Ten years ago, Maya’s Dad really didn’t have his life together. He had accomplished a few life goals, like graduating from college and graduate school, traveled to Japan and other places, and actually received a black belt. On the other hand, he carried around a lot of credit card and school debt, his girlfriend had just decided that she would not come to Boston, and he hadn’t written or published a lot since he left for Japan five years earlier. Some would say things were even. Some would say the glass was on average half full. Others would disagree.
For his part, the recent developments had left him feeling adrift. Before he met said-girlfriend, he wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. He had big dreams of publishing. He had dreams of travel. Now he found himself pretty much broke, in a job that didn’t quite pay for his lifestyle, no girlfriend, and living precariously with roommates 5000 miles from family. What to do?
He went for nidan (second-degree black belt). This would be a massive achievement since he had never thought he would get so far in any martial art.
Then he found himself in the same situation. Only now he was four years older, had dated sporadically, published some, had run through a whole new set of roommates, and was getting fat. What to do?
It’s here, Maya’s Dad decided to take stock of his life, redetermine his goals, and make a plan. He wanted to get back in good shape (he was in great shape for nidan and had lost it). He wanted a better job. He wanted to find a relationship and start a family. He wanted to write more, minus the grand visions of poetry greatness. A solid writing career would be enough. He wanted sandan (third-degree black belt).
Maya’s Dad had an odd habit. He liked to learn things, often things with no apparent connection to each other or any apparent career value. He studied Japanese history as an undergrad. He had an MFA in poetry. He lived three years abroad. He studied some French history and culture (because the earlier mentioned girlfriend was French). He was good at a number of things, but not great. A renaissance soul who didn’t yet know the term, drifting from island to island. And this made him worry. He was alone, with a lot of bills that kept him up at night. What would he do? He needed a plan.
The plan went something like this: Year 1. lose weight (studying exercise and nutrition and make an plan); Year 2. date (break out of the rut, blind dates, speed-dating, online dating, whatever); Year 3. get a financial grip; and finally write throughout. The funny thing is the plan worked. Maya’s Dad lost weight. He met Maya’s Mom (speed-dating) and they had Maya. He got a new job and eventually (with some help and prodding from Maya’s Mom) got out of debt. He does still write and publishes when he can. The last of his pre-Japan goals, getting his book published, still hangs out there, but he’s still trying.
Why am I telling the story of Maya’s Dad? Well, that’s part of the plan too. A lot of what’s coming on this blog will come from this little story.