nontraditional quarter-life crisis

the big gap
Incredibly timely... one of my facebook friends just posted, "You are one wild kid, love to hear your adventures" after my status about buying surfboard accessories.

I've thought about this a lot - a LOT - recently, but it occurred to me tonight that I should jot it down. After breaking up with Brian and having a few false relationship starts in the spring / early summer, I decided not to seek out anyone to date. Too much hassle, too much work, too much heartache.

I was already running a pretty rugged scheduled - started that last year when going through the divorce. There were a lot of times I felt I was out there running with my demons. I have this really vivid memory after running the Malibu Creek 25K (15+ miles), on a very mountainous course at Malibu Creek State Park. Sid had come with me, even though we were only a few weeks from moving apart and filing our paperwork. We were sitting at a Whole Foods, eating food from the deli, and I started thinking, "I can run this crazy, tough race in the mountains, but I can't save my marriage."

And when he left, I tried to go rock climbing or hiking or peak bagging each weekend, to stay busy and laser in on the reason I was not willing to eventually move to Mumbai - being outdoors and active.

This winter as the rebound with Brian came to a close, I learned to ski, bought skis, then a ski pass, and went several times... alone. And I went to the SSCA Slideshow alone. And then climbing, and hiking, and climbing, and hiking, and peak bagging, surfing, hiking, climbing... you get the idea. Some with friends, some alone. I was mostly away from home for several weekends in a row, and I finally forced myself to stay home and clean this past one.

I've been filling my schedule so I don't get lonely. It's pretty simple. You won't pine for a boy if you've got somewhere to be or something to accomplish, right? And now there's this guy I met at a meeting, and we've been texting almost daily, and we've met for drinks, a movie, at my house... all in one week. And my brain is hijacked, as one of my friends so aptly put it. And I'm worried it'll be another false lead... and I won't have even sought out that heartbreak

What's funny to me is that he's noted that I'm so busy and active. (Just like my facebook buddy pointed out tonight.) I think - although I could be wrong - that he thinks he'd slow me down. Case in point, weekend before last I did a 12 mile hike on Saturday and a big climb on Sunday. He BBQ'd by the pool. I'm not sure if he knows that I'd trade quite a bit of what I'm doing for a little of that. That a girl might prefer to relax and have some family time instead of running around doing something strenuous.

It's true. A girl might.

Surf Lesson
Yesterday I learned to surf. Had a private lesson with Ryan. Started at 9 AM, and I think he took off about 11:30 AM. He let me keep the board for the afternoon... actually didn't need it back until Wednesday, but I didn't think I'd be back in Ventura before then.

Sawtooth Peak - Mineral King, Sequoia NP
Climbed Sawtooth Peak in Mineral King on Saturday.

Camped at Atwell Mill Friday night - got there well after dark in the valley. Drove on to see if there were sites at Cold Spring - only walk-ins, which I did not feel like figuring out at 9 PM. So I went back to Atwell Mill. It was great... didn't even bother zipping my bivy. Just laid out loose like I was one of the pinecones. Woke up maybe once or twice and wondered about bears, but not long enough to do anything about it.

Got up shortly after the 5:30 alarm and tossed the bivy / sleeping bag combo in the back of the tracker, pulled my food out of the bear locker, and headed to the trailhead. It wasn't really an alpine start, but I needed the sleep after a week of Smith System instructor training.

Started up the trail about 7 AM, a little behind one couple and ahead of four guys. Made great time up to Monarch Lakes. Didn't realize until the way down how many switchbacks I ascended. Saw a doe and two young fawns, a buck, lupine and bluebells, a mother grouse and three chicks, a very elusive male grouse... Took a lot of pictures that aren't very good because of the morning light. Will have to remember that for the future. Creek crossings were fine - required some planning and careful foot placement, but not like the torrent I saw the week before.

At Upper Monarch Lake, I could not find the alleged official trail to Sawtooth Pass. It was supposed to veer northwest, towards Sawtooth Pass (left of the peak). Other people had taken a use trail to the upper end of the lake, towards the saddle to the right of the peak. So I decided to try that, keeping in mind that the other people might just be a SAR case in waiting. It was fine until the big snowfield at the upper end of the lake - the route disappeared at that point. There were some steep sections on the way up the saddle - I veered sort of left, since it looked better there. It wasn't. I made some very commited moves (i.e. low class 5) that I would not have been willing to downclimb. But I was pretty sure there were better options closer to the center of the saddle for the route down. Kind of a leap of faith on that. It helped that two of the guys from the party of four were coming up behind me, and they were working their way up more in that vicinity. They seemed unhappy, but safe.

