the animal's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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C40
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:50 pm

Would you leave Alaska entirely? Or do the winers working in CA and AK the rest?

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:42 pm

No, it would not be a permanent move. I think at most something like a 6 month stint, more likely 4-5 months. I really like the winters up here, especially the second half from late February to late April. At the moment I can't imagine doing this for more than 1 season.

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Ego
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:07 pm

Is timber cruising a skill you were looking to cultivate? This is a step up from what you were doing before, right? Would you keep your place in AK? The pay seems good but how much will you have to shell out for lodging. I'd imagine that living in a car in northern CA could get mighty cold. Do other employees with the same job typically have an RV?

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:46 pm

The forestry work I have been doing for the past couple summers contained timber cruising as one component of what we did. With this being the sole focus, it'd likely be much easier because of that. There may be a few minor differences but I think the biggest thing would just be learning the different tree species, which wouldn't be too challenging. It would be a step up in pay. The work I did for the govt did not sit well with the crew I was part of for both seasons as we were able to work quickly and efficiently, finishing before other crews and getting paid less for it. Since this is paid per each unit completed, the incentives are now in my favor. I do enjoy this work and would prefer to do it within AK but the equivalent company up here doesn't have work for more people until the spring.

The housing is something I've been trying to think through. If I were to go, it seems like it would be stupid to keep renting the place I'm at. I think I could either get a storage unit or stash stuff at a friends.

I'm not entirely sure what people do for housing. In the summer, I believe most camp but in winter I think motels and the like become more attractive options. I could pick up a trailer here for cheap now since the seasons over and likely sell it for a small profit in the spring. Otherwise camping would be fine. I think we might have a significantly different frame of reference for what constitutes as mighty cold. ;)

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Ego
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:00 pm

Hah! Truer words were never spoken.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:40 pm

I turned down the job. I have a hard time being on my own for extended periods as it is and that situation wouldn't do anything to help that. Maybe some other time.

I've been going through another lonely/down stretch lately. I've gone from experiencing loneliness due to almost never being around humans (when I lived in the Arctic) to experiencing loneliness due to being surrounded by humans but lacking meaningful connections. Once again, much of it is due to the area I'm living in. I came to the realization last week that not only are there very few single women here but there are very few single men. I tried to think of the number of single men I know counting all friends and acquaintances and came up with 2... Everywhere else I've lived, I've had no issue establishing a group of close male friends. Here I've found that to be very hard to do. I think a lot of it has to do with the couple centric culture and the home based social scene. Unlike most other urban areas, Fairbanks nightlife and social experiences outside the home (in some other building) is essentially non existent. BBQs, potlucks, game nights and outdoor activities/trips are the most common options here.

As I've mentioned previously, I currently work from home. This means that unless I make an effort, I won't be seeing people during the day or if I do my interactions are transactional/basic (library interactions, grocery checkout etc). I can do fine with a few days of this but for extended periods I do NOT do well and get VERY down. Since living here, I've tried to establish a lot of friendships and set up things to do during the week with others. Big ones are running, swimming, skiing and dinners. On really good weeks I'll have 4+ days of these types of interactions. On average it's probably more like 2. This is still too few for me. It's hard to increase as my friends are either too maxed out from their daily commitments or have something going on with their boyfriend/girlfriend. So far I've tried to mitigate this by getting into other activities and trying to make more friends. I've been taking a salsa class once a week and recently started doing brazilian jiu jitsu every day. They help, but I haven't found them to be the solution. Part of me is very frustrated that I have to try all this stuff out and learn (which I do truly want to anyways) just to meet my social needs while friends (at least those that are in a relationship) seemingly carry on without this issue. But the alternative sucks and is not something I want to embrace.

So ideas I'm left with is volunteering and/or taking a part time job. I've only started looking into this recently, so nothing really here yet.

Of course an easy answer would be to move. I really love Alaska though and can't see myself anywhere else at the moment. There is such a large difference between cultures here and the rest of the United States.

So for now, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:13 pm

Would a coworking space help? There would be a cost, but you might meet people in the same boat.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:26 pm

Maybe an extended travel trip where you practice day approaches, and then bring the lovely lass to live with you in Alaska? :D

You can only do so much with a poor dating location, no matter your resolve. The meal is as good as the chef and the ingredients, but the chef can only do so much with poor ingredients. What about moving a bit south to Canada, western Montana, or CO?

