Late Night Ramblings of the Between Man
So, I once started an account on Medium whilst living back on the family farm after college because I thought I no longer have a direct outlet to share my thoughts and ideas. Joke was on me, however, as I may not have ever directly had such a thing. What I did have, in a constantly flexing and growing form, was a group of friends around me who would listen and bounce ideas back to me on a regular basis. And I am realizing, more and more, that this constant group has, well, dissipated. Not to say I no longer have friends (not that at all), but I no longer see a certain amount of them on a regular schedule. What I will write following now will be the thoughts and emotions that have haunted me for weeks, each night screaming for attention as I try to fall asleep. Which is also why I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning, because they just won’t go to sleep before me.
Alright, let’s start at the beginning. No, not childhood, or the end of my schooling, but the beginning of this year. On January 2nd (or was it the 3rd…) of 2016 I was doing my family’s annual trip at the end of the holidays to bring my brother half way back to Idaho so he could finish school for the year (long story, not telling it here). On the way out I started to write a goal list for the year. I wrote things such as “Read one new book per month” and “Learn either German or Biblical Greek/both if feasible.” I am going to spoil the surprise now, I have fallen on my face for both goals. Not even close, although I can say “Ich spreche ein bischen Deutsch.” Correct if I am wrong there. I am sidetracking myself. Also on that list I had written “Reconnect with old friends I no longer speak to.” That goal, by far, is the one I have accomplished the least. I did try that day to send a message to few friends, who never responded because it probably came across as a drunk New Year’s text (hold on, it was New Year’s that we made the trip). Or maybe it was because we had not spoken in years and the message just seemed like a formality. Either way I dropped the ball.
Fast forward to early August. I have made plans to move back down to the cities so I can be closer to school, because I will be starting Seminary in a few weeks, taking night classes while I work off my previous debt. I move down a few weeks prior so I can settle into my new work position before classes start rolling hard and fast. I spend my first week quietly, not really telling many people I am around, mostly watching whatever television the antenna picks up because my roommate and I haven’t gotten internet yet. It was a quick, quiet, and oddly lonely week. I missed my family and having someone at home after work to spend time with (I still have that, just not always regular — see the pattern here). That Friday I went home for the weekend, hoping to spend one last weekend with my family before school started and we were apart again. We had my cousin’s wedding that Saturday, and my father had his 30 year class reunion that night as well. We went to the reception and spent some time there, and then my brother and I went home while our dad went back to his class reunion. When I got home I stated looking through my old yearbooks again. I was kind of a shut-in/that shy quiet kid people know but don’t usually say much to, so only my senior year book had a lot of messages in it. But I read them all, some a few times because we are in the age of typing where handwriting is becoming more of an art than a regular occurrence. I sat there on our living room floor, remembering all the people I had spent time with that last year and summer after high school, and all the promises of “keep in touch!” I had wondered what happened, but, after some digging around, discovered it was mostly because I had left a lot of conversations without an answer over the past few years. I didn’t try to respond or start any new ones that night, because I usually prefer to overthink what to say before I send anything, which most often ends with no message at all.
So, dead set and determined, I planned on getting back in touch with people that week. Without internet or phone data or the certainty of people still have the same phone numbers. So, I went to Caribou on Tuesday. I had some work/school things to take care of, so I did that first. Then I tried reaching out to people. Slowly but surely, I ran out of determination. I had tried to late, in a sense. One large hope of mine for moving down here was to be close to old friends again. I found out that most had moved closer to home, or were busy. I still have my college friends here, which is nice. But I do have to admit that they are all further along in the stages of life than I am, having jobs they enjoy, getting married, having children. I’m just on cruise control, getting there as my pace brings me. It is a regret of mine, one brought on by choices I would not change, were I given the chance.
In short, I have mostly been feeling down about myself because I realized, hearing my dad talk about his reunion, that I don’t talk to anyone I grew up with anymore, save for Mark Thompson and Miles Riitters. I allowed myself, over the past 6–7 years, to shut down and shut out people. I know I was ignoring a lot of my own demons, and in the process I ignored a lot of good friends along the way. Hurt a few too, but that is something I would never write about on a blog. Mostly because those are regrets mostly meant to be healed one on one.
I’m writing this mostly to get my thoughts out. I don’t know if I will publish it; I will leave that to the cognizant me in the morning who usually knows better. If I do, I have promised myself I won’t edit it, aside from spelling of course.
This probably makes no sense to anyone reading. Good luck, and maybe I will do better next time.
August 30th, 2017
I’m sitting at Caribou again, only this time a bit further north as I have moved again. I have one year of seminary under my belt, have moved in with some new roommates closer to Bethel, and have spent some more time out and about instead of in my apartment.
I have just read through the upper and earlier portion of this writing. I look back and think of how distraught I was, how unsettled I felt about moving on to my next step and thinking, is this is? Not to say that moving to that/this step was a bad move. It has been very good so far, and most of the shortcomings are my own doing. Now that I have been away from home, not in a completely school-based setting, I’ve grown. I’ve changed. And for the better, I’d say.
Some part of me holds those regrets above. Probably always will, or at least for a while ahead of here. But I’m learning better how to let things go. Not completely, I’ll still try to reach out to people. But not getting a response back no longer has a sting to it. Not like it used to have.
I am actually pretty happy right now, at this point in life. I’ve shed the need to have someone with me to experience something new, or to go into a crowded place to find some entertainment. While it would be nice to share those times with someone, that need isn’t crippling anymore.
Which I take to be a sign of growth.
I am going to publish this now. No idea anymore where it goes, since I haven’t been on here in over a year.
As a goodbye, here’s this:
Go ahead, do what you were hoping to do today. Send that message, go to that show, get that cool pair of boots you were looking at. If they don’t respond, or it wasn’t as good as you thought it would be, or they rip up your feet, no problem. You did your part of the message. The show was still a good experience, in one way or another. And you can return those boots. It’s always worth a try.