Late last month, I reached a strange moment of restlessness. It had been a long wintertime, a lot of adjustment faced with a seemingly new world, a lot of uncertainty laying waste to confidence in ideas about direction for life and the future itself. Overlayed on all this, the integration of all these new perceptions about my life and identity, and some degree of confusion and internal conflict in my reactions to all this novel world-and-life upheaval into new growth.
The recurring recognition that unwanted walls have been kicked down in my mind has gradually opened me to strangely new perceptions about myself, the new open air seems to smell like freedom, it appears to have let into my view then on into my life a deep serendipity, now in measure previously unknown.
I wanted to get out of my hermitage-like space of the past nine years, put myself closer to people, actualize some Internet connections. So I started looking at last-minute flights and trying to piece it all together, cat boarding, space in friend's life for visit, balancing travel with work (mostly done anywhere with Internet), and grasping for that perspective stepping out of your space and life tends to lend. It seemed impossible, then impractical, then too late, and then things were in alignment. I just had to keep pressing and adjusting the ideas, but I felt motivated and the next thing I knew I was on a flight back east.
Overall the visit to Baltimore hit all the right high notes, though not without some missteps on my part. After so much time isolated from social intimacy, then being together face-to-face with a trusted friend, I ran into some bad habits and reactions, almost feral expressions of emotion within me that I was not quite cognizant I was harboring about some topical insecurities. It was good life-feedback, and course-correction and adjustment continues, but I'm increasingly sure change and growth can mean too these uncomfortable moments, but they're preferable to the stasis of not-living, not-growing, or metaphorical herbicide sprayed all over spiritual and emotional growth, the predilections of those I somehow trusted in the decade and change of my late social context when confronted with my expressions of discomfort. Without their constant superficial censure and with my changed sense of certainty as to who I am and what I believe, these crises are now opportunities. It just takes the right set, setting, and company.
I did see a different side of Baltimore than during those times years ago working at the convention center near the Inner Harbor on the staff of that large Japanese popular culture convention in late summer Inner Harbor Baltimore. Instead, I was off in the North Shore district, mostly within blocks of Charles St up to University. There's a certain pre-WWI architectural charm to be found, and a diversity of lives and people. It was real in that east-coast way, and yet so familiar to be back again. There seemed to be a gregarious spirit, maybe I was just lucky, maybe I was glowing (yeah right) and people saw that. It felt like the right place to be at the right time.
The flow of most of the time there was just to sit on my laptop in my friend's apartment living room, looking out occasionally from the 11th floor window south across Wyman Park while doing telecommute work from laptop, press-ganging their living room HDTV into a second monitor while they did their own job ten minutes walk away. We shared lunch, then more work into the afternoon. Evenings, shared dinners, marathon TV, walks around the area for errands.
Highlights of the trip had to be Wyman Park strolls along Stony Run, visiting the surprisingly deep and broad collection at the free-admission Baltimore Museum of Art (if you near and appreciate visual art, go visit. Just go...), catching the subtitled anime Your Name at The Charles theater, a lovely Turkish restaurant dinner, turning a semi-crisis of needing to find an extra night's accommodations, booking a spot in the HI-Baltimore Hostel at the last minute and being pulled off by a visiting Austrian and others to a nightclub to dance our tails off until things shut down. And so my last night in Baltimore ended with chat and unwinding in the Hostel lobby until dawn.
(The Crown, Baltimore. Not my photo, but this was the scene)
Strangeness on the trip was the continued deep positive serendipity, intimacy and trust with a friend (when have I ever known that before), and this realization that doing it all on less than two spent vacation days and on a shoestring I could grasp at experiences like this again far more often. Also, some intense dreaming at nights on the couch where I crashed. Comforts were cooking and eating and shopping with friend as if it was just routine life, trying out the same full-time telecommute I've known for years in a new exciting different place, to make it sustainable. <3
There is a lot of internal thoughts, reactions, integrations, observations that flashed up along the way, forming these experiences, and some side stories too, but I'll have to see about doing my life journalism more often to aspire to that level of detail...