Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
Thank you David Bowie for lyrics that I can completely relate to right now: Changing, being a different man / woman....
For some music while you read this post, you may click here and view / listen to the video as you read...
As what I would like to discuss today is "change" and "changing".
While it is true that you cannot expect or hope or wish that other people will change -- or even try to change them, you are completely in charge of yourself (and only yourself). You have the power and the ability to change yourself -- or to allow yourself to be changed by your circumstances. I am clearly doing both.
In fact, I have been thinking a lot lately about how many things have changed since I began living in the mountains. Seriously! Remember, I used to live and work in our nation's capital -- literally. That capital. The one of politics and political games (though also amazing art, museums, nonprofits and more I'd like to add!). I knew and experienced politics and the rules of the game better than I knew or had experienced myself.
And that was the problem.
I have long joked that I moved to the mountains to get away from politics and political games -- that I was not capable of doing it myself. (Though I did try! I quit politics and went in an incredibly different direction, working as a dogwalker and helping to run a petcare business. You can read more here.) Yet what I found was that I actually needed to move -- so that I could physically and completely get away from it.
You could say that I have managed to do that now.
And what have I discovered? Well, myself for starters -- but so many other fun things too.
So, let's set up a little "before" and "after" (well, a "now"), shall we?
Why yes, yes we shall....
Before.... I would drive down the one-lane-in-each-direction, twisty, steep road to town by going exactly the speed limit and riding my brakes around every single turn (in fact, I several times got passed by locals frustrated with my progress!).
Now... I coast down the road to town in 3rd gear, at least 10 miles over the speed limit at all times, laughing (yeah, really!) at the turns.
Before... I would stare at others near my cabin with curiousity as to whether they were visitors or locals.
Now.... I know without a second glance.
Before... I cringed and shivered at every single sound I heard that might be unusual.
Now... I know there are no "unusual" sounds.
Before... Whenever I heard a noise near me on a hike that clearly implied wildlife was near, I immediately freaked out that the animal was charging right for me.
Now... I shrug and assume the animal is heading in the other direction unless I have more facts to prove otherwise.
Before... Whenever Rilke (my dog) began barking like crazy inside the house, I immediately had to get up and investigate by looking out a window / door to find out what he was seeing.
Now... I tell him to stop making so much noise.
Before... Whenever Rilke began barking like crazy outside the house, I immediately called him to me and we both fled inside.
Now.... I peer more intently to see if I can see what he is seeing.
Before... Whenever Rilke found something disgusting (bones, entrails, etc), I was completely grossed out and unnerved and had to take a picture to share the "horror" with every one else.
Now... I think it's cool and have to take a picture to share the "awesomeness" with every one else.
Before.... I wondered how Rilke could immediately find any sort of disgusting wildlife thing (bones, entrails, etc) outside the house, even across rivers!, if it was within half of mile of him, but took 10 minutes to notice when I dropped food inside the house.
Now... I think he's simply "gone native".
Before... I woke up multiple times throughout the night due to weird noises, lights, etc.
Now... If I wake up at all, I roll over and sigh.
Before... I would hike half a mile and pat myself on the back.
Now... If I haven't hiked at least 4 miles round trip in a single hike, I feel like a failure.
Before... I was scared of heights, and would never ever even contemplate doing a hike that went up the side of a mountain with a trail that is no more than 6 inches wide.
Now... I'm still scared of heights.
Before.... I got cold if the temperature dipped below 60 degrees.
Now... I complain constantly that I'm too hot and the heat needs to be turned down, and have found even 4 degrees to sometimes be "surprisingly pleasant".
Before... I used to joke about "mountain" attitudes and "mountain" folk.
Now... I think I may actually be "mountain" folk.
And I think that might deserve a "holy crap." And maybe even a "holy shit."