Tag Archives: friends

Snow

It’s frozen water and air. There is a clarity that comes from all simple things. In the waxing complexity of my life, the simple things speak the loudest.

St Mary's road bitterroot, mt

Another good season begins.

Last weekend, Martin and I opened our the ski seasons on St. Mary’s (in the Bitterroot). Our bodies quickly remembered the easy rhythm of pushing skis uphill. Step, breath, step, breath. The closest common feeling is sitting in church. It’s a meditation. Quiet snow under foot, the smell of deep evergreen freezing deep in our nostrils. Perfect. Simple.

IMG_1017

avalanche pit, st. marys bitterroot, 11-23-14

Nov. 23, 2014 Avalanche pit. South aspect at 8000′ on St. Marys ridge. Numerous weak layers between 60-90cm from surface.

It is tempting to get caught in the drama of this world. The simple things cut it away.

For so long, I’ve defined myself by what I do. I have to change the way I think about myself in relation to the way I think about what I do to pay the bills. Some of the most put together people I have ever met have been unemployed or underemployed. I fear for them- and I know that my fear does nothing for them. In light of how I let my job both define me and consume me, their grace in that particular regard has always impressed me.

I should be grateful for having a job- but a lot of days I dread going to work because I feel like there is no way to win. There is no way for me to find peace with my career. There will always been more work than I can do. I will never ask the right questions, do the right things, or plan far enough ahead. I let the mistakes I make eat me alive, or at the very least, they crush my morale. You know all those quotes about all the great innovators failing a lot before they struck it big? I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got the guts for that. More often than not, my career has always been this evil nemesis in my life. I’ve never been able to master it, or even balance it. I’ve missed bluebird days, real friends in places of real need, and probably a relationship or two because I was more dedicated to my desk than my heart. Yet, paying the bills and “being a responsible adult” (e.g. saving for retirement,  compiling “professional experience”, etc.) can seemingly only be avoided for so long. There’s a balance there, and I’ve never even gotten close.

Seen at Costco.

Seen at Costco.

I spent most of this weekend stressed out and worried about how to make a major mistake at work come out right. I’m embarrassed to say that I also spent most of this weekend with 20 totally wonderful people that I feel deeply connected to. People that inspire the best in me. What did I accomplish in my worrying? Not much. What did I miss out on? Probably more than I will ever know.

Thanksgiving feast

So much to be thankful for- and this was less than half of it.. Don’t miss a morsel..

It is easy to think we have it hard, but the real fact is that most of the junk we deal with at the office is contrived. I know that it starts with me. It starts with remembering that I am not my work. That there is more to all of us than how we pay our bills. Indeed for most of us, the everything else is often the part that matters the most.

friends, sky, landscape, montana

These men matter.

I’ve said it before- the only real limits are the ones we create in our own minds. This time around- the only real problems are the ones we make in our own minds. Don’t let anyone, or anything, live inside your head for free.

Look Out for Yourself

“Skander, the most important thing is that you look out for yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.'”
(quote attribution withheld out of respect for the speaker)

…and sometimes the people whom you hope look out for you, simply can’t.

In general, I try pretty hard not to make enemies in life. Despite my best efforts, I’ll be leaving a few behind in this city. Clearing my life out of this city, I haven’t exactly included time for making amends. Today I stand humbled as new information sheds light on a situation I didn’t understand and in which I didn’t play my cards right. And in which I found I made an enemy. Maybe I should make amends, but maybe I haven’t because I’m not sure it’s mine to do. I’ll need to keep a careful eye over my shoulder as a result. Welcome to being an adult Skander.

To the person in today’s item- I publicly and sincerely apologize for my lack of foresight and lack of sensitivity.
To the others for whom I have failed to make amends- it is likely we are past apologies. Thank you for your lessons, for sharing this life together such that we might learn from each others mistakes. Thank you for any measure of forgiveness you may be able to offer.

Portland #3: Lessons

After an unexpected full week in Montana, I drove back to Portland today.  The time in Missoula was just what I was looking for, and it’s exciting to say: I’ve found housing and a new community that seems to welcome me with open arms.  This time, the trip to Portland isn’t returning to home, but rather to bring my sense of home to Missoula.  Yep, that’s right, I’m moving- now that I’ve published it on the blog, I’m committed.

Typical Missoula sunset. Awesome.

When I decided to come back from South America, I knew I wanted to be in a smaller community.  I want to know my neighbors, live close to the outdoors, and try something different.  I don’t have a job lined up there, and I only have a few months of savings left, but somehow this simply feels like the right thing to do.

Where else can two adults have a perfectly stellar time riding a carousel without anyone raising an eyebrow? (Thanks for Hannah for a fun outing!)

More than just my belongings, I look forward to bringing many important lessons with me from Portland to Missoula.

  • Be discerning about the people you spend your time with- your friends an excellent mirror for your character and direction in life.
  • In business, accountability is all that really matters.  Accountability=integrity=success.
  • Live your life on your terms and no one else’s- you are an adult, and you get to make the call on what that looks like.
  • Success is looking back with no regrets, and knowing the next thing you do will be the best thing yet.

I arrived tonight feeling very under the weather, so this post is shorter than I’d like.  Suffice to say it felt hard and scary to think of moving my stuff out of here, of leaving regular contact with so many wonderful friends behind.  This next step feels like the greatest adventure yet, and that doesn’t come without some discomfort.  I’ll look forward to seeing many people in my next few visits (I’m making two trips PDX<–>MSO), please be in touch if you are here in PDX.  A few photos from the week:

Even better than my beloved New Seasons...

Even Miss Rasa (daughter of my friends Jeremy and Crissie) gets involved with the recycling effort.