Tick Tock

My friend unexpectedly died in his sleep in February. He read my blog. He was 43.

Another close friend’s dad died three days later, on the 4th anniversary of my brother-in-law’s death.

My sister lost a friend to suicide a few days after that.

 

And I find myself lost, and thinking I’m not doing enough, and knowing death is inevitable and feeling the crushing urgency of time yet needing to know it’s OK to take it. My time. Tell me it’s OK.

Thoughts swirl, action is needed, everyone says we should be more efficient, and if we’re not moving forward we’re falling behind. Life is good, but where is it going?

I’ll be 40 in ten days. It turns out those who have mid-life crises are usually those who conform to other people’s expectations without being true to themselves. I’m fairly certain I’m in the clear in that regard, but saying I live my life at a frantic pace while looking over my shoulder in an effort to outrun stinging regret isn’t at all inaccurate, and this entire sentence reads like a stress-related pathology.

I write things and post them here when I’ve done something debatably cool or I’m figuring something out. 2017 was very much a holding pattern kind of year, the kind where I’d have made progress if only outside bullshit would’ve gotten out of the way. I didn’t travel much. I didn’t explore much. I didn’t photograph much. I didn’t create much. When I did travel I was focused on spending time with close friends and mainly family. 2017 was painful in its mundanity.

So here we are, 33% of the way into 2018 and four decades into my life, and that creeping voice keeps reminding me that in the 1800’s people were old if they made it to 40 and what are you going to do about it, watch another episode of Jessica Jones?

40 is the age at which I embrace discipline. Fitness, diet, keeping these hot flashes under control. Continuing to invest in relationships that raise me up, and continuing to set those aside that would bring me down. Rediscovering my creativity after a year of basic life support and remembering what breathing feels like.

Don’t ever chase. Cut to the chase. Stay ahead in the chase, until, well, you know.

Tick tock.

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Dolled Up In St. Thomas

This year I wanted to have a creepy adventure on my birthday. The formerly-submerged-beneath-Lake-Mead ghost town of St. Thomas, Nevada was at the top of my list, and its close proximity to Las Vegas made it an ideal day trip destination for a costumed birthday girl and her nudist photographer friend.

St. Thomas was founded in 1865 and became home to about 500 residents, complete with farms and businesses. In 1938 the town was abandoned as Lake Mead rose following the construction of the Hoover Dam. In recent years the ruins of St. Thomas became visible as Lake Mead’s water level dropped, leaving sand, shells and broken buildings behind for us to explore.

The photos that follow were taken by myself (with my Galaxy S6) and my frequent adventure partner, Jon Miller. I hope you feel like you were there with us. Enjoy!

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We drove through the Valley of Fire and made a quick left down a gravel road. Eventually we ended up here, overlooking a 2.5 mile hiking loop that wove its way through the ruins of St. Thomas.

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The path was made up of sand and thousands (millions?) of white shells.

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A pop of color in a barren landscape.

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Critter fur caught in a huge, dead piece of wood.

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The tallest of the ruins.

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Jon on the prowl.

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Collection

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Time for school!

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Inside view of the school.

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Of course we brought props!

The following photos (minus the final three) were snapped by Jon. Enter the Creepy Doll!

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Play time!

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Then, as if my birthday hadn’t been action-packed enough, my thoughtful friend surprised me with this…

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Awwww!

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Jon had miraculously packed all of this AND cold Coke AND snacks in his backpack…and I had no idea!

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Jon in his natural state. (Not surprising in the least.)