Tightrope

A few days ago I spoke with someone for the first time since relocating back to L.A. last summer. We spoke a few weeks prior to my leaving Seattle in 2014. In our conversation at the time she’d asked me why I was leaving Seattle. Like a number of people, she knew the reasons why I’d left L.A. in 2010 and relocated back to Washington State. I had no desire to live in Washington, and while I struggled with the region’s bleak and wet winters, the temperamental weather patterns had nothing to do with my decision. I’d returned to Washington State solely because, when I left New York in 2008 and relocated back to L.A., California’s economy was one of the worst in the U.S., not to mention I’d lived off my savings for two years. Therefore, I could no longer maintain my apartment without fulltime employment. Washington State wasn’t suffering the same economic woes the State of California was undergoing at the time.

After bringing her up-to-date on my L.A. Drama, this person told me candidly that I was no better off than I was when I left L.A. in 2010 and moved to Washington. “In fact,” she pointed out quite boldly, “you’re worse off.” She added that I was “too old” to continue to take the kind of risks I’d been taking since she’d known me. “Why would you go back to L.A. without a place to live?” she’d asked. “And no job?” She was telling me things I’m confident other people have thought of saying to me but weren’t comfortable in doing so. She reminded me that 1. Times have changed; 2. Employers will not hire someone [“your age”] over someone 20 years younger even if you’re more qualified; and 3. You’re dangerously close to retirement.

Most people—and this includes the person discussed above—consider how I’ve lived my life up to this point as irresponsible, not risky. I don’t disagree. But my journey started out decades ago with a visceral desire to achieve a particular goal. I no longer trust the process (that I assumed would one day lead me to that goal), although I bobbed and weaved between doubt and confidence through much of my journey anyway. And I confess I’m less secure in my ability to achieve that goal which I set out to manifest so many years ago. While I might have options, those alternatives are both undesirable and limited now, and there’s no way to go back in time. It’s too late to back down. So each day, following my morning meditation and Morning Prayer, I face a very frenzied unknown. I face the real possibility that I will be less off a year from now than I am today. I face the obstacles that continue to mount. I face the fear.

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