Debt... It's A Bitch!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 11th Wheel: The Last Days of Being a One Man Wolfpack

I'm 26.

Let that settle in for a second before you come to realize that I should've had a quarter-life crisis by now. Well I have... it involved a bottle of Jack and me in my underware swearing at God in a hail storm on the Appalachian Trail. Needless to say that said crisis makes you realize, your twenties are damn near over and your nowhere near where you want to be in life. Sure you have some time to screw around or buckle down but the majority of your family and friends look at you like you need to un-fuck your life.

In the last year virtually all of my best friends have proposed, gotten married, or have impregnated their better halves. It is awesome, don't get me wrong. I have feelings of utmost joy for them, but I also know, that our days of crazy antics are limited (i.e. no more hopping on moving trains). All that to say, I have officially become that guy. So as I'm preparing to be the cast type man-boy, I know that going forth is an even narrower road. Weddings, and saturday night dinners, even bar outings will be conversations riddled with talks of mortgages, babies, Modern Family episodes and domestication. That word "domesticated" makes me want to rip off my shirt and run into the woods with a trout in my mouth and wear nothing but some Tarzan-esque banana hammock. YOU can't tame this burly beast!

But sooner or later I know that I'll be lured into the life of a family patriarch, a mini-van man. I get the itch from time to time, but lasting commitment to me currently is deciding which Captain Crunch flavor I want in my cereal bowl for the nest week. It's interesting how we evolve, our relationships, our choices, our lifestyles. Even now, when in the midst of good friends and family who have started their next season of life, I feel that I'm still not quite finished in this phase. They wonder and ask questions, but I kind of smile. So as I prepare to attend 800 weddings in the next year and embark on the new endeavors near the end of this season, I try to enjoy watching my friends pave the way. Their pavement, leads to my cruising.

Vagabond Americana: My 2010

I have to say, this was a banner year for me. I got to do things and see places I've never been before. Looking forward, I knew it was going to be an interesting 12 months with my trip west essentially breaking my year into thirds around a Manhattan shaped bun. In the world of The Duke, living in a place longer than 6 months means an eternity. So this being my first entry for months means I have to have some sort of powerful inner reflection to bring everyone up to speed, but It dosen't work like that...

I started my year out living in NYC working for Fox News. My Queens based apartment had me cramped in with two awkwardly social Asians, one of whom couldve been doing shady pawn shop deals. My goals were simple up until May, see one of my best friends get married, run a half marathon, and prepare for western pursuits with the Army. My buddy got hitched in a beautiful ceremony with me wathcing with a camo tie. I then ran the half, and then committed to a full 26.2 miles in the fall, and eventually packed out all of my belongings to PA. I said good bye to a lot of friends in Queens who sadly I haven't seen even still. But the next few months would stretch me beyond my normal limits.

I drove out west after a week in B-town, PA... coming across individuals who I've come to know over the years. All great people. Upon reaching Arizona I found out that Intelligence school, required, well.... intelligence. Alot of reading and briefings made my type A personality feel right at home when it came to speaking and self promoting. While out west I made great friends and managed to do a bunch of neat things; off-roading, bull riding, sky diving, karaoke, paintballing, hiking, and working on my beachnut body. I loved Arizona, still do. I even managed to find weekend trips to Santa Barbara and Austin, TX.

But sensing the tide of change has become a hobby of mine, and so too that came to an end. I then drove up north with a friend of mine through Yellowstone and Grand Tetons to Montana, then hitting up Rushmore back east. Again, my appreciation for all things America eased me into waxing patriotic. This year strengthened my appeal for Our Country. The mountains, prairies and heartland acknowledge God's sovereignty over our blessed people. My trip's revelation also promoted what I think I've known all along... that I love Pennsylvania.

I could not help to realize that I missed Rosie's Diner in Roseto, PA, or that shortly I would be walking in the woods to miss deer with my crossbow or taste my mom's phenomenal pumpkin bread. Needless to say I got the speedometer up to 90MPH with these looming thoughts. Before reaching the doorstep of my parents home, I walked over to the burial site of dog Margie who had sadly passed during my travels. I said a prayer and shed a tear. Evey man is allowed to cry when his dog dies or his team wins the championship. I tend to break these rules quite a bit because I'm such a sentimental bastard, but found myself finally complying with man rules. I miss Margie, but I knew that life would quickly become chaotic.

I spent time hunting and training for my marathon in DC. I did OK when race day actually approached. I ran a 4:51, which is the speed of a tortoise, but hey... I lived to tell the tale. I also got to see off a friend to Afghanistan and welcome another one back to my hometown. Returning to Fox News was also a welcoming return to normalcy. One known factor that has always lingered in my thoughts throughout my year was the election and on Nov 3rd I got to see a Conservative ground swell take control of the House, and see PA elect two solid leaders, Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett.

But all things change, and so with another month and a half left to go, well see what exactly the rest of 2010 holds for me. As potential changes in careers, locations, goals and ambitions mirror my capriciousness, I'm open to seeing through God's plan in my life. This was a year where I got to hurdle over many a obstacles and see great personal growth. My thoughts lead me to believe that there will be even bigger changes in the next two months. My only wish is that I can a little rest...