The whole upper slope was made up of boulders and a lot of scree... like Pebble-Tec without the epoxy. Actually pretty easy to climb, and ultimately great for descending. Not doing much for the vegetation to have people going willy-nilly all over the slope, but since there's no trail, there's not much choice. I talked with the guys behind me once we were at the saddle. They'd decided to quit for the afternoon and asked if I was going to summit. I said no, but then changed my mind after they started the descent. I was within 1000 feet of it... summit fever set in.

Some clouds were moving in, which I expected, since I had passed the "off by noon" point. By the time I was about 70 feet from the top, the group ahead of me - 6 teenage boys - was coming off. They told me it had started to sprinkle on them. Since I was alone at the top and the weather was coming, I didn't boulder up to the very crest - the only routes I could see looked very committed. I bouldered up as much as I felt confident in downclimbing. It would have been no big deal if I'd been with a partner or even if another group were coming, but I wasn't willing to risk a twisted ankle from a short fall, with the long scramble down and impending weather. (So, everyone who told me to "be careful", I was.. finally.) It also seemed I'd have a hard time finding the registry amongst the boulders, and I just didn't have the time. Took my photos, then started down. It started to sprinkle, and about 40 feet down I had to throw on the raingear.

The first rain lasted only 10 minutes or so, with a few ice crystals for flair. There was a break in the weather, and I was able to take off the raingear and do most of the descent to the saddle in the clear. Never did see the official trail, although I looked for the areas described in the guidebook. Just below the saddle, the thunder started. If that 1 second per mile away equation is true, the storm was still 10 miles away. That descreased pretty quickly as I descended to the lake... that was the part of I was worried about, because it wasn't the way I'd come up. It was fine. After I finished the big snowfield where I'd initially lost the use trail, the rain started. By the time I reached the upper end of Upper Monarch, the rain started.

I threw on the raingear and proceeded through the boulder hopping and snowfields around the north shore of the lake. There were some people above me - coming down from Mineral Peak, maybe? - who were in a much worse position when it started. I actually had fun, safe in my Arc'teryx rainsuit and OR Talus mitts. I was happy as a clam, even when it started to hail. I felt incredibly grateful for the timing on the storm. It would not have been fun to be higher up when that started. It continued to rain for maybe 30 minutes, totally soaking the rocks. I made one foolish and totally unnecessary slide on a slab between Upper and Lower Monarch Lakes, which was a good reminder of how dangerous it could have been higher up the steep stuff... as well as of the importance of knees.

By the time I hit level ground at Lower Monarch Lake, the storm was subsiding. Four or five parties were camped there, some who'd climbed, and others who hadn't. They'd sat out the storm in their tents. One guy asked me if it was "totally over". Ha ha. I peeled off the raingear at the lower end of Lower Monarch, grabbed a snack, briefly envied their awesome campsites (until a mosquito bit me), and headed on.

The last few miles were great weather-wise. By the final 1.5 miles, the balls of my feet were hurting. (This was the 11th hour since I'd left the car... and I sat less than one hour of that time.) I may not have noticed the switchbacks on the way up, but I started to wonder if I'd stepped into an Escher drawing on the way down. And Sawtooth Pass trail taunts you with glimpses of the parking lot from many, many switchbacks away. The final creek crossing was no worse than in the morning, and I saw the same buck as I had earlier in the morning. Then the hike was over. Traded the boots for the Chacos... wasn't really a relief for a few hours.

I think I should have been hallucinating, but some young dudes were cavorting shirtless above a waterfall in Monarch Creek when I left... I could see them from the parking lot. I should have imagined that. But I'm pretty sure they were real cold-water fanatics.

I checked the car for marmot damage or stow-aways, collected my cooler from the bear locker, and headed home.

The drive was BRUTAL. I started down Mineral King Road at 7:15 PM and got home shortly after 11 PM. It was a full on battle to stay awake down Highway 65. It was good to wake up at home, but probably wouldn't have been worth getting in an accident. If I were to do it again, I think I might camp at Atwell Mill again (just keep the campsite, better yet) or stay in Three Rivers. Then again, it wouldn't be as long a day because I'd know the way.

