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.
"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.
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.
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.)