Jun 12 2008

Connecting the Dots

I can’t believe I’ve been in LA for nearly nine months, nor can I believe I’ve spent this much time at my new job. Time seems to have accelerated exponentially. I’m reminded of a conversation I had years ago with my father, along the lines of, “A year of your life today is a big deal – make the most of it. When you’re older, a year goes by much faster. Don’t forget to make the most of it.”

Now that I finally feel somewhat competent in my job function(s), time may begin to slow down again, as my internal clock isn’t so distracted by the immense amounts of new things to learn during the workday. Granted, this still a ton to learn, but at least the foundation is there. It’s like starting all over in martial arts – when everything is new, every moment is spent absorbing new data. Once you have more experience, the number of new things you learn are less frequent, but more perhaps more important, as to epiphanies of connecting the dots allow you to gain a greater understanding of the whole picture.

Outside of work, I’m still training. I still travel down to SD to train with Kawika Sensei as frequently as possible, although work and social obligations have been limiting that to once every six to eight weeks. Regardless, now that I have a student of my own, I’m using the opportunity circle back to beginning and work on the foundations. Due to the responsibilities of teaching, I’m finding connections that I previously missed, and it is greatly increasing my understanding of the art. Frequently, these are things I realize as I’m vocalizing particular principles or techniques – and these things I may have momentarily conceptualized before – but being forced to explicate them in detail to someone that does not have the assumptions I have has proved extremely educational. (And provides fodder for my personal note collection.) And yes, I’m still taking notes, and re-vamping the existing ones. When the currently evolution is complete, years down the road, I believe the collection will be quite impressive.

Socially, most of my friends still revolve around work. Years ago, I noted that it somewhat depressed me that, once old enough, social circles tend to revolve around those you work with and those of your significant other’s. And, this is precisely the case for me today. Now, there are some very cool people I work with that I hang out from work, and Nae’s friends are by and large very cool people, so I don’t really have a problem with that. I do, however, feel like it’s somewhat contrived. How close are you with someone if, for example, you get fired, and you cease to see that social circle? Likewise, if you and your SO break up? Will you still call those friends of his/hers? There’s a nagging feeling that the friendships are driven by circumstance and locality, as opposed to a deeper confluence of shared interests. Regardless, I’m not dissatisfied here, nor with my particular situation, and it is primarily a result of my own doing: work hard, train hard, spend time with the girl. There’s not a lot of opportunity to make outside friends when that’s most of your life. But, in a way, I love that life – this life. Which is why, despite meeting some very cool people in the local art, martial arts, and photography scenes, I haven’t really followed up and initiated friendships. I feel almost like the nice new stranger in town: I get along with people, and they with me, and serendipitous encounters are appreciated when experienced, but not expected. Perhaps it’s that fiercely independent nature of mine asserting itself again. C’est la vie, it’s leading me where I think I want to go.

In short, I feel best when I get a good days work in, learn something new, train hard at night, learn something else new, hang with the girl, and have a few moments to practice a foreign language, read a good book, and shoot some photos. Since extended travel is (temporarily) out of the picture, I’m thoroughly enjoying the options available to me.

But when I do finally get out travel – watch out.