“And maybe? I’ll find out?
A way to make it back someday.
To watch you -- to guide you --
Through the darkest of your days.
If a great wave should fall --
Fall upon us all?
Then I hope there’s someone out there
Who can bring me back to you!
If I could? Then I would!
I’ll go wherever you will go!
Way up high? Or down low?
I’ll go wherever you will go! …”
I hope to post a full recap of my week in Puerto Rico at some point over the next week or so. Given that over the next week, I have two job interviews, two great friends (at least) from Sioux Falls coming in for one (guaranteed) week of drunken debauchery, a great friend at “former employer”’s retirement bash, and the holiday all coming in the next seven days, I’m not betting on that occurring immediately.
But I wanted to post my favorite moment of the trip, and why.
And that moment … was damned near the last memorable one, of the journey.
On Sunday morning, after one amazing Saturday night dinner, I stumbled out of bed about 9am Island Time. (Or 8am KC time, for the time zone challenged.) I showered, got dressed * , and headed outside for a bit to see what the day looked like. Charlie, the “less than friendly” dog upstairs, was somehow always friendly to me. He never barked even once, when I’d head out first thing to survey the day the entire almost week I was down there. He barked at everyone … other than me. I have no idea why ** .
After a few minutes surveying the day, I headed back inside, grabbed a glass of water, and pulled up the laptop to survey what happened around the world the night before. (I suppose this is where I note any morning spent going to Drudge and not seeing “Trump Launches (Insert Military Weapon Here)” as the 72-font headline, is a moral victory in my book.) And once the rest of the house got going, it was decided we were going to go to the last place I would see in Puerto Rico on this trip, the “aquedad de naticion”.
“The Swimming Hole”.
Call me crazy -- and I’ve certainly been called worse -- but hitting up an “aquedad de natacion” on a 95 degree day … seemed reasonable and sane.
Who was I to know … that said trip to the “aquedad de natacion”?
Would be the most reasonable and sane moment, I’ve ever felt in my life.
(*: I know this is one my rules in life, and God bless, does it apply in Puerto Rico. “Any time you wake up, and putting a shirt on seems like the most (mentally challenged) thing you’ve ever heard of? Is a perfect Stevo Day!” Every day at this time of year in Puerto Rico? Is a PERFECT Stevo Day!”)
(**: this is an absolute lie. The dog liked me because I brought him a Beggin’ Strip every time I stepped outside.)
There are a lot of things you can say about me. Most of them will be negative, and probably all of them will be true ... and sadly, that is an absolute true statement.
My life -- and I swear, my closest friends can confirm this! -- my life should be like a textbook for everyone else’s life, on who NOT to be. Save for my amazing talent at sitting in the sun and drinking, t-shirt nowhere in sight? I’ve failed at damned near everything I’ve ever tried.
I live in the shadow of friends whose lives should inspire me … only I don’t really desire any part of what they have. (Namely, I don't want kids. Sweet merciful Lord Jesus, can you imagine how f*cked up a kid of mine would be?)
I live in the shadow of a brother I almost worship, I admire him so much … and yet, I wouldn’t want to be him either. (There's something to be said for making it home every night.)
I have two amazing, incredible sets of parents -- both real and “adopted” -- who I love, cherish, and would give my life for. And yet, I still somehow feel I fail them every chance I possibly can, no matter how much they all assure me I’m not a failure.
My personal anthem in life is Gavin DeGraw: “I don’t wanna be anything? Other than me!” And yet even that feels like a lie, because who would want to be someone who for the better part of adulthood, has been an abject failure, an abject idiot, the gold standard of “see that guy buddy? Don’t ever turn out like him!” disgrace?
And that, I suppose, is why the moment meant so much to me.
The moment, I planted my ass on top of a concrete wall dividing the “aquedad de naticion” from the waterfalls above and below … and took five seconds, to simply look, around what I planted said ass, on.
(My View. Photo: me, via my iPhone 7 something.)
June 25, 2016, I am sure I spent being miserable in the office … at a job that a year later, I not only no longer have, but was paid thousands of dollars to go away from. It was a day I am sure I hated where I lived … and a year later, I live in a part of town (Waldo), I’ve wanted to call home for the better part of a decade. I used to always remember The Ex’s birthday (June 25th). I totally forgot it was Sunday until Chris mentioned it before we headed out for the day.
Nothing about my life made sense a year ago, other than none of it was good, none of it was healthy, and none of it was propelling me forward. And nothing about my life makes sense a year later, other than all of it is good, all of it is healthy, and all of it is propelling me forward at this point.
That’s what a small, simple, “wait, Stevo’s scared of heights *** , what the f*ck is he doing sitting on a freaking waterfall ledge?!?!?!” moment means to me.
For the first time in a damned long time?
I felt like a success.
(***: this is an absolute truth. I am terrified of heights. The first stop we made on Friday, at the waterfall you can climb up and get into, it took me fifteen minutes and a few prayers, to make the hike. But I did it:
(photo: Chris, via my iPhone 7 something.)
This past week in Puerto Rico meant a lot to me. And yeah, trust me kids -- once you turn forty, you begin to look back at the life you’ve lived, versus the life you desired. I’m not upset with the life I’ve lived -- I made every decision, every choice, and I have attempted to own every consequence -- the good, the bad, and the (far too often) ugly.
But what this week meant to me, is that for the first time, I don’t feel married to my past. I’m not who I was ten years ago, five years ago, even one year ago.
I’m not who I was three months ago, or even three days ago.
Sitting on that concrete wall, the meaning of my personal anthem in life finally hit me. “I don’t wanna be anything? Other than me!”
And for the first time since I first heard that song pushing fifteen years ago?
The words actually applied to me ...