Lessons learned:
1) Just camp at Atwell Mill... don't bother driving up to Cold Springs at 9 PM to wake everyone up with your headlights while you look for a non-existent open, drive-up campsite.
2) Bring your raingear. It is awesome.
3) Buy new boots...? The feet always hurt after several miles - especially downhill - in these.
4) Don't trust that the trail will be there, even if the guidebook says it's well-marked. They obviously lie.
5) If the trail isn't there, might as well keep exploring. As long as you've got good visuals (i.e. not going to end up going in circles), you can turn back at any point. And maybe you'll find a good route and still make the goal.

great eHarmony strategies
So I joined eHarmony awhile back.  I joined on a free weekend, and then took a subscription deal they offered.  Good marketing.  And no harm done, right?

But the thing is, it's time consuming.  And you get matches who really are not so amazingly suited to you, as they claim.  For example, I regularly get 5'4" guys matched to me, and I listed height as "very important".  (I'm 5'7".)  In their defense, I guess they don't ask you to specify which direction it's important in... taller or shorter.

As a result of their brilliant matching system, I've spent more time than I like communicating with people who really aren't long-term material.  (Or even short-term, in many cases.)

So today I posted this under "Is there any additional information you would like your matches to know about you?"

"In terms of a long-term partner, I'm looking for someone who is interested in and able to keep up with me outdoors - some combination of mountain climbing, rock climbing, backpacking, skiing, etc.  I like to get out 2-3 weekends a month, and I want to do that with my significant other.  That's a big time and energy commitment, so it's important to state up front.  Better to consider now, than after several stages of communication.

"That said, I'm totally happy to make friends who don't share those interests.  (Just not a boyfriend or eventual husband.)  It's great to meet new people to have dinner with, travel around the area, etc."

I know... might as well unsubscribe now, and plan on a career of solo mountaineering.  But there's nothing more annoying that going through three levels of quiz questions with someone who turns out to spend his time hanging out at the mall.  If you're going to subscribe, might as well use it ridiculously efficiently, right?

ages later...
Last post was over a year ago, and kind of a lifetime ago. Between then, I ended up dating my rock climbing instructor, Brian. We climbed and hiked together a couple times in April and early May 2009, which turned into a relationship around Memorial Day. I broke up with him this past spring, so that's the rebound relationship now over. I feel really bad for him and his current situation, but I was really honest all along and he needed to handle things as best suited him.

Quick timeline:

Beginning of March - Sid stopped coming to climbing class, getting ready to move
March 14 - Climbed at New Jack City with class
April 4 - Picked up keys to my new apartment
April 9 - Official move day
April 10 - Climbed at New Jack City with Brian
April 20 - filed divorce paperwork at the courthouse; Sid left for San Francisco. He stayed there about a week, then spent a month or so in India. Started his new job in Norway in June.
April 25 - Climbed at Apple Valley
May 3 - Hiked Lamont Peak
May 8-10 - Duke MBA Graduation weekend in Durham
May 16-17 - Climbed Olancha Peak
Memorial Day weekend - planned to climb Langley; went to Rockhouse Basin instead
June 7 - hiked Palos Verdes
June 13 - climbed Dome Rock?
June 20 - climbed at Dome Rock, SSCA slideshow
June 27 - climbed Black Wall, off Highway 33
4th of July weekend - backpacking in Lassen Volcanic Nat'l Park
July 25 - Nadeem visited and met up in Santa Barbara
August - supposed to climb Langley; Brian had to work, did White Mountain Peak instead
August 28 - September 3 - 65 mile backpacking trip from Horseshoe Meadow to Mineral King
Labor Day weekend - San Francisco and Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore
September 17 - sprained my foot climbing
September 19 - hiked painfully on Congress Trail in Sequoia
Late September - Brian found out he was losing his job. Didn't want to look for anything yet, but didn't want to talk about it. The beginning of the end, really, because that remained the status until early February.
mid-October - Napa "reunion" with Duke MBA group; Clear Lake, California
Halloween weekend - climbed most of San Gorgonio
November 14 - ran 2nd Bakersfield Half Marathon
Thanksgiving - went to Tahoe, did some snowshoeing
December 12 - ran Mr. Toad's Wild Run 20K
Christmas - visited Grandma in Virginia
January - did some snowshoeing; learned to alpine ski
February - visited Grand Junction and MBA "reunion" ski trip at Keystone & Breckenridge
February 20 - ran Bakersfield Half Marathon
March - bought skis and a season pass to Sierra Summit... then a house
last weekend of March - Death Valley
April - ran Kern River Trail Run and Rio Bravo Trail Run - both 10 milers
May - moved to new house; after a few months of pretty serious conversations, told Brian I couldn't be in a committed relationship with him any longer, given how he'd handled his lay-off and his housing situation.
June 21 - SSCA slideshow; signed on as Treasurer of SSCA
June 28 - Anne visited
4th of July - went to Clear Lake, ran around the lake
July 10-11 - climbed with Daniel
last weekend - Mineral King, training with SMR, etc.

