Standing still in two directions

Unlike some people, my life has been one of constant change and transition. I was in 13 different schools before I graduated high school, lived in 20 – something separate homes before I was 20 (almost 20 more after that) and…well, there has been a lot of that sort of thing in my life.

I have even had four major careers. I was a social-worky type for twelve years, a real estate developer for eight, a consultant for six and a mediator/arbitrator for close to twenty. Throw in a lot of travel, some cul-de-sac time and living on boats and you might get the impression that I lived in a state of flux so much that change seemed constant and, worse, routine probably became unbearable. And you’d be right. The short form of routine is rut and, for me, routine is hell.

I have enjoyed lots of ‘life’ changes and, of course, with that comes the inescapable transitions between them. Aye, …and there’s the rub!’ You cannot go directly from A to B. You have to cross through the empty space from A before getting to B. That space is uncomfortable and, for me, basically an ordeal. When you get to B, you get to start adjusting, adapting, coping, learning…new people, new situations, new interests, new, new, new, new. It’s all good once you make it to B.

Transition time feels more like a wonky knee, something chronic and crippling…no progress….I came to recognize those transition times as such. It’s basically frustration….the fork in the road, so to speak. All progress, growth and learning stops while you make the next choice. Of course, the ‘new’ phase chosen is super interesting, challenging and an adventure. The new phase, once recognized, is attractive.

That time spent musing at the fork-in-the-road….? Not so much.

Imagine (for a sec) that you are really into something and doing well and learning and growing. You will inevitably start to make a regular routine or process from that growth path. That’s natural. As your expertise or familiarity grows, you anticipate and plan more effectively and you slowly go from apprentice to journeyman to (if you are lucky) an old pro or expert stage. But, as that happens, the excitement and enthusiasm diminish but at least some comfort usually ensues. Wealth of some kind might accumulate. You might even relax? After comfort maybe comes a bit of boredom (for me, anyway) and then restless disinterest combined with fatigue creeps in.

You start to think…..’maybe it is time to ‘move on‘…..that is the inner feeling I am now recognizing again. Frustration. I am full-on into some kind of transition mode.

Don’t misunderstand me; it is extremely unlikely the next phase has me moving back from OTG. Each phase teaches you something deep and established and I am deeply established here or, maybe, somewhere else OTG…(you never know what kind of fork in the road will loom into view and a foreign country OTG is not out of the question) but some things in my life are pretty much firmly established. OTG. Sal. Kids. Friends. Values. I do not see where the next phase is coming from or going to is but I can feel the familiar itch of the transition phase.

“Dave! You losin it, man? You ON something?”

No. Not in the least. And I can prove it. I call to the stand my first witness, Ms Gail Sheehy. She was/is the author of Passages (1972). In that book (I read it in the early 80’s) Sheehy explained that adults go through phases just as children do. The major difference is that kids go through a lot of ‘recognized’ phases from the Terrible Twos to the pre-teen, the pubescent teen, the troubled teen, the young adult and all the phases in between. Young people got phases up the yin yang!

Adults, she claimed, only went through two or three ‘adult’ phases which she never quite defined in years. But her second book, New Passages did. She says….

Provisional Adult: 18-30 years old (includes Turbulent 20’s and the transition to 1st Adulthood)

First Adulthood: 30-45 years old (includes early 40’s Middlessence – a 2nd adolescence)

Second Adulthood: 45-85 years old (includes 45–65 Age of Mastery and 65–85 Age of Integrity)

Seems the last phase for Ms Sheehy ends there…. At 85 I might become a master of something and have integrity. Harrumph!

I don’t think so…..I believe her basic theory, her ‘phases’ concept and I have the life experiences as corroborating evidence to back it up…but, well, Gail went only through some phases and some people go through more. Some maybe less. I think we all get the phases we seek and choose. I tend to be a bit greedy and I choose to have more……I think….I mean….I am once again at a transition fork. Progress has stopped while I choose…. first I have to look down another road or two……..

16 thoughts on “Standing still in two directions

  1. I have two comments. First a famous saying by Yogi Berra. “when you come to a fork in the road, Take It!” Second, sometimes you don’t get to choose when it’s transition time. The Universe does it for you! For example, my move to Quadra Island. At the time, it felt like I was being drawn here, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. Oh well, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go somewhere else! Well it was a big deal! My life changed big time and 35 years later, I’m still here!


  2. I sure wish You all the Best of knowledge and wisdom to decide which fork you, and Sal, will move forward with. Hopefully she is a willing companion, and as or more successful along the way. We are immensely Happy, but We also know that there are other paths, and other Happinesses. I wish You health and joy. And Thanks! for all the fine posts (just in case you get away and I miss it. 😉🙂🤣).


