ability to change (hurry back Aaron!) but I can’t seem to find the motivation.  I tell people that I’m dealing with it, but I’m not.  I clearly want something to change, but the thought of actually going through with it terrifies me.  I've been single so long that I’m scared shitless of starting to date again and I've been at the same job for so many years that the thought of starting a new one has my ass cemented to the chair in my cubicle.  Losing weight doesn't scare me, but getting home after a long day and doing absolutely nothing is one of my last, stress-free, safe havens. 

I know in my last blog I mentioned that it was time for a change, and it is (so far so good on cutting back on alcohol!).  But as I've slowly been realizing throughout the years, acting upon a desire to change is much more difficult than just having the desire.  Still, somewhere, somehow, and sometime soon, I need to force myself to make a change. 

I keep telling myself that I’m waiting for the new year before trying anything new, but I’m not sure why.  Why should I wait, what’s so special about 12:01 am January 1st as opposed to 11:59 pm December 31st?  It’s just an excuse for procrastination, and not a good one at that. 

Procrastination is something that I've struggled with for so long that it was practically a dirty word in my house, growing up.  Nonetheless, as my parents learned (much to their frustration) when trying to teach me not to procrastinate, I have a tendency to put off doing something until the last possible second.  I would wait so long to do something that my parents would give up hope that I would ever change.  Then one day I would get up and take action, mercilessly and without hesitation. 

I've always had the desire and the know-how to make things better, and I believe I've always had the motivation too; it’s just that there’s so much of it that it moves slowly.  It’s like a glacier, it may take forever to get to where it’s going, but when it does nothing’s going to stop it.  For now though, the motivation to change just hasn't shown up.  Will I find the guts to do something this year, or will I have to wait another 14 days or longer?  I suppose only time, and my own impulses, will tell.  


Starts and Stops

            Hi everyone, I’ve been away from here for a long while.  And I certainly am not going to pretend that I can promise you that I’ll be making any kind of a legitimate return to blogging.  However, I still enjoy doing this from time to time, so here’s my newest entry…

            I’ve had a rather introspective couple of days recently, realizing that I used to a very open person, never afraid to share my thoughts or emotions, and somewhere along the line, that aspect of my personality has pulled a 180.  I’m now a rather closed off person, I don’t show my emotions or share my past or anything else of the sort nearly as often as I used to (except with a very select few).  The one place that this isn’t true is in my writing.  Whether it’s writing for this blog, jotting down notes on a random piece of notebook paper in my room, or some of my stories that I write and then don’t share, writing is the only way that I open up.

            That being said, I haven’t been writing recently.  I haven’t written a full story in years, I haven’t done a blog entry in months, and the last time I sat down to write something in a notebook I ended up making a pre-draft ranking of Fantasy Football players.  I think it’s time to change this trend.

            I love to write, it’s my passion, and it’s quite literally my only legitimate means of self-expression.  Something has been stopping me from writing.  Whether it was just that I was miserable at work, or that I have been too absorbed in football, or something else, I don’t know exactly.  However, Macklemore says that alcohol (and other substances) killed his creativity, that he lost all motivation and simply stopped chasing his dreams.  I don’t want to do that, so if giving up those things helped him, I’ll give it a shot for a while and see if it helps me too. 

            Don’t panic, I’m not going to give up partying completely, not yet.  But I am going to cut back some.  I know there are plans for New Year’s and some plans around Christmas time, and I’ll partake in those.  But in between those times and afterward, I’m going to see what it’s like to not do that for a while.  I’m hoping that it will allow me to write more and regain my creativity.  It also will come with the added bonus of weight loss, I hope.