This reminds me of a bit George Carlin did, where he talked about Mike Douglas having a guest host on his show. Either you’re a guest or the host…
Anyhow, I guess Sean is holding you all hostage while helping his friends at the same time. He has this uncanny knack for knowing what’s best for me without my really knowing it. There are two people who have this skill, and I married the other one.
My wife and I started down many new paths this summer. It’s been four months since we got married, three months since we moved to Alabama, and 2 1/2 months since she started her job and I started looking for a new one. One of my favorite sayings is ‘get out of the box,’ meaning to break out of old habits/ruts and find new, creative ways of learning or doing things. I always say I like it in my little box. It’s cozy, all my stuff is in here, and there’s always a rerun of Bull Durham on the TV.
But these life changes pretty much forced me out of the box. For 7 1/2 years, I had a stable job with decent pay, doing a lot of what I wanted to do at a radio station in Kansas. Now I’m starting over in Tuscaloosa, which is nice in a way, since it lets me reinvent the wheel and go in a completely different path if I want to. I’ve done the exercises in Bolles’ “What Color is your Parachute” job-hunting book, and I’ve learned a lot about who I am and the things I like to do. I’m using this information to plan my next job. The challenge here is how to best use the information. Job ideas pretty much run the gamut, and many of them I’d never dreamed of or considered. Like teaching. The people I consider my inner circle all think I’d be a great teacher. I’d never imagined myself doing that. Going back to school? I’m a broadcaster, I don’t need any more schooling… But since I’m outside the box, nothing is off limits.
I’ve even accepted a part-time job running the control board at the sports talk station here in town. Basically doing the same thing I did in Lubbock in 1995 when I first started– Texas Rangers baseball, Houston Rockets basketball, Dallas Cowboys football, etc. Entry-level stuff. But it’s a foot in the door, it’s a start. I did good work in Kansas, and two people I worked for have kindly lent their names as references. But nobody in Alabama knows them, so we have to get back in on the ground floor. You never know where these things will take you.
Wife Ann and I are pretty much settled, and we’re getting used to life in the South. Still much swirling around us. Many questions for her and for me. Maybe when we get these things figured out, we can relax. But then there’ll be other stuff to figure out… and then, well… who knows?
There will always be something to learn/do/figure out. There is no destination. Only a journey. We continue to grow, to learn, to get a little better every day. And we do the best we can.
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I thought growing up in West Texas, I knew what windy was. Houstonians gripe about 15 miles per hour being windy. Sean and I have played golf in 45 mile per hour winds from the north trying to finish 18 holes before the rain shows up. Wind does not bother me. I have been in the middle of dust storms that look like the scene from the Mummy where the plane gets knocked out of the sky. I have seen sand turn 3pm into midnight. I thought I knew windy. Brother, let me tell you something. Geraldo Riveria standing out in a storm reporting makes it look easy. Hurricanes blow, literally. The eye of Ike was about 60 miles across at landfall, but it diminished somewhat, but 75 miles inland, we had lower level hurricane winds, (75+ miles per hour) for a couple of hours, and then high level tropical storm winds for several hours more. All in all we had high winds for about 9 to 10 hours. The worst of the storm blew over by noon on the 13th, but heavy rain and wind was still flowing out of the system. Once the data was out, Ike’s eye passed about 20 miles to the east of our area. I saw stuff flying around the neighborhood, that I had no idea was aerodynamically sound. I even saw the Wicked Witch of the East on her broom, whom Sean has met. Read more…
First off, understand, Houston is not New Orleans. We are not a city built in a bowl, 30 feet below sea level. We are a whopping 43 feet above sea level. Houston sits 45 miles from the coast, but has a huge ship channel cut to reach Galveston Bay. I live 30 miles further north of Houston in a heavily wooded area known as “The Woodlands.” Texans are not much for over dramatic names. We are pretty simple. If there were mountains around here and we built a community there, it would be named “The Rocks” or “The Summits.” There is a golf course in San Antonio built in an old rock quarry. Guess what it is named. I digress.
When I look out the window, I see a world of possibilities.
I see an almost empty parking lot that dreams of being full on a Texas Tech football game day. The smells of grilling meat, stale beer and anticipation hanging in the air. The sounds of rowdy Tech fans laughing and debating which player is going to be the star of the game. The sights of various tailgate parties with big screen TVs hooked up to a random satellite dish in the back of someone’s truck. Young children dressed in their favorite player’s jersey (custom made to fit a 4 year old aspiring quarterback) or the newest size 6 fashion in Tech cheerleader uniforms. College students dressed in what they feel is the most impressive piece of Tech gear they own. (and ladies, not all of us look attractive in the flour sack dress with the cowboy or UGG boots!) The parents and grandparents running herd on all of the kids, and drunk college students. Every person brought together for a common goal, to see Tech GO, FIGHT, WIN!!! And after the game, when all of the vehicles have left until the next game, the parking lot looks a bit bare. Like all of the life has been removed, but just so it could rest. But it still has the dream, as the leftover trash blows in the West Texas wind, that the next football game could be the one.