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:37 pm

@Ego- I didn't think there were any around but it does appear that there is one on the other side of town. They have flexible pricing options so it might be worthwhile for at least part of each month. Otherwise I guess I could consider coffee shops, I have seen people working there. I tried the library for a while last winter, but I didn't find it to be the greatest spot for interacting with others. Anyways, thanks for the suggestion.

@THF- Canada is almost impossible to live in long term if you aren't a resident and I have no interest in living permanently outside the US. I like Montana, but it is still too civilized for my tastes.

It comes down to what I've talked about on this board for the past few years in searching for a tribe. I had a tribe in high school, college and right after. For the past 3.5 years I haven't found a tribe and have no practical idea of establishing one outside of joining the military. The summer forestry work I've done comes close in that I'm with the same group of people for an extended period with a shared, specific mission but its temporary.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by bigato » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:46 pm

I've been there in my twenties, feeling lonely pretty much like you described. Funny thing is that after some point in my life, for some reason, I changed in a way that I now both need very few interactions but also can easily find new friends everywhere I tried. Off course I've never been to Alaska or Fairbanks, but my point is not to say that it can be done there, I actually don't know that. My point is that the solution to loneliness was apparently not the obvious meeting people or making friends. Not that I think that you shouldn't do that or that you should not improve your skills in that area. By all means invest in that, but keep your mind open to the possibility that maybe you (also THF) could be looking for the solution in the wrong (albeit obvious place). I could be wrong about what made me so much more self-reliant and less prone to feeling loneliness, but my impression is that the change come about inside and not outside.

Speaking of outside though, I have to point out that the dicotomy between staying in Alaska or moving back to the places you knew before is a false one, right. I can definitely trust you that the culture between Alaska and the rest of US is different. I feel a lot of that here in Brazil too, when I compare big cities to the countryside. Maybe it's a somewhat similar contrast. But US is quite huge, isn't it? Are you sure that you have explored enough to be certain that there aren't better places? Also the world is huge you know. You can also count on a network of people around the world here, many of them whom would be helpful if you decide to explore some more. Also, sometimes the mere exploring act brings about new insights as you expose yourself to new cultures and places. Anyway, good luck there man.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:55 pm

@theanimal
Just playing a bit of devils advocate here, but how old are you now? Late 20’s?

I’m 43 and been single (ie no serious gf) for probably 15 of the last 20 years. Of that time I lived with a roommate maybe another 1.5 yrs. so for the majority I was alone. I noticed a huge shift from about 27-8 onward. “Tribes” for males really started to evaporate as we reached the age of traditional marriage/family. Sure, maybe a weekly card game or softball league, but mostly people went their own ways. People just become overwhelmed with career and family. This was true for urban, small college city, and rural. Admittedly it was all in the Midwest USA. In some circumstance, with a ton of effort, I had community feeling, but not that sense of a tribe I had earlier in life.

I guess I’m just trying to say that the grass always seems greener. Obviously if it’s a relationship with a female significant other, Fairbanks is about the worst geographic choice. However, I’m not sure a geographic change is gonna help you with “tribe”. Maybe that’s just a natural for men in 30-40s? Maybe that’s a contribution to the overall life satisfaction dip men see in those age ranges as well? IDK? I do know the best friendship relationships I’ve had over the past decade have been as either a mentor or mentee(is that a word?). Those have tended to be deep and last the test of time/geographic distance. But they were mostly individuals not a group of friends or the like.

If you figure this out, let me know!

