Rose in an October snowstorm, Denver
I owe most of the very stressful periods in my life either partly or wholly to my own overactive mind, my worries. But a year ago was by far the most stressful period I've ever had to deal with that was actually and truly precipitated by outside circumstances. 11 months ago today, I wrote this blog post, in which I detailed my rescue from acute homelessness, when my carefree road trip of last fall was cut short by the demise of my old Corolla. That misfortune ate up most of my savings and left me in a city where I had nowhere to sleep, no transportation, no income, and 2 acquaintances.
People ask me why I chose to live in Denver and this was why, it was by default, because I needed to start again from nothing, where I was. In that other post, titled, "Two down," I listed these four goals:
My current car, which is not, in fact, the car I bought a year ago (which car only lasted a few months)
Much of my story for the past year is the same story being lived by many Americans right now. I spent half the year unemployed. Of the period I was employed, half was at an 8-hour-a-week job, and half was at a full-time but temporary internship with no benefits. It is an incredibly grinding and confidence-destroying thing to be out of work for months on end. I thought somehow I'd be immune. I'd never had much job security even before the recession, and had no expectations. But something about applying for a hundred jobs without getting a single interview had me so low I could barely stand to look at myself in the mirror, as they say.
The Capitol building in Denver, sunset
But anyway. I got a job last month, a real job, in my field, with good pay and benefits, and there is not very much to say about the job. I am doing geology at a computer. There are no stories in it. But many of the preoccupations of my previous life have disappeared. I am ready to trade in my old, poverty-driven worries (How can I afford to get my pneumonia treated? How long can I drive a car that only has 3 cylinders firing?) for new, middle-class worries.
I don't know what middle-class people worry about. How can I afford to go to France? Should I put this money in my 401(k) or my IRA? This is what I imagine.
And then there is #4. I go about dating the same way I go about everything. That is, I do not sit back and wait or hope that things will work out, but set aside time for it, and put thought and care into it. As if it were schoolwork, or job hunting, or a backpacking trip. It is not in my nature to not put effort into something I want.
Speaking of nature. Me, taken by Kris
I get out and meet people, I try new things, I talk to strangers. I eat healthy and stay fit and organize parties. If if I have achieved nothing else, at least now I can boast of having a large circle of friends, and of being able to approach attractive women in bars without choking on anxiety. I have been on so many dates now that I've forgotten more women than I can remember. (Er. I hope none of them are reading this.) But I am firmly and unmistakably single and have been so for a very long time. My friends say they admire me for not falling into the first thing that comes along. I couldn't do that if I wanted to, and admiration is not on my list of things I crave, right now, but it's nice of them.
And there you go. No stories to tell right now, but I will be on the California coast with DP before the holidays, and I am looking forward to the geology as much as anything else. The rest of this post is photos I have taken in the past couple months with the new camera.
This is my roommate, Abby, at her flag football game. I had a roommate Jess, who moved to Fort Collins to go to school. So now I have a new roommate named Abby.
Some mountains that are a half-hour drive from my home
Rocky Mountain National Park, where DP and I went to see some elk
There was a snowstorm here a couple weeks ago that was the most beautiful snowstorm I have ever seen. The snow piled onto all the telephone wires and tree branches narrowly and very high like ribbons on edge, and was undisturbed by melting or wind all day.