... and that brings me to now.

Only three weeks to go in Term 8 of the MBA -- almost done! Unbelievable.

Sid got the job in Norway and he must start there by June 1. He will go to India to tell his parents about his decision in late April. I tried my best to suggest alternatives, but he is dead set on his course to live in India and have a career that limits him (ahem, us) to Mumbai. I can't do that. More importantly, I can't be a clear third priority behind his career and his parents. I was cool with being equal to his parents and the career following in priority -- but that's not the ranking, and it would very likely lead to more problems.

I'm really sad about all this, but I just cannot be the only one who ever alters plans for the sake of the marriage.

My go-forward plan:

- PhD applications done, although could still apply to Uni Mannheim. Not sure I'm interested in that one still, though.
- Stay in Bakersfield for now -- got a good job at least, which is enviable in this economy. Also I need some time to regroup.
- Find an apartment and move in late March / early April.
- Depending on PhD results, apply for jobs in other places I like.
- Keep running, rock climbing, tackle some peaks come summer.
- Get the Spanish skills back.. might as well, since I hear it 50% of the time at work
- Apply for the CPLP credential, maybe?

I've run two races since February -- Montana de Oro Trail Run at 12K and the Bakersfield Half Marathon. Also back into the distance trail running, after 13.4 miles in the Hart Park hills last weekend. Too bad the season here is short, but it's a good time of year now.

last update for "friends" only
There's a newer post here, but it's "friends only". So if you're a friend, log in. If you're a real world friend but not a LiveJournal "friend", sign on up and I'll give you access. It's nice to know people care.

Winter Solstice
... 4:04 AM on Sunday

fight it off...
Big weekend of things to do:

- finish Negotiations paper
- finish Leadership paper
- buy remaining Christmas gifts
- work on PhD applications
- clean the house
- plan something for New Year's
- try not to hate the holidays

Too many days I feel like I have nothing to look forward to, and that's a rough feeling this time of year.

Sid's off to Fresno today to get a travel authorization for his interim Green Card status, so he can go to a job interview in Norway in January. He has another potential opportunity in Scotland. Both places I would have been interested in living, if it made any sense to keep pursuing this. Instead, there is a really good chance I'll be moving to an apartment on my own before the last term of school, or by April at the latest. Really depressing.

Things I'm grateful for:
- rock climbing class; gives me something to look forward to and
- connecting with old friends, even though it's hard to bring them up to speed
- going to finish the MBA degree, barring something really unforeseen
- there's someone out there I'm meant to be with, I hope

life in hours and halves
if you plan to cross Siberia, count every 1000 steps as a goal achieved. (thank you, bear grylls of man vs wild, for that one.)

my 1000 steps per weeknight:

1 hour - work out (read homework if at gym)
1/2 hour - job and/or Ph.D. applications
1/2 hour - make dinner, eat
1/2 hour - sort papers (during Daily Show)
1/2 hour - write email (during Colbert Report)
1 hour - more homework

repeat, repeat, repeat

priorities for Siberia -- stay warm, stay fueled, stay hydrated, stay away from bears.

priorities for life:
1) the person - husband
2) the PLACE - lost track of this one before, will not again
3) the job - enjoy your work
3) the people - connections to friends and family
4) the money - person before money, place before money, job before money, people before money... but money does still matter. this is no longer AmeriCorps.


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