Ps I totally “grok” what you mean about needing a certain amount of human interaction without depression, so it’s not like I’m an introvert and have purposely avoided people the past 10-15 years.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:07 pm

I do want to point out also that having a 10,000 lumen lamp helped A TON with depression. Best $200 ever spent. You still need people in your life though. Not necessarily a community, but gfs and affection sound nice. Not having one for 15 years sounds...awful, frankly. But some people have the magic gift of not feeling lonely/needing meaningful social interaction. Lucky sons a b's

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:30 pm

@tophatfox
What I consider a serious relationship is living with a SO. This definition is also colored with age. At this point anything less than that was just dating or hanging out, or whatever the term is these days. I had a ton of those. The reason I want to clarify is because finding a run-of-the-mill romantic relationship was waaay easier from late 20,s to present than finding a great group of male friends (or non romantic female friends) to call a “tribe”. Which is why I think geographic change will help dating, but probably not tribe.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:36 pm

@Bigato- I agree with what you're saying. I don't think I can achieve long lasting contentment from other people and have continued to work on developing myself so that I'm satisfied without depending on others. But I have also found that to be true only to a certain extent, at least for me. For example, there was a stretch recently where over the course of ~12 days I had ~3 hrs interaction with people. This includes being around people, talking to others etc etc. The other 280 some hours I was completely by myself. I know there are a lot of introverts on this board but at least for me this behavior is nowhere near desirable or mentally healthy. That's why I struggle to see increasing my social interaction as a reliance on others for happiness. I think it is more of fulfilling my fundamental human need for social interaction rather than a dependence on others. Hence why solitary confinement is in the upper echelons of punishment for most humans. Maybe you can show me where I'm wrong.

Yes, I realize I am blocking myself by limiting myself at the moment to this one geographic area. It's something I'll have to continue to explore going forward. I appreciate the advice.

@CL- I'm 26 soon to be 27. Yes, to a great extent I agree with your viewpoint. I have heard from some friends back in Chicago who have the same difficulty, but then again there are others who have a group of guys they regularly hang out with. Nothing's certain. I'm at the age where most of my friends are married or are in the process of getting married and am experiencing similar things to what you've described. For whatever reason, it sure seems that most men are content to stop being as social outside their household once married or in a serious relationship. I would have a hard time believing that this didn't cause a dip in life satisfaction but as you said who knows? I was talking to a friend about this issue recently and was told that I had it all figured out, that I structured my life in order to maximize for quality of life rather than quantity of possessions/status etc. But I found it doesn't matter if I figure it out if (seemingly) everybody else is pursuing normal life of busyness leaving me on a social island. It's like I have a commune styled life without the commune haha.

Have your mentor/mentee relationships been career related? If not, what was the source?

@THF- I haven't had a girlfriend in almost 10 yrs. AMA

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:09 pm

+1 for what CL said about tribes evaporating. At some point people just don't seem to want to hang out anymore unless it is something for the kids. I think this is more for men than women.

I don't mean to be discouraging but it sounds like there is a trade off happening. Your job has things going for it but doesn't bring any contact with people. Your location has things going for is but is isolated. You may have to give up some things to get others.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by bigato » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:50 pm

I don't think you are wrong at all and I agree that some level of human interaction is a basic human need and the lack of it will decrease your quality of life. That is a form of dependency on other people indeed, and there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that as the most social begins on the planet we do indeed need other people for social and so much more. Even if we didn't, what would be the point of depriving oneself from something that is proven to improve happiness, quality of life and even lifespan? So we are on the same page there.

My point is that the feeling of loneliness, despite being colored by your social interactions, may in fact have other more relevant causes/contributing factors that are more fundamental to who you are and to your history, factors those that may not be so obvious at first. I may be completely wrong and just projecting, because i relate to you a lot. But it may also happen that we have a bit in common, I don't know. When i read you, I remember the Chris Mcandless, whose movie was one of three that had the most impact on me. At that point when it was released, I was still struggling with this feeling. The search of connection, the desire of belonging. There is this part of the movie when he decides to go back to civilization but then there is this take where he looks from a distance to a bar full of people drinking and being loud. At that moment he remembers he doesn't belong to that. I had that feeling so many times, looking to a bunch of people having fun, and feeling lonely in a crowd. Returning to civilization is meaningless. Because what he wants is real connection, not superficial bullshit. It's not a coincidence that some of his last words that were registered in the bus 142 were "happiness is only real if shared".

