Saturday, February 3, 2007

25 days and counting

Things gotta change 'round here.

The year 1995 was the last time I made such a drastic change in my life. Nearly 12 years ago, I packed up and left New Orleans. Cried and said goodbye to the city that raised me. I hated New Orleans, as most teenagers hate their hometowns. I didn't appreciate it. I bit the hand that fed me. Now I'm crawling back. Not only to New Orleans, but to a part of myself that has yet to be uncovered. I suppose I'll learn more about myself through the work that I'll be doing, through spending large amounts of time with my extended family, through living my life in a different way... in a different place... with a different set of priorities. I am looking forward to it. I'm also scared and anxious. I'm mostly afraid that I won't find anything... that this is just a fantasy in my head... and, in reality, people can't just quit their cushy jobs when they feel they need to "explore life" and expect that everything will be okay. The other 90% of me knows that it will be okay and that I will learn something worth knowing and that I will find a new direction through this experience. I know myself well enough to know that I make things happen. No matter what my circumstances, I cannot fail. And I don't say that because I'm arrogant but because I know that even if I "fail", it's really not a failure if I learned something. To me, failure means that the battle is over and I lost. But if I learned from it and decide to fight again, then I don't feel like I failed.

ANYWAY, despite the content of that first paragraph, the intention of this blog is not to be a vessel for expressing my innermost thoughts and feelings. That ain't none of y'all business!! lol. The intention of this blog is to chart my journey, from beginning to end. I felt inspired to start it now, even though I haven't moved yet, because I'm just starting to feel within my body that I am leaving. I've begun to ship stuff home. Friends are pressing me for quality time... THEY know they ain't gonna see me for a while... even though I have been in a fog about it, living my life as if nothing's changing. The word is spreading at work that my end-date is approaching... and co-workers are asking me about what I'm doing. So I've been talking about it more; it's no longer only an internal conversation. It's becoming more real. So this is the beginning.

My one concrete goal in New Orleans is to restore my house. I bought a house in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward about a month before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. I thought I'd rent it out and maybe one day move back to the Big Easy. Ha ha. Nature had a different plan. The house was damaged, but not completely destroyed. Somehow, I believe that I can fix it up with my own two hands. Have I done construction before? No. Have I ever fixed anything? Ummm... probably, but the fact that I don't remember obviously indicates that this does not happen often in my life. But I am dedicating the majority of my time to learning and working.... or working and learning, whichever comes first.... I'm sure they'll occur simultaneously. There are lots of books; there's tons of online information; there are countless television shows that focus specifically on home improvements. I have an uncle who's a contractor and a million cousins and extended family and family friends down there. I can do this. There are far more "impossible" feats made possible all the time. I can do this.

The more abstract goal is to catapult myself into a direction that leads to something fulfilling, revolutionary even... that makes my life worth living. I don't say that to mean that I might as well be dead if I continue living the way I'm living. My life is cool. I enjoy it. I say that to mean that everyone possesses within them the power to influence the future of our world. Though each individual's mere presence on this planet influences something, most of us never use our power consciously or harness it for greatest impact. I'd like to do that. I'd like not to just exist, to survive. I don't wanna be just another human taking up space. I'd like whatever influence my presence has had on Earth by the time I die to be worth more than I take from it. I want to die knowing that I gave my all, and that I got the most out of what I did here. I want to die smiling, as I think back on all the shit I did, the chances I took, my successes, my failures... I want to be able to say, "Yep, that was worth 90+ years." (or however long I live). I want to show my daughter that life can be lived any way you choose, but that she must know that her every action IS a choice. And that what she wants IS possible; she just has to CHOOSE it.

There I go venting my innermost thoughts and feelings again. Well, I guess it's okay, as this is the first entry and I gotta give some background. As long as I don't start talking about relationships and shit, using this as a substitute for therapy... then I'll be okay.

Anyway, so you can read about my progress right here. Now that I have my handy-dandy laptop, I will be posting regularly (probably not every day, but regularly enough). I'll be sharing photos of my achievements... or lack thereof. I'll be providing a unique window into my New Orleans, away from the French Quarter and the Garden District... into a reality that does not center around Mardi Gras or the Jazz Festival... where real people live their everyday lives. So I hope it doesn't end up being boring!

In 25 days, my journey begins.

4 comments:

Kiini said...

Dear Papu,

What a great adventure you're embarking on.

I hope you learn lots about construction and become a one woman home renovator. I hope you find the new direction you so passionately want in your life. I hope it's a magical six months (or more). And I hope you spread sunshine everywhere you go and that some of that sunshine comes right back at you!

Love,

Kiini

Ukali said...

PapuCharlie,

Life is indeed for living... not merely existing.

The great challenge is to live a life you choose/create and be willing to pay the consequences for doing so. It seems that you're ready for this challenge.

As you step into each new day, know that Nature will protect you and provide you with whatever is needed to fulfill your personal vision -- as long as you walk your chosen path with integrity, compassion, and enthusiasm. There is always a negative as well as a positive aspect to life's journey, so be mindful that there is always hope when things seem bleak. Balance each serious moment with doses of humor; each tear with a laugh; every setback with another step forward. In the end, you and yours will be alright.

I know you will do well. More power to you!


Good ol' Baba

Odene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odene said...

OhhH WOOW...

I'm very proud of u. I always admire how u go forward in whatever goal u wanna accomplish, unlike a lot of people.

This is going to be an experience for both u and especially Azana. I know she will definitely have a kick out of it.

I pray that everything will be well with you and your whole family.

Love
Odene & Jere