    • Thanks. I confess that knowledge and wisdom have never played a major role in these decisions. Of course, you think and consider but the new path simply has an allure, an attraction, an interest. It beckons when you see it….and not going is NOT an option.


  3. Very true. Sal created a few transition points for us and there was no time for waiting on it, either. Two kids later and I was living in a cul de sac! But, in this blog, I am talking about that ‘spiritual blob’ feeling….that personal time between directions. The kind always happens as a bit of an aftermath of a mini era. It feels like a change in the seasons……
    After posting, I realized that the road that comes to a fork is not a one lane highway but rather one of a multi-level road system. Some roads will continue as they are, some may deviate a bit and still…sometimes …one your roads has a fork in it. I am not changing my Sally direction. Or my OTG direction. I do not foresee an occupational highway at all (that road ended already)……it just feels as if one of my roads (no idea which one) is approaching an exit ramp if not a major cloverleaf. But thanks, PR, for ‘getting it’. Berra is right…..


  4. You can have all the phases you like as long as the next one doesn’t require you to move off the rock you are sitting on. MC


  5. I can relate (again) to your blog!
    Although my life has not seen as many transitions as yours, I have had my shares and encountered a lot of forks.
    Important for me is, when you reach a fork and take a left or right, it has no sense to look back after you have chosen a direction and think about what might have been should you have taken the other side of the fork. I have never regretted the turns I took (although some transitions phases went smoother then some others), but I am happy where I am today.
    But still, as you say, the road (or multiple intertwined roads) continues and for sure there will be other forks on your journey.
    It is nice to see that you have the best companion (wingman) there is on your journey.
    I do hope you will continue to write, or you will be deeply missed!
    This restlessness (or the constant travelling as you call it) sometimes makes my wife crazy, and I am sure Sal has rolled her eyes once or twice, but this is you, and I think she wouldn’t want it any other way


    • You are right, Sal is the perfect partner. She first says ‘NO’ to everything……..and that makes some sense, actually. She’s getting good at whatever stage I am getting tired of and is comfortable. And, if I take the first ‘NO’, then she is usually right. More thinking required. But, if I get her to the point that she is saying ‘NO’ more than three times, the next response is, “Well, maybe.” That’s what happened for OTG. Almost two years of ‘No’ and then one day, “Well, maybe…I read this article about the local high school….” And off we were to the races!


    • I am sure that writers and artists have a sense of it but, in my case, it is a bigger restlessness than just what to paint next or write next. I have that every day! Each new big restlessness comes with a different trajectory altogether. I don’t know if I am gonna move houses, take up a hobby or become a chef or run for politics. It’s a total crapshoot. The next phase is never much related to the one left behind…..and that is what makes these latter ones more difficult to identify and choose. I have a ‘been there, done that’, response to a lot of ‘suggestions’. Suggestions don’t work, anyway. The next thing needs to come on it’s own and the only way I will recognize it is if it requires a great deal of learning. Hell, the next thing just might be there already – it might just be, ‘There is no next thing, this time, Dave. You are old. You gotta learn to be in one place and be content. That’s a lesson you never learned!’ Or maybe we move to the Philippines and learn Tagalog….I just don’t know…


  6. Haaa, im sure glad I’m shallow( no such deep thoughts). Mind you I have only been doing this for 10 years, maybe another 10 I will start thinking of a change but sure hope not. Might get a moho someday and drive south for a bit in the winter, save that problem of getting so much wood. While I have always been a “if you want it done, do it yourself ” kind of guy my drive nowadays is to watch the birds, fish and such. Good luck on your Deep dive.


  7. We’ve done the moho down south a lot….maybe 15 times…? And it was always good. Always a good time and we had some adventures…..mind you, most of that was pre-Cartel days. Pre-KNOWN-cartel days, anyway. One time we went right up the middle of Mexico (from San Miguel Allende to Nogales) and went through more than just a few roadblocks with Federales and at least one with ‘desperados’ that were (thankfully) not interested in us. Hint: hit the border going south around 6:00 to 7:00 am. And make sure your gas tank is full. Then just keep pedal-to-the-metal for at least 250 miles, preferably longer. Seems the bad guys like to sleep in. The govt. will make you stop again about twenty kms further in for a ‘vehicle’ extortion fee but, after that, just make sure you keep on a goin’….If you can get to Mazatlan, you are safer. NOT safe. Safe-ER. Otherwise……stay north of the border and west of Texas.
    All that above was good advice 15 or more years ago….today? No idea.


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