The tournament was a lot of fun! I saw some good matches, as I predicted, and I ran into many friends and acquaintances, some of whom invited me to come train with them. In the coming weeks, I'd like to take them up on it. Tournaments remind me of how many great people there are in the grappling world, and how many of them live in SoCal. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from them while I can.
Yes, I guess that's a bit of foreshadowing. I don't know for sure that I'll be leaving SoCal any time soon, but I am pondering it as an option. (Okay, this is a bit more than the fluff I promised to write about in my last post, but the comment option is still disabled completely for Anonymous and as much as possible for everyone else, so here I go.) I'm feeling very restless, and like maybe I have spent the summer closing a chapter of my life. I don't yet really know exactly what the chapter has contained, because I still plan to train and compete, CrossFit and write, which is basically what I do now. But I have experienced/caused a few doors to close in recent months, starting with cleaning out my storage locker in Chicago. That sort of signified that I'm done there. Even though I knew I was, it was a period at the end of a sentence. A teary, gut-wrenching period.
And I have made other profound decisions since then, including the very difficult one to switch CrossFit gyms. As a lot of you know, I have been training at CrossFit LA, nee Petranek Fitness, since I started doing CrossFit in April 2007. Well, the drive clear across town has finally gotten to me. I have been driving 35 miles/45 minutes each way, 3 times a week, to get to Petranek. I have decided to start going to Team CrossFit Academy (http://www.teamcrossfitacademy.com
), in Monrovia, in November, when my time is up at CFLA; Monrovia is about 15 miles and 20 minutes away, which will be a big difference. TCFA is run by Eric LeClair, who was one of the instructors at my level one certification. To say that Eric's knowledge of CrossFit principles and ability to teach them are exemplary is to understate the case. I'm going to get instruction that is just as good as the instruction I've gotten for all this time at CFLA. I'm glad to say that everyone at CFLA supports my decision and that I'll always be part of the family there, and I'm grateful to everything they have helped me do and become.
As with many things in my life, one decision tends to start a domino effect. And right now, I'm exploring two paths, neither of which may actually end up being the one I take. But also as with many things in my life, I am just focusing on what's most compelling, because that tends to be the most direct way toward what I really want. At least, that's what I have to tell myself so I don't freak out or freeze in my tracks.
Okay, there's one path, really, but two directions it could take. The path: I need a change of scenery; I'm not happy living in Whittier anymore. So one thing I'm considering is moving to Monrovia. Especially if I get accepted into the internship program Eric runs at his academy, I will be spending a lot of time there. And I could just commute to New Breed; I'd have to commute to one or the other, so maybe choosing to live closer to my CrossFit gym rather than my grappling gym would be the shot in the arm I need.
To that end, I went to Monrovia today just to drive around. Old Town actually looks very much like Whittier, only a little bigger and maybe a little more modern (they have a Baskin Robbins AND a Pinkberry. Nice.). I found one studio for rent and put in a call about it, though I haven't heard anything back. I would like to find another place like the one I live in now: partially furnished and very small. Not so interested in maintaining a large home, at least for the time being.
I got a fairly good feeling about Monrovia; or at least, I didn't get a negative feeling. There was a restaurant called "Mundial," which means "world" in Portugese, and is the shorthand term for the world BJJ tournament I competed in back in June (the one my parents came to watch me compete in). The streets are named things like "Lemon" and "Lime." It is close to the 10, the 605 AND the 210. And like I said, ice cream. And cute coffee shops and bakeries.
So, I'd like to find a month-to-month, partially furnished studio for around the same amount I'm paying right now. In Monrovia.
On the other hand, the other direction the path could take is toward Portland, OR. (Yes, I realize this would make it difficult for me to train at New Breed or Team CF Academy on a regular basis.) Here's why I'm considering Portland: In the past week, two friends who are from there and/or live there now have suggested I visit. On the suggestion of a third friend, I went to http://www.chooseyourspot.com
, which is a website that pinpoints a geographic location you're likely to be happy living in based on your responses to questions about geographic, political, meteorological, and social preferences.
After I punched in my preferences, I got a list of cities/towns that would suit me. Of the top ten in my list, 4 hits were in Oregon: Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, and Medford.
Doesn't seem like a coincidence. And add to that that there is a New Breed in Portland, and it seems like I'm being beaten about the head to check it out. So I'm going to. I already emailed Eben, who runs the Portland New Breed, to make sure he'll be around when I plan to visit, which should be some time in October.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my Facebook status update, I feel like a coiled spring, or a drawn-back bow, or a monkey in a tree waiting to jump onto any unwitting bananas or other fruits that might happen by. I'm getting ready to act. I just don't know exactly what I need to do. So I'm going to make plans to visit Portland, continue to scope out Monrovia, prepare for a couple of no-gi tournaments that are coming up, and start cleaning house--making sure I'm light enough to travel if/when the time comes, wherever I end up going.
If I stop to think about it too much, I worry that I'm just planning to run away, like I did when I left Chicago over 3 years ago. But then I remember that my intuition hasn't really steered me wrong, so I just have to pursue this line of action and trust that it will lead me to where I need to go, whether that means actually going elsewhere or making dfferent choices in my current location to shake things up. One time when I was still living in Chicago, I got a really strong feeling that I should visit Boulder, CO. So I did. And obviously I didn't end up living there. I still don't really know why I was supposed to go there, but it must have led to my next step in some way. So the moral of the story is that not everything I feel compelled to do leads to the next obvious step (i.e., visiting Portland may not result in me moving there, but will take me forward). And equally importantly, seeing where this leads can't hurt me in any way.
Anyway, in the meantime, I'm going about my business. I leave on Thursday for Richmond, VA, to visit some friends (Chrissy, Brian, Andrew, Cynthia, Mikebyrd, Klint, Burdo, Liz, and Trey--oh, and Deke, Miles, and Lego) and do a seminar at Fifty-50 BJJ in Arlington, VA (http://www.5050bjj.com
). Fifty-50 is run by my pals Ryan, Seph, and Jen, and I'm really honored that they asked me to come.
Then next weekend I head up to Santa Cruz with Traver and Eric for a CrossFit barbell certification with Mark Rippetoe. And I'm continuing to teach and train and eat and sleep and pursue happiness.
Oh, the happiness. Whenever I find myself having to WORK at being happy, like I have been (with relatively little success) the past couple months, I remember something a very wise person once said: "Being happy is difficult. That's why so many people stop trying."
Here's to NEVER deciding to stop trying. Even when it would be easier.