Let the suffering begin

by Jon Sullivan - 2022-11-06 - Status

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It's been months of me going on and on about happiness. Enough happy. Moving on to Best Life.

The point of moving to Oregon was not to be happy. The number goal, and where all the other stuff started, was to move here to live the best life I could imagine. And while "happy" certainly needs to be part of the equation, most of what I think of as "best life" doesn't include "be happy" anywhere in the top 10. It's really more about adventures and discovery. And it's nicely summed up as "go all the places, take all the photos, eat all the food". I suppose it's a nice bonus that I'm more happy these days, mostly driven by Stoicism and it's formalized virtues. But getting photos will be an adventure more in the "suffer for the craft" kind of thing. I'll have a comfortable home base. Very comfortable. But the photo adventures are likely to be some variety of :

- Get up at 4am, pack the car and hit the road.
- Drive a couple hours through rain, snow, sand, rocks etc.
- Get some food somehow. Likely something I heated up and packed.
- Hike in 2-3 miles, as an old fat person.
- Try and find some photos that make it worth the bother.
- Hike back out, and maybe do it again someplace nearby.
- Find a place to camp in my car and try to sleep without freezing.
- Repeat till it's time to head back and work the next day.

Or... I suppose..... drive to Portland, stay someplace comfy, eat at wonderful restaurants, take delightful city photos.

It's going to be frustrating and painful and often a total waste. Happy may show up to the party now and then, but it will mostly be struggling to haul my fat ass there and back. Happy will be for when I make it back home to spend hours in post-processing and find out if I got anything worth keeping. And for at least the first year things will likely not go well. Being a photo adventurer in the snow and rain is going to be a new skill. Both will obviously offer new possibilities for compositions. But even without that it seems like my whole attitude and creative process is going to have to change. Checking the weather is going to be a new obsession, especially with so many climate zones here. And how it all works will be a learning process that involves lots of not-happy things. I know I want lots of rain photos, but other than a few cliche shots I don't have a good idea what "rain photos" really means. But I will. Soon. After standing in the rain and cold for many hours to learn what works and what doesn't.

So..... I have comfort and happiness all sorted with easy access. And I'm going to regularly trade it out for something I'm hoping will be my "best life". But something sure to involve exhaustion and frustration and wet and cold.

But..... It's all based on a total gamble. Famously, I have changed a great deal in the last few years. What I've liked and disliked most of my life has changed a more than seems normal. Sure, it's easy to assume my "best life" will be driven largely by going out on adventures to get better and more impressive photos. But that's a guess based on ignoring the magnitude of the other changes that have been happening lately. I wasn't even leaving the apartment for months at a time not long ago. Now I'm going to jump into a "best life" that involves leaving the apartment as often as possible??? There is a non-zero chance I will hate this new best life.

Pretty sure I won't hate it. We're about to find out.

This weekend will be the first test of how far I can get outside right now. Plenty of weight to lose, but that's long term. But starting now, there will be plenty of hiking in the rain. And the weather is probably going to be very windy and I might even try to find some snow. If I can get in some car camping I'll do that as well. And whatever other stupid shit I can manage. But it all needs to be tested. Off-line maps, photograph in pouring rain, ability to hike and stay warm but not too warm. Batteries vs cold. All the stuff I've avoided by living in San Diego.

You can put it on my tomb - "He died doing what he loved - being a stubborn idiot."

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