Friday, March 30, 2007

Gratitude 3/30/07 -- Five Years in Tucson

As of yesterday, I have been in Tucson for five long, hot, sweaty years. I often haven't been happy to be here during that time -- I do not like heat or the lack of rain. But something has shifted during that time as well, making me grateful that I made the move.

I moved down here for a relationship that was most likely doomed from the start. Despite that, I learned a lot from that time and I no longer regret leaving Seattle, as much as I often miss the Emerald City.

When I moved down here, I thought about coming to Tucson as my metaphorical 40 Days in the desert -- an opportunity to discover who I really am aside from all the expectations I had placed on myself in trying to conform, at least a little, to what society expects of a "man."

But I am not a conformist, and I have always struggle to accept that truth and reject all the outer ideals of who I should be. I have a subpersonality who wants nothing more than to be accepted and liked by others -- and, consequently, he is willing to sell the rest of who I am down the river to get what he wants. Learning to integrate him into my sense of self and still be true to who I really am has been a part of the learning experience for me.

More importantly, moving down here -- to an awful and underpaid job market -- forced me to get serious about doing work I love. I became a personal trainer, and I began to write children's books for educational publishers. The training job is great and I have never been happier in my work. I just finished (last night) a book for McGraw-Hill on a topic that I am passionate about. Things are good.

The best part, however, is that while the relationship that brought me down here failed -- predictably, it would seem in retrospect -- I have since met someone else with whom I am much more compatible. Things are still new between us and we are moving slowly, but it feels right in ways no other relationship ever has.

So, five years into my 40 Days in the desert, I am grateful for the life I have created here. I have wonderful clients, an opportunity to write, and a relationship that makes me happier than I can ever remember feeling. I never would have guessed that this would be my life when I left Seattle on a rainy March night and began the long drive to Tucson.


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