September Recap

September is normally one of my least favorite months.

September means it's my birthday.  And I hate my birthday.  (I recently tried to dive into my psyche to understand better why I don't like celebrating another year of life but it got messy, so let's just leave it be.)  But this year we played it low key on my birthday.  We ordered in and Ashley let me introduce her to Friday Night Lights.  Not bad.

For most of my life, September has meant back to school.  Thankfully that's over.  (Well, not for Ashley.)

September also has a reputation of being stupidly hot in Texas.  But we're not in Texas anymore.

So September wasn't so bad this year.  It was actually good.  Kinda great.  We're in a new city, so no one knew it was my birthday.  And I didn't have to go back to school (though I did take an online course to become a certified personal trainer).  And it wasn't hot.  Try sunny with a high of 75.  Dang, September might be one of my top 5 favorite months.  (Yes, I have them all ranked.)

To recap our past month, we have another Music Video Monday!  If you missed the first two music videos, catch up on those here and here.  Then enjoy our September recap below.

Featuring the music of Ben Howard and some video from the Ben Howard show we just saw at Red Rocks:

Awake

This past weekend I casually mentioned to Ash that I found a neighborhood I'd like to buy a house in someday.  In Denver.

She didn't take that comment casually.

Our little neighborhood grocery!  Fun! (but pricey)

Our little neighborhood grocery!  Fun! (but pricey)

"What about our families!?  And when we have kids!?  And my allergies are really bad here!"  I know, I know.  But after three weeks of living in Denver, I'm addicted to the energy I feel here.  So, naturally, I want to stay here forever.

When we sat down to talk more about why I'm so eager to buy a Broncos jersey, I realized it's a combination of several energies that I'm getting hooked on.  

Ultimately, what I'm addicted to is feeling awake.


What do you do when a fave artist is playing down the street late on a school night?  You walk there so that you can get a $10 margarita pitcher on the way back.

What do you do when a fave artist is playing down the street late on a school night?  You walk there so that you can get a $10 margarita pitcher on the way back.

I LOVE Austin.  I grew up there.  My family is there.  All my friends.  The streets my elementary school bus carried me on.  The parking lots I learned to drive stick.  The giant Christmas tree we spin under every December.  The bridge where I totaled my first car.  The music venue where I proposed to Ash on stage in front of our favorite people.  The shelter where we found our dog.  The restaurant that gave us food poisoning.  It's all there.  And it all feels like home.

Here in Denver, I'm barely beginning to learn the streets, the appropriate clothing for cool summer mornings, the best hiking, the names of the mountains, the times to avoid I-25, and the people that want to be friends with a couple of Texans.


Trying fancy tea.  And learning that it tastes just as bad as regular tea.

Trying fancy tea.  And learning that it tastes just as bad as regular tea.

The newness is exciting, frustrating, and constant.  There's no zoning out when you don't have any habits you're used to.  There's no "just another typical day" when everyday is a learning experiment.  It can be exhausting, but what I'm finding is that I feel 100% awake.  Everyday.

I rarely snooze my alarm these days.  There's too much to do, learn, see, meet, try.  Then we crawl in bed much earlier than we like to admit because we're just done.  But I love it.  It's addicting.  

And I wonder, Does it have to end?

I know the newness can only last so long, but I don't want the awake-ness to end.  I don't want to go back to zoning out.  I don't want to have typical days.  Maybe seasons of "usual" are necessary.  Maybe constant unpredictability would make me psychotic and shorten my lifespan by 20 years.  Maybe that's the cost of being constantly awake.  If so, I think I'm okay with that.


While writing this, the fire alarm in our apartment building went off.  I don't know.  I found it funny.  I met some more of our neighbors and their dogs, decided which of our possessions I would try to save first if there really was a fire, and eventually got back to my computer to finish this.  And I felt awake.


I cringe a little thinking about how many days/weeks/months I've lived with my eyes open but my heart and mind and soul asleep.  It makes me want to apologize to Ashley, my family and friends.  I'm glad I don't have kids yet.

I think being awake is something to pursue.  And it has to be actively pursued or the monotony of life will lull you to sleep.  Moving 1,000 miles away from familiarity woke me up, but soon this place will become familiar too.  Then I will need to spend time with people who wake me up, visit places that wake me up, listen to stories that wake me up.

There are times where auto-pilot just feels so nice.  Sometimes it all seems too much. So veg out when necessary.  God gave us Cookies 'n Cream and Netflix for a reason.  But life on this side of heaven will one day seem so short.  So do what it takes to stay awake.


