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The Road Ahead

So the year winds down, and it’s Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year – the one with the least daylight and the most darkness. And it’s always darkest before the dawn they say. I can’t say that 2009 has been a particularly bright year, but it has been getting steadily darker. There are no pictures for this post, there is nothing to show.

Last Friday I learned I’d lost my second largest and second longest client. This is coming on the heels of losing my largest anchor client in October – the one that got me off the ground when I opened my firm 18 years ago. It’s been a huge blow to my ego, and to my wallet, but truth be told, I’m not in shock, and nor am I really mourning it as much as I thought I might. I’ve grown tired. I celebrated my 48th birthday a week ago – the statistical mid-point of my life. Maybe all of this is appropriate. It could be life telling me that this road is about to come to an end and I need to find another road. In a way it’s like reaching Cape Flattery after riding from Key West on the corner to corner trip Tony and I took two years ago. I’ve gone as far as I can go.

So what do I do now? Well, it is winter and since I can’t ride, I tend to leave a large road atlas in the bathroom as reading material. I’ve been looking over it, plotting a nice spring bike trip this year – thinking of heading down to Austin via New Mexico to visit some friends, but not sure yet. But I love to look at maps, to figure out routes and destinations. I just wish I had an atlas that would work for my life.  Something I could look at that would tell me that if I took this road I'd end up here, or that road to find happiness and fulfillment or love.  But so far I've not found anything Rand MacNally has written that would do that.

It’s getting time to start a new journey in life. But in the mean time, I have to keep going down the road I'm on. I’m very blessed and fortunate that despite the loss of the clients and essentially being almost out of business, I’ve got a healthy financial situation and I can do like so many others can’t – spend some time to plot the journey of the second half of my life.

My friend Garland says that I’m always planning and I don’t live in the moment. But I think I do both. As a result of that I got to thinking that life in many ways is like riding my motorcycle or skiing down the mountain – and why it suits me. I truly do enjoy the immediate moment – the sun on my arms wind in my face, the rumble of the engine under my seat or the crunch of fresh corduroy snow under my skis. But at the same time I’m looking ahead – planning my ride, what line I’m going to take, and what may lie around the next curve. And as the song says, if life is highway, I wanna ride it all night long.

So I guess I’ve got some thinking and planning to do. In the immediate, I’ll be off to Salt Lake for Christmas with the family – then off to San Diego where I’ll pick up a motorcycle and ride over to visit friends in Palm Springs. The Legislative session starts on January 11th, and it’s the short session this year – done by March 11th. The road after that is still a mystery. It’s still dark.

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