Friday, September 19, 2008

Deep thoughts, with Russ McGarry

Yesterday hailed birthday numero 38. My phone rang, predictably, at 12:27pm, Central time, the exact minute I popped onto this Earth. It was my mom, who calls every year, and who greets me live, or via voicemail, with the same message:

"It was xx years ago exactly now that I was in the hospital..." and on she goes to describe my birth: How I let out one, huge wail and then was docile and calm, how she held me to her chest and I just lay there, quiet, calm, comfortable.

I really do cherish this tradition.

About 3 hours later, I found myself curled up on the sofa, near tears, hit with the realization that HOLY SHIT IT'S MY 38TH BIRTHDAY. Birthdays serve as milemarkers, no matter how we poo-poo ("poo-poo" LOLZ) age in these "enlightened times", i.e.:

"Age is nothing but a state of mind!"

"You're only as old as you feel!"

While both of these statements remain true, it's also a time to reflect. And there, prostrate on the couch, I was doing just that.

Much has changed for me in the last two years...actually in the last year...well, to be completely honest, in the past two months. I went from being a married, freelance television writer with a house in North Hollywood to a resident of Portland, Oregon, in a relationship with one of my oldest friends, pouring beers at night and exploring the latest, freshest chapter of my life. And while change is certainly exciting, it's also frightening.

But that's the whole point now, isn't it?

Ann and I talked about it: How this paradigm shift is so uncertain and stressful, and we came to a realization, as I flopped onto my back on the sofa and she paused the episode of "The Office" we'd been watching:

Ann: So we could've stayed in Los Angeles, in a city we didn't like living in, chasing jobs we don't like, to just survive.

Me: Right. That would be "more comfortable".

Ann: Or, we could live in a city we love, maybe have to struggle a bit financially at first, and see what's out there, make new friends, and live new experiences.

Me: I think I see where you're going with this.

I cried for a bit - aka, let out one, huge wail - and then stopped. Quiet. Calm. Comfortable. Happy to be alive and here.

I guess it's just in my nature.


Stephanie said...

Oh Russ. Oh Russ oh russ oh russ. Well, now I'm crying. But the happy kind!

Nail, proverbial head, etc.

As per usual.

I mean, Happy Birthday!!!1!?!eleventy
love love love all over your Portland asses. xoxo s.

mallemaroking said...

Crying helps make it all better :)

You two have been and still are working through a really stressful time. Moving,'s difficult. The good news is that you don't have to do it alone and it provides a opportunity for the two of you to explore and make this place your own.

Deep breaths, give it time. You two are incredibly creative resourceful people who I know will end up where you want to be doing what you want to do.

seagull junker said...

be strong man. i know you can. i will continue to read your posts. rock on brother man...

fatozzig said...

Happy birthday, my new-found friend! Although aging is sometimes scary, life truly does get better as we get older. Must be something about learning from past mistakes . . . or whatever (mental eye roll). I've always been a resister to change, but in the end, the positives have always outweighed the negatives.

Also - I didn't realize you were such an old fart! (read that knowing there's a big cheesy grin on this end.)

aartilla the fun said...

oh russ-o! i loved this post so much. i love when, once realizing that it's ok to let yourself feel scared for a second, you come to an whole new, deeper realization... much deeper and more meaningful-er than "it's just a number".

good job you two! i am living vicariously through you guys!


fatozzig said...

I repeat your own words:

There's a saying that goes, "There is no glory without struggle." I repeat this in times of hardship to remind myself that in arriving beaten, battered, and bloodied at the mountain's peak, I will have learned much more than if I were dropped off to simply enjoy the view.

Miki said...

Have you guys met yet? ?
I'm talking about Jessica Deline who is also a recent Socal transplant ultrarunner freako and she is just as entertaining as you two. Maybe. ;) She's also an RD and owns a kitten and a beautiful chocolate lab puppy. Good chick to know in Portland. Hook up already and be friends so I can visit all of you one day and go running. Or if I sprain my ankle again (which did happen recently), Ann and I can drink booze while you two run off.

And imo I think you two are making some good solid happy adventurous decisions together. Rock on dudes.