Twenty Twenty Too

Happy New Year! Let’s cut to the chase. I clearly haven’t been consistent with this blogging business. Quite honestly, the twisted mental vortex that the pandemic sucked me and most of the rest of us into can take a portion of the blame. I spent a lot of the last year wallowing in some self-pity and regret about what I didn’t do, but over the last several months A LOT has happened that has turned me around.

I am not prepared to commit to a regular posting schedule, but I do hope to reassess my online presence. In fact, I’m reassessing my entire life. This year I’ll have a milestone birthday, so it seems like the perfect time to put an end to this midlife crisis that’s been raging inside my head.

Susquehanna River and bridge in Confluence Park, downtown Binghamton, New York
Pre-autumn serenity in downtown Binghamton, NY

Let’s ponder that word, crisis. The dictionary has three main definitions, all of which could easily apply. “A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger” certainly seems to sum up the past couple years for much of the world, but currents of that existed for me prior to the pandemic.

“A time when a difficult or important decision must be made” is hitting close to the heart and soul for sure. “The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death” may be the best metaphor for my own crisis.

Point State Park and downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers converge.
Downtown Pittsburgh is gorgeous from Duquesne Hill

The disease isn’t COVID-19, but rather complacency, stasis, quiescence, disequilibrium, immobility, and inactivity. I’ve allowed these traits to seep into my consciousness and prevent me from reaching my full potential. It’s time to take a stand against that which no longer serves me.

I’m sorry for being vague, but in time it will be revealed. Let’s sum it up by saying a major life change will be forthcoming.

Stretch of empty sand dunes in Island Pines, Fire Island, New York
Perfect beach day on Fire Island, NY

This “world traveler” hasn’t been outside of the country since December 2019 when we returned from French Polynesia. Pandemic travel in 2020 involved drivable destinations with a focus on the outdoors. In 2021, my geographic reach expanded and I got back on an airplane, but only to visit family in Kansas. It had been one of the longest times I’d ever been separated from seeing my mom, who had to go through cancer surgery in that time.

Road trips have become the most reliable means of travel. They’re the closest equivalent to approximate that feeling I get from being in a new country or environment I’m unfamiliar with. It’s definitely not the same, but it is special in its own right.

Pride flags at Sheridan Square, Stonewall National Monument, New York City
Celebrating Pride 2021 at its birthplace near Stonewall Inn, New York City

Maybe I’ll elaborate on these destinations, but for now it’s just a list:

  • Solomons Island, Maryland
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Binghamton, New York
  • Ocean City, Maryland
  • McCook, Nebraska
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • New York City, New York
  • Patchogue, New York
  • Fire Island, New York
  • Lewes, Delaware
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Neosho, Missouri
  • Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Kent, Connecticut
  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Wheeling, West Virginia
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
66 Sculpture, Unity Park near the Bartlesville Community Center, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Bartlesville, OK: Home of the Phillips 66 oil company

We were supposed to be in Madrid for Christmas and New Year’s, but thanks to Omicron, our flights were cancelled and we decided to stay domestic once again. I promise to remedy this international deficit in time.

I’m very fortunate to have been able to work from home–a newly renovated one at that. Surrounding myself with a virtual community of like-minded compadres has helped renew my interest in a bigger picture. My bigger picture.

State Capitol building lit up at night, Jefferson City, Missouri
The Missouri State Capitol at night

For now, I’ll send this out to the universe with a heartfelt wish. May 2022 offer an alternative way of thinking for all of us. Equipoise.

National Road West sign and entrance to bridge, Wheeling, West Virginia
This was once the largest bridge in the world. Wheeling, WV

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