"Does this rain make you want to watch The Goonies?"
This may not seem incredibly profound to you. How could it? I have given you a quote completely out of context. Even the title of this post has no real context for you. You have absolutely no positive idea where I am going, just your own interpretation of what my meaning is.
This is how we meet people, those to whom we apply the term "stranger." People who we have no context for, people who are a complete mystery to us. This is how I met Craig McAdams.
Of course your outward knowledge of someone has very little bearing on your ability to connect with them. Craig and I have a ton in common. We both enjoy running and exercise as meditation. I favor weight more and Craig likes long distance running. In those activities we find our ability to be mindful of the moment enhanced and feel all of the benefits of meditation that many get from sitting still and silent.
We are only about 4 years apart in age, so our pop culture references are a truly shared vocabulary. We have the same favorite Christmas film, Christmas Vacation, and the same rainy day film, The Goonies. (The quote up top is making a bit more sense now.) We have pretended sticks were guns, close groups of trees were forts and admitted there is an incredible amount of magic and creativity in the world when you are just open to it.
Craig and I both had jobs we were not happy with, but that's an oversimplification of things. Craig and I both had places in life we were not happy with and that's where we found some serious connective tissue. For six years he worked at a job he was not happy at, looking for the next opportunity, the way out. It's not at all different form my story really. Looking back, this most recent adventure did not start a month or even six months ago. It began five years ago when I started realizing it was time to leave the military. Unhappiness at work is a killer, so I left that job, but I was too afraid to make a go at this, so I found another job and then another. A series of quick runs that never got me where I wanted to go. Believe me, whether you wait for six years for your opportunity or bounce around until you find it, it is no different. You are still unhappy and trying to find something that drives you.
During our conversation, we bounce around a million topics. We talk about work/life balance and how neither of us believe in it. We don't believe in reallocating things to make everything balance out. Craig and I believe in prioritizing what is important to you and giving those things their attention and moving on down the line, an ordered life. I imagine to some that will seem odd, but to us it makes total sense. If family is your driver, your dream, then that should be the number one item on your list and work should come after, end of story. If work is most important to you, swap that. What we think of as balance is more a matter of priorities and holding to them, at least in the minds of two guys at a West Ashley coffee spot in a rain storm.
There are lots of things that stick with me from this chat, from all of these connections, but nostalgia and fear are the topics that I am mulling over while writing this. We've already established a mutual love for The Goonies, it is our childhood for Craig and I, something you cannot replace or recreate, a feeling, a mood, ephemeral magic on a shiny disc. If you remake that film, your two biggest haters are these guys. We find comfort in it. The same way we find comfort in what we hate, because we don't have to face what we fear.
This topic keeps popping up, about people being afraid to take a plunge and pursue their dreams. It echoes in the fear people have of connecting with one another as well. During our time, we both impulsively check our phones, like some sort of digital safety blanket. It is comforting. We don't even know exactly what we are looking for when we check. The same comfort that forms the warm and cozy layers of our respective nostalgia blankets, is the basis for why we tolerate things that make us miserable. We know it and so it is comfortable. We know it and so it is defined.
We know it and so it is safe, even if we hate it.
Craig and I have a ton in common. We are only 4 years apart in age, and feel like we just now know ourselves. These are our best years and we both seek to make them the happiest. There are definitely future cups of coffee and conversations in our future, but we both have work to do. It's raining and we need to watch The Goonies.
Favorite Dinosaur: Brontosaurus
Why: Gentle and he eats lots of plants (a lot like Craig)