On March 9th, I returned to San Francisco. It will always be a place I call home, or at least a home base. I'm very fortunate to be here and have what I have, however small or grand. At a minimum, having a feeling and connection to some place I know and that suits who I am is a good
place to be.
Tulum is also a place I'd like to call home someday, at least part time. I'm not sure at this time I'd want to be in either place full time, all the time.
The wheels have been spinning; the spirit has been churning.
I've had no grand epiphanies; there have been no jarring culture shocks.
But there have been some subtle shifts in me: seeds long dormant stir hopefully at the promise of coming into the light. A trite metaphor, but it'll have to do for the moment.
I came back to not only earn money but to reflect on the experience I just had...and to determine a course from there. It had been my plan all along.
I had many conversations with many people in Tulum. A young woman asked me one evening with a wry smile, "What do you want?" It was a really simple question and one I could not answer at the time. It was easier to identify what I didn't want than what I did.
An odd place to be...that was where I was. It's felt like that for a long time. I don't think there's anything unique in the implicit complacency that people find themselves in where they keep doing what they are "supposed" to be doing, living lives that encourage a disconnect from what they want and need to be doing for themselves. There is a kind of comfort - and stasis - in living that way. There is nothing wrong with that.
But, I'm resistant to the pull of that seeming inevitably. I am middle-aged apparently (oh shit!) and I still have a great deal of vim and vigor and pep in my step, more than most. But there comes a time when we either resign ourselves to certain realities and inevitabilities, or we fight for something else within our grasp.
For better or worse, we toil in what we are taught to value. Even a casual glance at the news appears to indicate that what we are taught to value and the structures we've had an investment and faith in aren't all they're cracked up to be. Fissures in our infrastructure and our thinking are becoming a little too obvious to ignore. Substantial changes will become necessary in our species' thinking and action as we careen steadily toward a world filled with innumerable crises.
And there is not app that can be written for that.
"Life is full of solutions," as a good man in Tulum reminded me.
I have currently not secured employment in which I have the power and position to change the world, but I am willing and able to fight for something I have in mind, in heart...for me.
I found a trajectory I'd like to follow, a path I want to forge...it's been a running subtext in all of my potentially pretentious blog entries. I've identified and have been saying it to myself for a couple of months now.
It's funny: it's not like I fear saying it, but maybe I fear saying it and not doing it. Trying and failing is one thing I can contend with; not trying and the failure in not trying is something I'm not interested in being invested in anymore.
Maybe what I dream is too sweet a dream?
To borrow a rose by another name, the mind is trap we can find ourselves in, in which we battle ourselves and others.
I've "overthunk" the issue ad nauseum, and there is another kind of stasis that you can occupy by over-processing much of what you come upon.
Since I've been back, I've been working on a remodel project almost nonstop. It's been good and hard, and physical...and humbling. I've done some of this kind of work before: some skills I have or can pick up relatively quickly. Other tasks have proven to be harder to do and would take time to master. It's been valuable to learn how to demolish and then rebuild something and that's been a more potent metaphor lately, and one I will have to take to heart more fully. Just not in the building trades, but in a realm more suited to me.
I'm a thinking man; I'm a working man...and some other things as well.
One irony I've come upon while doing this work is that many Mexican immigrants-illegal or otherwise-come to the US and end up doing this kind of work. They want a better life and to earn more money. Oftentimes, they send money back to their families. An enormous amount of money goes back to Mexico in this manner.
And here I am doing this kind of work to earn money in order to go back to Mexico to make a sweeter life for myself.
I do know what I want, what I want to build for myself.
And that dream involves being both in San Francisco...and Tulum.