I recognize that most of my writing, particularly when the topic is personal or introspective, comes when I’m feeling less than my best, mentally-speaking. I know this is a trait shared by others (I too well remember the days of LiveJournal, believe me), but I’m happy to report that the inspiration for this post is quite the opposite from my usual proclivities.

Two months ago I moved 800 miles away from my home town of the past 23 years, moved away from my small circle of friends, and—most lamentably—moved away from my loving wife, all in the hopes that a new job in a new city will help give me the fire or inspiration to kick my own ass out of the funk I recognized I was allowing my daily life to become. It was a very radical departure from where I had been, and there weren’t guarantees that it would pay off.

My new job is for a nonprofit that provides housing, counseling, and rehabilitation services to the area’s many homeless. Their ultimate aim is to eliminate homelessness in the area, and everyone with whom I’ve interacted seems genuinely committed to that goal. This is also the largest unified organization I’ve worked for, and seeing the depth and breadth of their operations has shown me the many places I can help them move forward and do even more for the community. It means so much to me that I can work for an organization that has such positive impact in the region and, as brothers Hank and John Green quip, “decrease world suck.” I, my leadership style, and my contributions have already been praised from people across the company, which helps to quiet my internal imposter syndrome. It means a lot to me that I can help, even from—or especially through—the lens of IT.

Though being away from my wife has been exceptionally hard, she and I talk regularly and send cute memes and messages to one another multiple times a day. She has been so darn supportive the whole way through, and I can’t wait until she can join me up here full-time in the new year. She is heading up here for a week next month, and I’m visiting her in October, so that excitement is a good feeling too. I owe so many of the good things in my life to her, and I eagerly look forward to the next chapter in our life together.

The two friends I knew in this area before moving been more than generous in introducing me to their wider spheres of friends, and I now have regularly-scheduled events that get me out of the house and meeting people socially. One of my big—yet unvoiced—worries about the move was that, as someone who has basically become a social recluse over the past six or so years, I wouldn’t be able or ultimately even willing to bring myself to go out and meet new people. The open arms with which I have been welcomed and accepted means the world to me, and I am forever thankful to my friends for their contributions to my success here. I feel like a part of a broad and varied community, and have felt that way since day one, which has made this migration so much easier.

Over the past year I’ve been planning a Shadowrun RPG campaign that has had me very worried; it’s using an edition and mechanics with which I’m not familiar, set in a time-frame I don’t know, in a city with which I’m still becoming familiar, and for players who largely have not participated in a non-fantasy campaign before. My big fear when running a campaign is always that the players won’t enjoy the over-arching story being told and also won’t use the setting as a springboard for their own stories. We had the session 0 for the campaign this past weekend and everyone’s interest, engagement, and zeal for their characters and how they fit into the setting absolutely swelled my heart with relief. I think we’re going to have a great series of games ahead, and the anticipatory anxiety has been replaced with a redoubled purposefulness to provide the best gaming environment possible. It’s the same level nervousness, but instead channeled into useful energy.

One activity that hasn’t changed from my old home is playing video games with my best friend, a regular habit we’ve maintained since we met more than twenty years ago. We’ve recently been going through the newly-released Baldur’s Gate 3 and have been having an absolute blast. He gets to explode things with fireballs and hit things with swords, and I get to manage the support roles, where I typically shine. He’s actually been getting into the lore and the mechanics of the system (largely based on 5th edition D&D) which is of particular joy to me since those are areas of games he usually eschews in favor of gibbed spectacle. It’s the most polished computer RPG I’ve played in a long while, and that we get to experience the story together is a genuine treat and further cements our bond, no matter how physically distant we may be.

