Captain’s Log 6,125
I was thinking about my value system yesterday. I think my values are in left field compared to most people. All the trappings of the American Dream have never really pulled at me. I had more fun fixing up a battered old Volkswagen van (creating an interior that seemed so cool at the time – complete with a beaded curtain that jinkled and jingled as we barreled down the road on our way to gigs). I wasn’t interested in having a house or nice things. I was deathly frightened of becoming a Stepford wife. That felt more like emotional lockdown than security.
I loved the road. I loved meeting all sorts of different people. I loved spreading my net as wide as possible. When life on the road ended, I found myself lost. I still miss those days. Traveling eight hours in a car to do a 2-hour show seemed normal. I loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute. I certainly did not enjoy dragging heavy sound equipment into my basement at 2:00 in the morning. That was the stinky part.
After that part ended, I continued to spread my net with jobs that kept me connected with tons of people when I moved to San Diego. I worked in two churches, a theatre company, at a large maritime museum, and now at another museum. There was a short 12-month stint with a corporate training company, but that went south. Hindsight has now unfolded the blessing in what I thought was a disaster at the time.
I lost three jobs after I moved to California. Every time, I came back stronger and more confident (after the anger, wailing, and despair wore off after a few days). The months between jobs were challenging. Staying motivated was really hard. Anyone who has ever been unemployed for more than a few weeks knows this. I knew I had to do something and that those unemployment checks wouldn’t last forever. I pieced together 4 part-time jobs to keep the wolf from the door, and life stayed on course. I had money for rent, food, entertainment, gas, insurance, etc. I had to keep a close watch on my calendar to know where I was supposed to be and when, but it all worked out. I also did a fair amount of gigs with an oldies band in San Diego as a guitarist and lead singer.
I wasn’t always happy. There were times when I thought choosing to be a Stepford wife might not have been so bad. I struggled with regret for not having a big job, owning a home, driving a decent car, dressing in expensive clothes, etc. I will admit that I avoided people from my past who had “made it.” I refused to go to class reunions because I couldn’t bear to be such a “loser.” The fear of disappointment in yourself is an evil bitch.
Regardless of the losses and the struggles, a fire was still burning somewhere. It was a wee flame that showed me there was still a way to express myself. There was still a lifeline to a community of interesting people who could relate to my struggles, appreciate my efforts, laugh at my jokes, sympathize with my losses, etc.
And that is how this online journal was born. It was born out a value system that wouldn’t allow me to settle for what did not serve me. It was born out of a value system that allowed me to be off-kilter…..quirky…..different. I found people like me and people unlike me. I tossed my net and came up with an amazing catch.
The world exploded with new connections shortly after I opened this journal back in 2003. I got my first “friend” about 10 days after I started writing. I was astonished! And then there were more. And more. And even now that Facebook (evil killer of decent writing) has taken over, I am still connected to the folks who used to write daily. Back in the day, it would take me at least an hour to pour through the writings of my friends. Now, only a few write regularly. But this is not about give and take. This is not about keeping score. I really do this for me.
I do this to keep my values in line. When you write, what lives inside your soul flows out. In other times, it was paper. Now, it’s here – where we read online every single day. I do this to find perspective. I do this to question who I am. I do this to examine my motives and choices.
And it all comes down to value. This is one thing I value. The people this has brought into my life are the real treasure. Blessings to each and every one of them. Whether they write or read, they matter to me. Lives connected. The net keeps spreading.