5 days and 40 miles, the first day of which was down, down, down and only down. Try the top of stadium steps that are 1 mile above the field. Now put on 60+ pounds of pack (because there is no water on the way down), and get to the field alive and before dark. Oh, and along the way there are extended lengths of trail where falling over literally means death.
That was the hardest f*cking thing I have ever done, and I tell you truly, I was scared.
While I do something like this (well, not always as dangerous) once a year or so, it speaks to a sense of adventure that is a part of me, though one that I have at times lost touch with - don't want to paint a picture of me as Mr. Constant Adventure. I do want to paint a picture of someone who likes to do stuff - seeking out live music, heading into the mountains, hunting and gathering and getting lost.
This summary is no place to dive into the bigger things that have meaning for me, but... I believe in honesty and openness and I value vulnerability. Connection is what makes us human, and without it we are dead. I alone am responsible for my happiness. Great experiences and rich relationships are bonus. I've been down the hard, hard path of learning to love and how unhealthy attachment ruins things. I know what my values are and consciously work to stay in integrity with them.
If what you read here is interesting or, even better, exciting, do reach out. I'm not keen on much online communication. Face to face is where it's at, and first dates for me are all about talking - a beer, a coffee, a walk, a park bench, a swing set... Let's go! And... Can I just say... It's ok to reach out. Seriously. I've been contacted by very, very few people. I know it's a cultural norm to let/want the guy to make the first move, but f*ck that. Send me a message for crissake.
After 15 years of software development, a career I was OK at but never loved, I am at last engaged in something that Really Matters to me: working with children in mental health. The agency I work for serves very high-need children, often with severe and terrifying histories of trauma, in public schools. I love what I do in a way that I didn't understand was possible, and it's not some altruistic Miss America, "I'm going to work for world peace," bullshit. I can't save the world. I may or may not even manage to "save" one kid. I can honor the life I've been given by doing what it appears I'm meant to do here. No one is more surprised to find me here than me.
being in the kitchen. I'm no genius chef, but I know my way around and like cooking with a partner. I have pretty good knife skills.
almost anything physical. Snowboarding is my favorite thing, and I am really good at it. It's not like I was pro or anything, but I love it and am super confident in my abilities. In general, I am good at and enjoy anything physical: road biking, mountain biking, yoga, backpacking, climbing, soccer, running, and so on.
"Damnn!!! Those jeans look good on you!"
Actually, I really have no idea and don't much care.
Movies: I don't see many movies and don't like them as a date. When I do go I usually really like it, both because I'm selective about what I see and because I go infrequently enough that it's exciting to get the popcorn!
Books: I like to read, but it turns out that my reading mostly happens at bedtime. I usually fall asleep very quickly and drop the book on my face. Ha! You laugh, but it's funnier in real life. My favorite book is East of Eden. That one leaves a bruise.
socioeconomic inequality. I've heard it said the poverty is the biggest social problem in America, but I think that economic disparity is the real poison here.
how to be Ryan and to really do, with courage and an open heart, what I'm best suited to do with my time here.
how restorative practices in schools may be a key piece in the long road to healing.
the very deep underlying reasons that african american boys are outrageously overrepresented in school office referral and suspension statistics, dropping out of school, going to jail and dying.
love and happiness and how very different the world looks with a different understanding of those two things than I previously had.
- you're willing to meet in person - coffee/tea or a drink to start. I am totally not interested in online conversations that go beyond basic screening nor am I interested in a long distance relationship.
- you're moved by Brené Brown's work and want to talk about it
- hiking, backpacking, surfing, mt. biking or do a Muddy Buddy, etc.
- you value connection and agree with me, though perhaps in less dramatic terms, that without it we are the walking dead.
- you are responsible for your happiness and expect me to be for mine.
- you are interested in loving me for who I am, not for what I do or what I can buy or where I work or the number of stamps in my passport.
- you are willing to let yourself be seen and loved for who you are not for what you do or what you can buy or where you work or the number of stamps in your passport.