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  • Writer's pictureMark Stefan Reinoso


One of the nice things about being unencumbered, mobile even, is the ability to go anywhere or do anything pretty quickly. Mexico for the weekend? YES. Take a last minute trip to California, or just take the day off? OKAY. Buy a house on a whim? ABSOLUTELY. The majority of what makes that possible is work schedule primarily, followed closely by your financial ability to do such things. A tertiary, but in my opinion most important, reason, is the will to do so. So many feel the burden of an inward sense of duty, peer pressure from their friends or church, or even an unimaginative personality, that keeps them doing the same thing again and again. (Schedule sex on Thursday, Spaghetti for the kids on Friday, Cards with Family on Sunday afternoon, amirite?) In case you haven't figured out yet, I currently have none of those social pressures. I certainly used to, but those has been vanquished the last 10 years for a number of reasons.....all that's left is my internal compass. I'm not completely sure, though but pretty sure, that this is precisely what my Creator intended. The Book of Romans in chapter 14, verse 12, testifies to that.

Regardless, everyone wants to throw caution to the wind and just "go" right? Sell everything and move to Italy? The internet is full of memes about that. We idolize characters in movies who throw away their lives on a whim, thumb their nose at authority, do what they want and blow up the Death Star, but in reality, we do just the opposite. No main character in our favorite movie follows the rules, but that's what we do right? We do what we are told, we follow "the rules" and shove our intuition and gut feelings somewhere deep inside, where it festers.... That's a big reason why we are all internally miserable, because we are always being someone or something else's version of responsible. It's maddening, it's suffocating, it's murdering our souls. If you can overcome that, if you can remove yourself from that cauldron of insanity, then you are free. One of the great upsides of abandoning institutional logic: YOU GET MAGIC That being said, I'm gonna abandon the existential, superfluous talk and get down to what's really bothering me: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE. I have things that I dream about doing, but find myself thinking of only the things I HAVE to know, the sensible things. Like the scene in Godfather 3: "Just when I think I'm out They pull me back in".... only now it's not the mafia or anyone else: it's me reigning myself in. I've got a pretty good gig right now...we like our place in PHX, my businesses are going well here. We've got our newly remodeled place in PDX, perfect for the middle months of the year. Last year we spent 5 months in PDX, all during the hot months and into fall. I loved it so so much, and this year we are doing it again. COVID has been a wonderful respite from all the things I felt was suffocating me. But here's the Problem: this can't continue. The world is supposedly getting back to normal, and Abby is very keen to send the kids back to school. My wife can do a lot of things well, but riding herd on these kids during school, day in and day out isn't her style. Since school starts in early August, that means the kids have to be back in PHX...which means I can't just hang out in my house in Portland until November all alone. My dream, my little intermission, is ending. But I desperately want the party to continue. After 27 years here, I can't do the heat anymore. It's stifling and depressing. In addition, I moved here for a lot of reasons that don't exist anymore, and the world has changed. I've proven I can run my businesses from anywhere, and that's making me even more discontented staying here. It's wonderful in so many way, but it's soulless. Its like cotton candy: it looks wonderful and fun, but after a few bites, its empty and unfulfilling. My wife is adaptable, but every time I talk about moving, she changes the subject. I've underestimated her resolve/attachment to stay here, a place she's called home for 43 years. I don't know exactly what I want, but I know what I don't. I don't see this condo as a life goal, a place where I can live out my life. I want a big yard, I want green trees and flowers and I want to hunt and fish and gather and live close to nature. I want to enjoy all 4 seasons for once in my life. I want to get sick of the rain, I want to be tired of the cold, I want to feel the spring sun on my face while the frost is still on the trees, while you can still see my breath. I want a family homestead, a functional place with a huge kitchen and even larger dining room, where all my kids, and their kids, and my family, can come and enjoy the communal atmosphere. Oh the dinner parties we will have! I'll prepare an anecdote or two, bring special drinks, the table will be festive and lively and spirited, with fancy tableware, and all the things you dream about. There will be wine, lots of wine, vegetables and fruits from the garden, game from the land. The table will be groaning with the fruits of the land. This is where grand memories will be made.....and long after I'm gone, my progeny and then their progeny will continue their gatherings here. So here, I am: stuck between things I want to do and try, and the logical choice. There are so many reasons why I should just bury my dreams, and continue on this path. But I'm 48 years old, how much time do I have left? I just had a friend of mine die at 52, I know for sure he never did what he wanted. Most of my life, I was never given a choice in what I wanted to do. Now that I have a choice, I wonder if I will actually make one, or will I wake up in 20 years, old and dissatisfied?

Everyone wants to live under their own vine and fig tree, right? Well, I need to be in a place where these things actually grow. That's not here.

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