I see a field that has just been harvested. The crops have been cut and stored or shipped off. The field will now be plowed under to allow it to rest for the winter. Like everything else in life, it too needs a rest. Until the last frost, when it will begin to grow once more.
I see the West Texas sky, though dark at this very moment, held a beautiful sunset a few hours ago. The sun set in a sky which held hues of red, gold and orange, like fall leaves. It reminded me that no matter what happens in the day, ‘this too shall pass’, like the sunset. The night sky, which I love in Lubbock, far surpasses almost anywhere else I have ever lived. My parents have the advantage of living outside of town, and even though I can see the Milky Way from their house, it’s just not the same as the stars in West Texas. We can drive out 10 miles in almost any direction and face away from town and see all the stars we want.
These are just a few of the reasons that I really do LOVE Lubbock. It hasn’t always been my favorite place on Earth, and that has to do with the things that I didn’t mention, such as the allergies, but over the last 3 year, it has been really good to me. I have made friends here that will last me a lifetime. I know that no matter where we are in the world, as long as there’s a phone, I have my friends right there with me.
Lubbock wasn’t my “number one” choice for ‘life after graduation’, it was my number two. It was that, long before I realized that my reason for moving back to Austin had nothing to do with the fact that I wanted to go back to Austin, just that I had no reason to stay in Lubbock. There were no ties for me to stay in a great place, where I have been happy.
All but one of my friends had left the area, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to go to the ‘trouble’ of making new ones. Then I realized that I wouldn’t be happy here for the 9 months that I was going to be here ‘by myself’ if I didn’t at least make the effort to find a friend or two. My one friend from what we refer to as the ‘past’ tried to get me involved in Junior League and Young Professionals of Lubbock, and my excuse was ‘I’m leaving in December”. That’s been the excuse for as long as I can remember.
Enter Sean. Through him I have made at least 3 new friends in the last 3 weeks. And guess what, I already consider them good friends. They accepted me for who and what I am, and for that I am grateful. It will make staying in Lubbock even better.
I got even better news last week! Another friend of mine is moving back to Lubbock, and one more might come back too!
So, all in all, even though staying in Lubbock had become my back-up plan…I think it was probably always my original plan. I had already looked into a job, which I got good news about yesterday.(yes, they are still hiring, and I should go ahead and apply, since I will be a Tech graduate, they will probably hold a job open for me to start after I graduate. And if I get my commission reactivated before I get hired, there are positions open at the airport immediately…can we say off at 2200?!) I had looked into buying a house, but now, I can be an answer to a friend’s prayer and help her with rent. (instead of paying $1000 a month in rent alone!) As far as my family is concerned, back when I had talked of the possibility of staying in LBK, my dad did a little research on returning to Lubbock when they retire. (My parents went to Tech, back in the day.) So, to all the nay-sayers, I will tell you a secret…I plan on staying in LUBBOCK!!! =)
Since everyone seems to be so curious about me, I figured I’d give you a shot at the basic info… Feel free to pretend that your curiosity won’t get the better of you, even though both you and I know it will.
What can I tell you that most of you haven’t already been told? I’m originally from the Austin area, ok, to be more exact, Fredericksburg, Texas. I am an only child, so yes, I have been spoiled in various ways all of my life, however I am no spoiled brat, and don’t tolerate those who are.
I will graduate from Texas Tech University with a degree in Public Relations on December 13th. I have a degree in Law Enforcement Technology already, and wanted to continue my education while my parents were willing to allow me to work part-time and go to school.
As for the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’, I have wanted to be a Public Information Officer for a law enforcement agency for about 10 years. Hopefully after I graduated, this will come to pass… eventually.
When I came to Lubbock 3 years ago, I was a completely different person than I am today. I was drifitng in my life, and not sure where to put in to port. I have discovered myself here, in Lubbock. My friends have listened to me complain about living out here for 3 years, since I was away from them and my family… they are extremely surprised that I would consider staying here, much less escaping and then returning, but Lubbock has been good to me, even though I am allergic to it nine out of 12 months in the year.
My family and friends are a great support system to me, even if they are more than four hours away in different directions. Without them, I would still be lost in the drift. They make me laugh when all I want to do is cry, and make me realize that ‘this too shall pass’.
Most people ask me if I am afraid of what my future might hold, and to them I say no, absolutely not. I am not afraid of much (ok, Sean’s parents being the exception-they terrify me!), I am afraid of disappointing those I love. My family, friends and Sean. They all know I have my faults, and believe me they are numerous, but I am most afraid of doing something that will disappoint one of them.
And since he has already thrown me under the bus, I’ll go ahead and let this slip also… I fell in love with this great guy, he sees me for what and who I am…whether I want him to or not. He has this weird way of getting inside my head. I can honestly say that I fell in love with him for who and what he is. He makes me a better person than I ever thought possible! Sean, in case I haven’t told you in the last 5 miutes, I love you!
This work by Sean A. Donahue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.