I decided it's time to revive this old blog...
There are a few perfect numbers in the world, and 8 is one of them. I curse the early humans for choosing to include their thumbs when they counted... Imagine if we lived in a world of base 8? Think about it... 8 / 2 = 4, 4 / 2 = 2, 2 / 2 = 1... You can't do that with 10. (10, 5, 2.5, 1.25, etc...) And then you could use your thumbs to represent the "tens" (not actually 10 since it's base-8), thus you could count to 30 on your fingers, which would actually be 24 in base 10. Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you that base 8 is way better, just saying there's a very good reason there are 8 bits in a byte, and I think the number 8 carries special powers in other ways too.
One way is in the cycle of my life... Every 8 years, it seems I go through some sort of major change. For the first 8 years of my life, I was just a kid doing kid things, barely thinking about anything other than my own world. From 8 to 16 I went through more of a self-aware phase, during which time I developed cynicism and pessimism. Around the age of 16, my world changed drastically as I transitioned from kid to pre-adult, a phase that lasted a surprisingly long time. I never really felt like an adult even after I was done with college (dropped out after 1.33 years), moved out on my own, bought my own house, etc... A part of me always felt like a kid waiting to grow up. It was probably around 24 that I started to transition over into full-blown adulthoot. Around that time, my idea of a good party stopped being 100 people crammed into a smokey house with 2 kegs, and started being more like a dozen good friends, a couple of 12-packs, and maybe a bottle of tequila. During this phase, I also started to try to figure out my path for the rest of my life.
One of the big questions I asked myself during the past 8 years was whether or not I wanted to settle down and be a family-man, or pull up my roots and float on the breeze. I had always been tempted to wander off aimlessly, but I knew that if I ever wanted to do the family thing, I would have to start soon. So I made an ultimatum: try one more time, and if it doesn't work out this time, then it means I'm supposed to follow the whims that take me wherever they may...
About half way through that 8-year period, I thought I had achieved my goal of settling down, and I thought I was on my way to creating that American Dream suburban family that would become my life for the next couple decades and maybe more.
But then, last October, I was thinking how odd it was that turning 32 was far more significant to me than turning 30. People always think of 30 as a big turning point, because it's the end of your "twenties" and for many it signifies the end of youth, and for a depressingly large number of people, it seems to be viewed as "the beginning of the end." That's a sad way to live... That's like looking at your watch on Saturday afternoon and saying "crap, the weekend is almost over, that sucks!" I guess it will feel like a downhill slope if you choose to look at it that way, but I'm still climbing over here.
Anyway, as I was thinking about how little things changed when I turned 30, and how much things started changing when I turned 32, that's when I realized why. Subconsciously, I don't look at life in a base-10 perspective, because it doesn't make sense. We have 4 directions on the compass, 4 seasons in the year, 4 tidal cycles a day (rise twice, ebb twice)... My human-education teaches me to use base-10 but my heart knows base-8 is the true natural system. And so, the significant dates in my life fall on cycles of 8 years. Think about it, did anything special happen on your 10th birthday? 20th? At 20 you were probably just counting down the days to 21, if you're anything like me. The birthdays that mattered most were 16, 24 (right after the novelty of being 21 wears off), and now 32.
So it came as no surprise when my marriage started to crumble... It happened so gradually that we barely noticed. Just took a few big catalysts to shake the dust off and expose our true feelings... The hardest part of it all was that we still had a lot of love for eachother, but it was soaked in sadness. Not about anything specific, just about the fact that our love has no foundation to stand on. We thought love is the only thing we need to make it work, but the truth is you need compatibility at numerous levels. You need to be compatible not only in your day-to-day activities, but also in your fundamental perspective on life itself. We discovered that we had different definitions of marriage, different expectations of how our lives would go. We found that we have very few interests in common, she had no interest in most of the things I enjoy doing, and I had no intrest in the things she wanted to do.
What's more is that I don't believe it would be right for either of us to ask the other to change. The thing is, you can't change who you are, you can only pretend to change. Doing that will just cause problems further down the road. If we tried to compromise for eachother to make it work, one or both of us would end up resenting the other eventually, leading to a situation where we're stuck with a family and counting down the days until they move out and we can go our separate ways. Kind of like what happened with my parents.
Fortunately, I have a rare gift. Sometimes it seems like a curse, but I am thankful that I have this ability anyway... I can see into the future. Not the complete future, just my own future. You see, my life is almost perfectly parallel to my dad's life in many ways. We both grew up in Minnesota, dropped out of college, had dreams of moving west, eventually did move west... So far, the only major differences are that I moved west before getting a divorce, and I got divorced before having kids. I know my dad doesn't regret having kids, as any parent would say, but that's because things are different after kids are born. Before a kid is conceived, it is nothing more than an idea, and you can't feel regret over an idea, you can't feel guilty about an idea, because the idea cannot be hurt. If I have kids, then I run the risk of seeing them hurt, but if I never have kids then nobody can be hurt by my lack of action.
So, because of my ability to see my own destiny, I have been able to derail my path for the time being. I'm not saying I changed the future, it is entirely possible I will still end up in the same place eventually, but at least for now I have opened the door for a new future, one that does not result in me living in a castle in Idaho waiting for the kids to visit. Not that that would be a bad thing, just that maybe I'm supposed to do something different.
The obvious next question is: what's next? Well, at this point it's too soon to say for sure, but my immediate reaction is that I feel compelled to be a better buddhist. I helped some people get home from the bar a couple weeks ago, and even though I sacrificed several hours of my night and walked 3 miles on a sprained knee, I felt good helping them, and one of them gave me valuable advice about the troubles with my relationship, so it was an all-around good experience in my mind. And even though that night was the catalyst that ultimately put the final nail in the marriage's coffin, I know that it was inevitable anyway so it's not like things would've been different if that night never happened. It would've been the same, just would've taken longer and therefore wasted more time.
So anyway, my current plan is to go with the flow and try not to say No to anybody. If you need help, or just need a friend, or whatever, I'll be doing my part to spread good karma. I'm probably going to travel a lot. I'd like to see if I could take my home office on the road, work from wherever I end up each day. But first I have a ton of work to do on this house so I can sell it soon. No point in having this much room if I'm not going to need it... Unfortunately I tore out the kitchen, dining room, and living room right before things started to fall apart. Now I'm committed to finishing it, but at least now I can do things my way because my original project stakeholder is no longer concerned with this house. I'll save about $1000 by using the materials I want to use, and cutting out some of the unnecessary pieces of the design (like the window through the wall, all it does is lose wall space).
On a side note, my personal website has been shut down until further notice, I got tired of paying too much for domain registration and website hosting, and unfortunately I have to let 90 days go by before I can get my domain back from the registrar. FYI: register.com is evil. Anyway, what this means to me is that any pictures posted to this blog (which were hosted on that site) are going to be broken either indefinitely or until I decide to re-instate my website with a different provider. Since I don't really care that much about pictures, I'll probably just leave it down.