by Jon Sullivan - 2024-07-05 - Status

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Two years ago I was in San Diego packing up all my stuff. I wrote down some goals. How has that worked out?

Reading over blog posts from just before I moved to Oregon in '22 is so odd. First, it seems like it was many years ago, but it has been less than 2. How? How can I have changed this much in two years? When this post was made I had gone a couple years of only rarely seeing anyone. Never opening the blinds, never answering the door, leaving the apartment only 2-3 times a year. Last weekend, less than 2 years later, I cooked gumbo out in the woods for 60 of my closest friends. How? Second, in that post I'm planning, against all reason and experience, to suddenly change who I am and how I live. Which is crazy and unrealistic.

But here I am. Being someone I might have laughed at 10 years ago. Being almost the opposite of the person I was my whole life. How? And why? I still have no idea why. Blaming it all on being crazy is likely as close to answering that as I'll ever get. But it's fun to reread the old hermit posts now that I know how it turned out.

"To make adventures a requirement. To make new photos and new places a requirement. To make living as a virtuous person a requirement. To die later. To be the person people will tell stories about around the fire. To be wise and kind and jolly."

Close. But not quite. I tried to leave the hermit part of me behind. I really thought I would. In the end it's just not something I can do. I need to be home alone for days at a time. I need to not stay in touch, even though I keep promising I will. I've thought about why quite often, and I just don't know. Paradoxically, gatherings and parties bring me so much joy, but also create a vacuum in me that only solitude can fill.

The adventures are happening. Today's photo is an excellent example. Drove 9 hours with no preparation up to Canada just to try and get one photo. I suppose that is still "alone time", but it is the exact thing I figured I'd be doing before I moved here. Spur of the moment road trips, great photos, wonderful food, adventure. From hermit to adventurer. That part's working very well.

The virtue is there, but needs refining. When I got here meditations on the Stoic virtues were a constant, and I'd weigh every choice and action against them. I wish I could proudly say I have them all on auto pilot now. But I don't. Kindness is something that always comes naturally now, but that isn't one of the virtues at all. Wisdom, courage, justice, moderation. I fail to live a life of moderation, at all, and so many things I do are wildly excessive. The Iconic Stoic Epictetus was happy in his small garden with some cheese and olives. Jon would end up making some grand gourmet cheese and olive dish that would take two days and cost more than I should be spending. Courage and justice are more of a side hustle right now. I need to have more courage for convictions, less taking the easy path. And while I long for justice being equal and universal, I lack the will to do much about it myself. So bless the heroes, and shame on me.

I suppose with the beard and the belly being "jolly" is too easy for me to take credit. And no doubt there will be stories around the fire about me. From drunk to hermit to hippie, even if much of it was stupid, I seem to have accumulated more than my share of lore.

Less than two years into "new Jon". I'm guessing the next two will bring even more existential shenanigans. But let's leave the goals the same - Go all the places, take all the photos, eat all the food.

Today's photo : I'd been camping on the coast to get Milky Way photos, which involves standing in the cold for hours at 2am in a place far enough from anything that the light won't mess it up. A couple days of that and I made it back home, unpacked, and crashed in my warm bed. I got up the next morning, read the news, and realized the most powerful magnetic storm in 25 years was about to happen. I needed that photo. And while I *might* be able to see it from Eugene, that was a gamble, and getting farther north to a place with less light pollution in the sweet spot meant leaving RIGHT NOW. So carry the bags back to the car, dig up some clean clothes, and back on the road. Adventure. Road trip. Perfect.

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