Go North, young man

As a young man, I remember reading from The Empty Hourglass, the book written by my Opa to chronicle his life. While his adventures make mine look quite tame in comparison (I’ve never been shot down (twice) or encountered cannibals) I’ve found a source of inspiration in his words and lust for life’s uncertainties.

   “When you begin to feel your stomach turn, that’s when you know the odds are even”

He wrote those words, quoting his father; a reputed big game bounty hunter that would be commissioned to eliminate destructive wild animals that had terrorized communities. From man-eating tigers to deranged bull elephants, he bridged the gap between man and nature; keeping the unsteady boundary between man and beast with a single bullet.

He hunted with just one bullet because he believed it ‘evened the odds’ between man and animal. Frankly, if my great Opa can hunt a tiger only one bullet in the chamber, I highly question America’s need for AR-15’s…but that’s a story for another blog.

Over the past few years, I’ve settled in to San Francisco and have had several years of bliss, joy, laughter, and dance. The time has been so very sweet. Countless moments have found me recollecting the joy I’ve found since moving to the city.

Yet, all things change. I felt a tug at my heart that something needed to change. In my uncertainty, I explored lots of options but never found the right time/place to act on them. Most recently, I had pondered the idea of moving back to Ohio to spend more time with my family.

A lot of options without a selection is really unsettling, and I found myself growing weary in San Francisco. The fast pace of the city makes it hard to catch your breath and I’ve become very tired after several years of Bay area living.

Sometimes life presents you with a ‘moment of clarity’ that seems to align your questions, doubts, and fears. This moment occurred while serving at a local homeless shelter in Portland, OR, during the Expensify holiday week.

I met a man there who shook me up with his joy and love of service for others. We worked alongside each other in the serving station, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the way he spoke to those he was serving. It was like a beacon of hope in a very dark world.

Serving food, I grew very quiet and found it hard to look others in the eye. Call it conviction or simply recognition; something in me realized I needed to come back and make this shelter a regular part of my weekly activities.

When the volunteering was over, I quickly changed and made my way to the Expensify holiday party; a lavish difference was obvious between the homeless shelter (which ran out of food) and the extravagance of the party was very obvious.

That’s when it clicked; I can have my cake and serve it, too. Volunteering with the local homeless community wouldn’t require me to quit the tech job I’ve grown to love. Rather, there are people within Expensify that are equally passionate about service to others and I felt the tug to throw my hat in with them.

Thus, it is with a heavy heart (but a very clear mind) that I’ve decided to relocate to Portland, OR and begin a new adventure in a city I’ve only visited twice, moving into an apartment I’ve only seen through pictures.

I really don’t know the outcome of this new adventure, nor can I forecast just how much I will hate the rainy weather. Yet, my heart and my mind seem to have agreed this is the right direction to go and I look forward to the next few weeks of transition.

It’s been said that a man’s suffering begins when he finds the one he loves, because he subconsciously knows he’s saying no to all others. In this case, I feel a tremendous sense of peace for making a clear decision and eliminating all other possibilities of my next living situation.

Until the wheels fall off, baby…next stop, Portland!

  • I want to congratulate you on a tough decision, however, in defense of SF. you didn’t HAVE to do everything. It is possible to SLOW down here. That said, Portland is awesome and quirky and will welcome you with open arms. Here is to finding yourself there. Peace, Suzie

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