BYU had made it clear that anyone with homo 'tendencies' was not welcome. I wasn't sure what to do with life. So, I headed off to explore Southern Utah for 3 weeks, alone (inspired by Everett Ruess, ha). Imagine, just me and a tent. Camping for three weeks. I came away hungry and bedraggled, but clutching a lifetime roadmap. (First day, the damn maple syrup opened in my backpack that contained my clothes.) Despite the travails and deprivation, those three weeks served me well. That 'alone' time became the foundation of the next 40 years of my life.
So now, Stephen is on a long business trip in Europe (mostly Russia--he keeps telling me--'well, one of us needs to earn money'). So, I am in our humble home in Mexico for a month. Alone. No meetings, no timetables, no schedule. No pressure (other than our in-constant-need-of-affection 7 dogs, 6 cats, 3 parrots, countless exotic chickens etc.).
It is a very exciting personal moment in my life. The slate is clear after December 31. Empty! First time in a generation or two. So many possibilities. I think the only hard and fast life lesson that applies now is that I know I won't be happy unless I am serving somehow, somewhere in some capacity. So, where and how can I best serve?
What to do with the years between now and our universal inevitable fate?
It is a reminder that for me – a very social being – it is a good thing to be alone sometimes. To get up all day and think. To have six or seven hours to read. To pull out classic movies. To make lists. To have an internal debate. To have honest personal conversations with oneself. To go far out of the comfort zone. To put life in context.
What do I want to do for the next act? What would be most helpful for my community and our planet for Stephen and me? I am not sure, but the list of possibilities is long and life is short.
I will let you know how it turns out.