Creating a new environment

A common theme over the last few posts (or blog entries) is that the time interval in between seems to grow.  I guess that is partially attributable to the lack of change (or appearance thereof) to report on.  Although, once I do get around to typing an entry on my mental awareness journey, I seem to have a tremendous amount to say.  This is one such occasion.  I will try to keep it brief and follow up with another post sooner rather than later.  In this post, I would like to discuss changing one's overall environment.  At least one major environment and finding a routine afterward.

Over the last few months, a tremendous amount of change has occurred.  The two year mark arrived for the annual Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance conference.  Each year the conference site changes from the East Coast to the West Coast.  When the conference is held on the West Coast, the site is the famous Asilomar Conference grounds in Pacific Grove, CA.  The site is beautifully set on the Northern California Coast right south of Monterey (California).  There are sprawling trees which blanket the wood structure designed by the famous architect Julia Morgan.  Spending an entire week there listening to talks about spin physics is a much appreciated and delightful experience.  That is, if you like listening to talks about spin physics (which I do).  To each his own -- right?  Here is an image of the beautiful conference grounds shown below:

Anyway's, this year's conference was rather hectic due to a dramatic environmental shift which occurred just before the conference.  I was trying to decide how to travel to the conference this year.  My mind was occupied with this trivial task.  Two years ago, I took active modes of transportation -- which I wrote about too.  Below is a picture of riding along the coast of Monterey on my way to the hotel room below:

My mind was planning and little did I know that a dramatic change in environment was just about to take place by moving houses.  In the previous few months (beginning of the year), change was rather slow.  Our environment was adding unnecessary stress and anxiety into our lives -- invisibly to both of us.

Over the last few years, we have been living in a small single story (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom) -- around 330 square foot house.  Yes, I did say 330 square feet.  You can imagine that the total size is smaller than some studio apartments.  The place was cheap in rent and cozy (Kayla's description which I have lived with over the  5 years in residence) to say the least.  Living in that small space afforded us to make a major change to our lifestyle.  As I mentioned in an earlier post - around 4 years ago, we decided to stop drinking alcohol.  That was a change since the activities which we chose to do surrounded having a few drinks.  Additionally, as I have mentioned in the past, we (Kayla and I) are rather extreme people -- which in this case meant that all activities were centered around drinking.  Not healthy.

Over the years, this process was fraught with tension which grew until the process was unsustainable at which time, an experiment was "in order" to stop drinking.  Four years into the experiment, I can proudly say that the tension in our marriage along with financial problems have nearly gone away.  Life is much simpler.  Why do I carry on about this?  Because living in that small house afforded us the opportunity to evaluate what was important during the process of getting sober.  Paying off debts lifted a large amount of anxiety along with getting rid of unwanted furniture and clothes.  The process was therapeutic to say the least.  Once we had been living in this new state of mind for a while, we started to be unsatisfied with the amount of space we were living in.  A change was on the horizon unbeknownst to us.

You can always plan as much as you would like, but nothing will prepare you for the moment of opportunity.  At the very least, having an attitude like "adapt and overcome" when moving forward will help you when opportunity presents itself.  Let me explain further.  Right before I went to the conference at the end of March, Kayla discovered a possible house (condominium) which suited the new list of requirements that we had drawn up in the previous two years.  When you live in 330 square feet of house any upgrade seems large in comparison.  We had originally started to think about moving this summer.  Why?  Here we had been living in Glendale and riding the Metrolink train to work each day with our bicycles included.  Again, the house was too small.  The thought of moving closer to work was appealing to remove the commute.  Although, we miss the wonderful train riders with whom we were able to start a nonprofit -- Bikecar101 -- with.

Back to our story of moving.  Kayla found a place -- 2 bedroom / 3 bath  with a garage and small backyard.  Perfect!!  The only issue was that the owner wanted to rent the unit soon as in the next few days.  We arranged a meeting.  Mind you this was two weeks before I left for a conference up North.  Upon looking at the place, we knew that we could immediately see ourselves living there in the near future.  We decided to act on the unit while competing with 6 other couples interested in the unit.  We got the place -- hooray!!!

Now, the only issue was to pack up the belongings in a small house and a storage unit.  No problem right?  Well, after two separate moving trucks one being vandalized with grafiti in the process, we were able to move nearly across the street from the campus on which we both work.  What a great change of environment?  Right?  Words cannot describe how wonderful life is here.  Let me shed light on the last couple of months.

Having a sufficient amount of space is critical to a good marriage.  I am being honest.  With more space, we can each do what we would like and not interfere with each other.  Anxiety reducer number one.  Next, cutting the car out completely and the train is a big relief.  Although, people ask us about our nonprofit.  We are still large advocates of using the bicycles on board trains.  Additionally, we would like to advocate for more trains out to the university during the week and possibly adding a couple of weekend trains.  The barrier is high, but not so high that it is impossible.  We have our work cut out for us.

The last point (number 3) is a change of environment brings a change of routine.  I was unaware of this change.  I discussed the change of environment with friends and colleagues yet still I am finding a routine that fits.  Over the last few years, I have been blogging frequently.  Additionally, over the last few months, I started a new series on "anti-aging skin series" which has been both fun and time intensive.  Writing on two separate blog sites -- Mike Think's and Kaiserwellnesscenter is great.  Challenging at times.  Therefore, forgive me if I set deadlines which are not met.  They are personal challenges.  Yet, sometimes, the time to sit down and think critically about how to deconstruct a cosmetic product or draw equations is just not connecting.  Although, trying daily is important.  Some days the writing is there and others the writing is not flowing.  I imagine that this is the case with any project.  Therefore, persistence is important when changing up an environment.  For now, that is where I will end.  I hope that you have enjoyed some of the post or received something.  Every time I sit down to dump or discuss my mental journey, I feel relieved after.  Truthfully, maybe I am just on a "sugar high" after eating a piece of See's Candy chocolate.

Anyways, until next time....Cheers!