Crossing the Continental Divide

Posted Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nearly two weeks ago, I left Chicago behind. I had lived there for 27 years so this was no small move. The sun, the ocean, and the hills of California called me as they’ve been calling me for years. I finally packed up my car and started the journey west. 

On my journey, I spent time with family and friends and slowly worked my way west. Last night, I arrived at my destination—Southern California. The journey was an adventure to remember for a lifetime—the chance to see America in a new way—but one moment from my journey stands out: the Continental Divide at Independence Pass. In the US, the continental divide is a geologic feature—a line down the middle of the rockies—where all water on one side of the line flows into the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side it flows into the Pacific Ocean. 

Metaphorically, in our lives, a continental divide is the moment where, when you cross it, everything goes in a new direction. We’ve all had these moments—the day you sign the lease on your first apartment, when you cross the threshold of your first job and start making your own money, getting on a knee and asking your love to marry you, saying yes to said question, quitting the job that is sucking your soul, getting on that plane to travel internationally for the first time, starting your own company, signing your name for 30 minutes to own your first home, and the list goes on and on. These are the moments where we have understandable fear but we move ahead anyway. We don’t know exactly what is on the other side but we move forward boldly.

As I approached the continental divide this past week, I noticed that some of its features also seem to coincide with this metaphorical divide. 
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Do Scary Shit

Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do something that scares you every day. ~Mary Schmich

I'm in Athens today and I'm scared. I saw a police officer in full riot gear on my Uber ride back to my Airbnb last night. My driver seemed to slough it off like it was no big deal as he said that "this here is the anarchist's area." Umm...Cool. 

I realized that I'm doing a lot of scary stuff lately. Scary for me anyway. 

I left Chicago last November and traveled for six months. Since returning in May, I have been all over the eastern US and northern and Southern Europe. I calculated that over 80% of my days have been spent in a bed other than my own. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago with no clue what continent I was on. I was in my own bed.

My changes in Chicago may be the scariest. I ended a long term relationship and set out on choosing singleness for a period of time in my life. This is scary for me because I've rarely been single. I'm what you would call a serial monogamist. Since the age of 16, I have had a significant other for all but 9 months of my life. I have no idea what to expect from it but I can tell you that it feels damn uncomfortable.

In a typical life, we run into the same things, the same roads, the same foods, the same relationships—all with an occasional step into the unknown as we meet a new friend or take a new path to work. In this new reality that I'm creating for myself, however, every day, every moment, can be an adventure. 

There are good reasons why most people don't do this. 

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Heading Towards the Pile of Goo

Posted Thursday, May 12, 2016



I used to be smart. Really smart. My life depended on it. My inner life anyway. I competed with my classmates in physics and calculus to get the highest score each exam. As a young leader in business, I needed to have the best idea, the best team, the most innovative take on the idea. And I often thought I did.

I had learned as an adolescent that if I knew the right answer, I would garner praise from all the important people in my life. I was told that if I worked hard and got good grades, I would get a good job. I was told I would get promoted if I got the advanced degree or if I knew how to do all the right things better than anyone else.

This all worked out just as they had said. I was the A student. I got the good job. I got promoted. I led big teams of people. It worked.

Until it didn’t.

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