What I would say to my younger self, the one from 10 or 15 years ago? Please go see a psychologist. Find a good one, even if you have to try several. It could help you understand some stuff so much faster and save you so much time. I don't know if this advice that I'd give to my younger self has any validity to you, and maybe I'm just using your history for my personal catharsis. If that is the case, sorry for that.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:56 am

Social interaction is an odd need. I find that for myself being in the presence of another person even if we're not directly interacting is often enough to quench the need. Having a live-in GF is helpful that way. I also find that dissatisfying social interaction will still satisfy the need. Though I suppose that could be as much from relief for freedom as fulfillment of need.

I have had the same experience with the evaporation of tribes and I don't know what the solution is. I try to keep some amount of connection together with people I'd like to have connection with and am generally met with, at best, unwillingness to make time. The only foolproof solution is to continue working on oneself in an attempt to loosen the coupling between the availability of people who both find me interesting and who I find interesting and my general life experience. @bigato's comment above was somewhat reassuring to that end.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:34 am

theanimal wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:36 pm

@CL- I'm 26 soon to be 27. Yes, to a great extent I agree with your viewpoint. I have heard from some friends back in Chicago who have the same difficulty, but then again there are others who have a group of guys they regularly hang out with. Nothing's certain. I'm at the age where most of my friends are married or are in the process of getting married and am experiencing similar things to what you've described. For whatever reason, it sure seems that most men are content to stop being as social outside their household once married or in a serious relationship. I would have a hard time believing that this didn't cause a dip in life satisfaction but as you said who knows? I was talking to a friend about this issue recently and was told that I had it all figured out, that I structured my life in order to maximize for quality of life rather than quantity of possessions/status etc. But I found it doesn't matter if I figure it out if (seemingly) everybody else is pursuing normal life of busyness leaving me on a social island. It's like I have a commune styled life without the commune haha.

@THF- I haven't had a girlfriend in almost 10 yrs. AMA
Yeah, 25-30 does seem to be the time when people start shacking up. I'm starting to see the theme come up more & more. I think I read somewhere that if they don't but wanted to, the people available after 30 are "damaged goods" in some way, so that's an interesting generalization lol. At the very least, you'll have to decide on whether you want to raise someone else's kid, which sounds pretty bad considering I (we?) don't even want our own kids. Still, it also seems like the age to shack up is increasing, maybe to 30-35, 'cause Millennials in part tend to focus on their education/careers, so I dunno.

@the animal, 10 yrs, dang dude, I struggled with 1 year during braces-land. How'd you cope with lack of physical intimacy? Or even emotional intimacy; it seems a lot harder to open up to dudes than it does to women? Maybe having access to breath-taking hikes helps? I've noticed that relationships almost seem required to be happy long-term as a cube-dweller in some shitty atomized metropolitan area.

On the idea of tribes, it seems like more and more of our interactions are now online? For instance, more and more people talking about whatever on Reddit, FB, Instagram, and so on, rather than going down to the pub or to a restaurant to talk? I guess it's a lot easier: you just have to type stuff, rather than get the car going, driving, finding parking, paying for the meal/alcohol, etc.

Maybe virtual reality will help make the feeling of tribes return, but the lack of ability to give someone a hug or even a handshake is still an important part of social interaction.

classical_Liberal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:16 pm

@theanimal
A couple of professional, but mostly in personal sphere. People love to share personal skills and knowledge, if you are willing to learn. Willingness/openness to learn is rare these days, so generally people are excited to have someone that really listens to what they know. Great way for relationships to form.

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Re: the animal's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:49 pm

Animal, your journal is always so interesting. After reading the more recent posts, I had SO many thoughts. Alas, 99% of them are useless due to our difference in age, gender, life choices and geography. I'm left with a few paltry contributions:

1. Gender never seemed important to me pre-Facebook, and I had few female friends. Well...to be accurate, I had only 2 friends outside of DH. One was female and one was a gay male. Now it's apparent that women online tend to support and validate each other to an astonishing degree (whereas my gay male friend is SUCH a jerk :lol: ). *I love him, of course.

2. I tend to agree with the suggestion that other places have something to offer. There is a huge world outside of Alaska (as incredibly beautiful as your home obviously is). Maybe you should check it out and come back? Imagine your ideal woman. Would she assume that there was nothing better than Alaska (you), or would she have sampled other places (people) and decided that this place (you) was what she wanted? I'm trying to project here. ;)

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