Two weeks ago I shared a video of our first week in Denver.  Here's the next installment.  (I think "Music Video Monday" might become a regular thing around here.)

Home

I love adventures, big and small, and every new year I resolve to travel more, try new restaurants, and meet interesting people.  Then the past two months happened.  

Two months ago, Ashley got a call from a charter school in Denver.  She had sent her resumé to every school in North America and this school looked at it.  And they loved her.  Which everyone does.  And then they flew us out to meet her.  And then they had to have her.  Obviously.  So we drove around the city, ate at some of the restaurants, met a few fun people, and then decided we would accept the position.  

A few weeks later, we said goodbye to Austin and everything in it that we love - the people, the food, our house, and the Tex-Mex.  We lived in Santa Barbara for the month of July as a little vacation buffer between our old life and new life and then we drove to Denver where we learned how small 400 square feet really feels.  Right now I'm sitting on our couch/bed facing one of our four walls as our dog paces around the room trying to find somewhere big enough for her to lay down.  She's forced to lay on a pile of clothes that has to go to Goodwill because we don't have room for anything.

This is the biggest move of our life.  We've never lived outside of Texas (and never thought we would #texasforever).  Over the past week, as we've been getting settled, learning the streets, filling out change-of-address forms, we will feel these waves of grief.  Often it's when we are stressed out, like when we had to drive 16 hours towing our car while crammed into the cab of a UHAUL with our German Shepherd, Lalo.  Or sometimes a memory will trigger the sadness, like when Ashley was hanging up her clothes and saw her Chuy's shirt and realized it will be months before we can enjoy creamy jalapeño again.  Overwhelming grief.

There are lots of things we are missing right now, but mostly we are missing a sense of "Home".  Home is a powerful feeling.  I love the idea of being a vagabond but I don't think I could do it for very long because I need Home.

Home is people that you know and love.  Home is places that you frequent.  Home is familiarity and comfort.  There's no place like Home.

Moving takes you from Home to Address.  We now have a new location, but our Home is still the same.  Our Home is South Austin, where we can get around without using Google Maps.  Where we put on a clean shirt to go grocery shopping because we will probably run into someone we know.

But at our new Address, every hour is a new adventure.  We need groceries?  I don't know where the grocery store is.  We need help moving?  We don't know anyone.  It's August?  How do we dress?  

At Home, you know all of these answers without having to think about them:  It's August in Austin?  Get naked if appropriate.  But here it takes so much mental effort to figure out each one.  It's August?  Check the weather.  78 degrees.  What does 78 degrees feel like?  Go down the elevator, step outside.  Determine clothing:  jeans and a t-shirt.  Back up elevator.  Get dressed.  Leave for work.  Jeans in August just feels wrong!  Back up elevator.  Put on shorts, until it's appropriate to get naked.

Before our new Address sounds sad and lonely, let me say that most hours we are completely in love with this new adventure.  Jeans in August!?  Are you kidding me!?!  That's the dream!  And when we step out onto our street, shaded by giant trees that rustle every few minutes in the breeze, we turn left to walk through City Park - a lively, beautiful park that we make excuses to visit whenever we can.  Or we turn right to venture down a row of bustling cafes and friendly restaurants that are going to do a number on our budget.  And behind it all, mountains.  

Sometimes, when we are walking around our neighborhood, I start laughing.  Out loud.  Because I can't believe we get to live in such an amazing place.

But I think adventure is the opposite of Home.  And right now, our life is adventure.  All adventure.  Which I LOVE.  But it comes at the expense of Home.  Which I miss.

The truth, that I know and anticipate, is that each day, week, month, our new Address will start to become our new Home.  In fact, it already has.  On the way down the elevator this morning I saw Monica, one of our neighbors, and we said hey.  Then Lalo and I walked down a couple blocks, over a few, and down another two to get to the dog park - it was our third time to go and I didn't have to use Google Maps.  It's the little things that make an Address a Home - and the process has already begun.

Writing this makes me think about heaven.  I believe that's our real Home, the Ultimate Home.  I think I'm too pre-occupied with making this temporary Address - Denver, Austin, earth - feel like my comfy-cozy Home, when it shouldn't be.  I should be feeling uncomfortable at times because that means I'm not making this place to home-y.  Usually, I fight the uncomfortableness, but I think we are supposed to embrace it.  It's what points us to something else, something better that is coming.  Maybe this tight 400 square feet will be a daily reminder that this is all temporary.

And now, a video of our last seven days.  Mostly all shot on my iPhone, it's a little montage of our transition to our new Address/Home.