I’ve been at my aforementioned new job for just shy of two months, and for the past two weeks my direct supervisor has been out with a personal matter. In that time several major projects have come to a head, and the organization was served a subpoena relating to a truly Herculean amount of e-mail searching and document production—which puts it firmly in the realm of my team—and which has required hours of meetings between myself and our counsel. Today was the first day my boss was back in the office and in our brief meeting he told me he has heard absolutely nothing but rave reviews of how I’ve not only handled this latest—and most unexpected—issue, but about the lines of communication I’ve opened from and to my often-siloed team, and the management of other ongoing projects, many for which I was brought in mid-stride. That makes me feel especially useful and actively beneficial to the organization at large, a feeling I haven’t had in a long time in my professional life.

In more BG3 news, there’s another friend with whom I used to be incredibly close but circumstances saw us drift apart. Much to my pure joy she and I have reconnected and make a specific effort to stay in communication, and have even aside a few hours a week to play through the game’s story with one another. It means the world to me that we can enjoy each other’s virtual company and connect on a regular and ongoing basis to share in something we both love: telling stories. We make each other laugh and understand each other’s struggles, and maintaining that connection with her is so important to me.

Now that my professional schedule has largely stabilized—unexpected judicial writs notwithstanding—today I made the call to my healthcare provider to re-start regular therapy sessions, navigating the fun intrastate rules and pitfalls of America’s medical insurance industry. I’ve spent far too much of my life waiting for something—maybe anything—to happen, either unwilling or unable to be the self-starter I needed for my own benefit. This move was obviously a huge shove in that direction, but I want to make sure I don’t retreat into old habits and find myself in another ten, twenty years, wondering what have I actually done in the world and how I have shared it with the people closest to me.

Someone else I consider a good friend—though I do worry there’s some parasocial relationship categorizing there—is a DJ on Twitch who has seen a steady rise in her average viewer count, followers and paid subscribers, and overall online presence in the two years I’ve known her. Seeing her growth as a full-time artist and community leader makes me so proud of her, and to the extent that I’ve participated in and been a part of that growth, of the impact I’ve had there as well. She’s talented, genuine, and always a laugh, and I’m continually glad to see more people get exposed to her positive and upbeat energy.

And, though this is by far the least of all the above, yet was the inciting incident that inspired this very post, today it rained. Here I am in the middle of August, watching, hearing, and smelling sheets and sheets of rain batter the streets and buildings around me. It’s Summer, and yet the petrichor is out in full force and the pluviophile in me absolutely cannot be happier. Today this new city finally and truly felt like it could be my home. For hours it came down, and I found myself smiling, all darned day.

My grandmother’s favorite saying was “this too shall pass,” and I’m reminded of a great round-table of famous actors talking about their experiences in Hollywood. Tom Hanks brought up the same sentiment, as a lesson he wished he had learned earlier in life. It’s one I try to take to heart, whether I find myself in the muck or on the rise.

You feel bad right now, you feel pissed off, you feel angry? This too shall pass.

You feel great, you feel like you know all the answers, you feel like everybody finally gets you? This too shall pass.

I know that this moment—even one lasting most all of today—doesn’t represent the whole of my existence, or erase the tough times I’ve wrestled with on the journey to it, or prevent tough times from coming in the future. What I can do, however, is recognize that at this moment—even one lasting most all of today—I am cognizant enough, self-aware enough, and fortunate enough to realize when I’m at a peak; that today truly was a good day, not just for what it contained, but for the culmination of a thousand little moments and actions on behalf of myself and others that brought it to fruition.

It would be arrogant to think that a good day like today will last forever—this too shall pass—but I’m genuinely hoping that when I wake tomorrow I’ll be inspired, energized, and find purpose spurred on by today and the unbridled joy I’ve felt for so much of it. Days like today remind me that good days are possible, that they do happen, and that they are magical. It’s up to me to put in the work to seek out and find that magic, to be open to and aware of the opportunities and possibilities that surround me every day. That all that work—and it genuinely can be work to put in the effort—can and does pay off.

Thank you for reading this, whomever you are, and I mean that with full and true sincerity. Thank you for your support and care, whether near or far, voiced or silent, and thank you for believing in me. I’m genuinely trying, and days like today are the gold standard for what I’m working toward.

Header image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay