Sunday, September 12, 2010

the greater good

i'm glad i'm here.
i'll start off with that.

there are times when i imagine what it would be like if i were back in provo, still. and what? assisting on an occasional movie and just hanging around, being awesome, mostly.
been there, done that.

life here isn't as elysian as it was behind the red door. there, i had gotten to the point where everything was in its place for the most part: i was working enough to pay my bills and store a little in the bank, liked my ward and was usually teaching sunday school, played mario kart with my brother on sundays, saw my sister and nephews regularly, and had some seriously dang friends to watch movies, go shoot junk, or hang out at ihop.

in a way, it was kind of like playing a dragon warrior game, where i had gone through every castle and dungeon, collected every treasure chest and completed every side quest. i could wander around some, but there wasn't much left to do but go fight the final boss and finish the game. (not that i'm saying my life in provo was perfect or that i had all the answers, please don't misunderstand)

on the drive down to texas, tim reminded me of something that i said at my birthday party: i have the greatest group of friends in the world and i wouldn't trade [them] for anything. ...except that i am.
at times, that's echoed around in my mind.

i've told myself that i didn't want to be someone who sacrifices family and friends for career pursuits; and that's not my nature. i'm not that kind of a person.
so what was i doing leaving behind a circle of friends whom i valued more than just about anything else in the world?

the answers aren't too difficult, but i've still had to remind myself at moments just the same.
first, the immediacy of friendship can be transitory. in other words, especially in singlehoodnesship, our lives in the midst of change and flux. people get married or move away or whatnot. in the four years of movie night, the roster turned over completely at least three times (with the exception of mark).
in that respect, i'm glad that i was able to leave on such a high note, friendshiply speaking.

second, that circle of friends, though seriously dang, is not my ultimate goal. i want a family, and i want to be able to provide for said imaginary family. as a camera assistant, i wasn't quite seeing that. and i've essentially spent six years looking in to that and did not find what i was looking for.

so, i've given up something really wonderful in the hopes of laying a foundation for something even greater still.

and that means starting over. when you finish dragon warrior 2, you've got all the armor and the spells so that nothing can really stop you. but when you pop in dragon warrior 3, at the start it's just you with a wooden sword and a shirt.
such is my state now.

it takes patience to start anew. i make friends for life, but that takes time. another pearl of wisdom tossed out by tim on our cross-country drive is that you make friends in three stages:
1. location. people who live by you or who are in your classes; i've seen you before, let's do something.
2. interests. other nerds who like computer animation or black and white foreign films or the restored gospel. we have something in common; cool, let's hang out.
3. people you actually like. often distilled from groups 1 & 2, though not exclusively nor automatically. if you're reading this, you might be a three.

you can't force it. it takes time. and it's hard to start over. but you have to start somewhere. even in the blessed 223rd, i didn't make friends on sunday so much as during the other activities, most notably f.h.e. group 2. at this point, i haven't had the opportunity to go to many ward activities down here, but this week it's looking like i'll be able to go to f.h.e., institute, and the temple trip on friday (still getting used to having the closest temple be 90 minutes away).

i'm a people person. the usual connotation i carry with that term is the guy at the party who's going around and meeting everyone, so that by the end of the night he can name all of their names and has likely sold them an apex alarm system or two.
that's not me.
rather, people make the difference for me. while our trips to moab, lagoon, or the festival of colors are all awesome, i equally cherish the memories i have of a post-movie night ihop run, of a good rock band song, or a trip to the i.c. nothing particularly extravagant in the description, but being with the friends i really like makes it seriously dang awesome.

i don't know where life will take me, or even what life will be like here.
but here is where i'm supposed to be now. and i'm glad i'm here.
and i will always love and hold my friends in utah.

mark, i await your comment.


Em said...

I would add to #3, either a deeper level to #3, or a #4 altogether.

There are the people you hang on to over both time and distance because their being in your life makes you a better person. Their friendship puts a constructive energy into your life that makes life richer, and makes you raise the bar for yourself regularly.

I find I tend to slowly filter out all but these kinds of friends over the years. (And places).

And you're right. Starting over is hard. I'm actually in the midst of it myself, without the benefit of YSA activities or FHE's. It's hard to make friends without such ideal settings.... and you won't always have them so enjoy them while you do.

Jack said...

i'm really glad you're so dang awesome. there, i said it. and i meant it.

Jaime said...

super awesome post. i like how you put things and how honest you were. i too, have been thinking about this, the past couple months, but, years as well. while i loved movie night and all the people there, that is why i slowly transitioned out of it. i want a family and while the movie night group was great, spending so much time there, was maybe keeping me from meeting potential family makers. i felt like i sold out or something, but, i had to look at it like, friends in this stage are like tim said, for a reason. but, when trying to get married, they're hopefully a means to an end. (i dont know quite how to put this. it's coming out all wrong like, if we're not going to get married, idont want to be friends. i'm sure you know what i ACTUALLY mean. you did write it in this post.)

you're awesome. way to be pursuing other goals. everyone will always remember you here. :)

Anonymous said...

I rather imagine that the sacrifices we make in this life will be returned to us 100-fold.

You're right. Family is the most important thing, and though you're leaving was to pursue a career change, that is your ultimate goal. And it is worth it.

The friends you've given up are not lost. They'll be there after all, like wheat in the garners.

Becky said...

Nice post. Since I never got into Dragon Warrior, I can liken it to Zelda and understand very well.

Brooke said...

You haven't traded us in because you needed to be somewhere else! You are moving forward and isn't that really the point? You can't expect to experience the world if you stay in one place. While friends ARE important, Family is essential! You inspire me. The though of picking up and moving on to somewhere in the distance has been prevalent as of late and while I would miss this life, perhaps there's another life to be had that's just as great! If only we leap into the unknown...

Mark A. said...

The Greater Good.

The Former 786 said...

Jeff, that was a very inspirational post. And it was, oddly enough, exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you for that.

Also, love that Dragon Warrior analogy. Great stuff.