Act 3: In which I embrace the nomad within me

It was early in 2016 when I met with Michele. She was unaware I had gone through a divorce last year. “I really need a few wins this year,” I proclaimed.

She just smiled at me. “Let’s hope for the best,” she replied

my buddy Omar and I enjoying a late night adult beverage

But, my rollercoaster life keeps bringing new turns. The most recent is a change in my employment. As the result of a reorganizational process where I work, I made the decision to pass on a new job offered to me in the new structure. Now I find myself out of a job and wondering what the next chapter will look like.

The single life most people have in their twenties was not something I experienced. College life isn’t really single life. It’s fake single life. It’s kind of like preparation for single life but without the risk of making any truly life-altering mistakes. When I graduated, I was engaged and six months later was in a marriage that would last just shy of twenty-eight years.

During that time, my kids were born, I worked in both the corporate world and in churches, and I never really knew what it was like to maneuver through life as a single person. It seems that part of my life is only now unfolding.

Mel and Edwin

With the loss of my marriage and, most recently, the loss of my job, I am now responsible only for myself. It’s time for me to discover how I will make my mark in the world. I was telling my friend Daniela yesterday that it seems as though I’m living my life backwards or, at least, out of order. It’s like this chapter of my life should have come after college graduation and before marriage. But it somehow got rearranged.

Not even a week has passed since learning my life would take this turn and I’ve already been given options to consider. Do I return to acting? Start my own business? Manage a band? Work in corporate consulting?

In Memphis with the Tyson’s

In the midst of employment options presenting themselves this week, in recent days I’ve also had the most enriching and inspiring conversations with the widest diversity of souls. Some were old friends, others are emerging relationships, but they were all life-enriching. This led me to a couple of realizations.

The organization from which I will soon depart is calling the next phase of their existence their “third act.” I suppose I could define my life in those terms as well.

The “first act” lasted until college ended and “act two” was post-college to the current day.

Now I’m in intermission and getting ready to raise the curtain on my third act. Whatever else my personal “act three” looks like, there are a couple of things in which I’m confident.

my newest friends for this journey Carmen & Ishy

First, it will be filled with a new cast of characters. The cast will be a tapestry of vibrant, eclectic, creative, life-giving, and challenging personalities. These will be new kinds of relationships not necessarily based on shared beliefs, but on a shared curiosity of life and the exploration of what life offers us as human beings.

singer, photographer, artist       Daniela Riojas

Second, my life will be sustained by a varied collection of activities. I suspect there will be several streams in which I will swim and that may be true for the rest of my life. I’m more than okay with that. I can envision a reality in which no two days are marked by any set routine of regular work hours. The possibility of being in and out of places, engaging in new communities and conversations is seeming more likely than ever.

As my divorce and now my newly unemployed status have given me a blank canvas on which to paint the rest of my story, I’m rediscovering a nomadic, artisan soul that has long been dormant. It was always there, but by my own choices I put it on a shelf. Now it’s time to take it down, open up that box, and see where it leads me.

with author and speaker                         Donald Miller

At the Storyline conference in Chicago last November, I had the opportunity to speak briefly with author and speaker Don Miller. As he listened to me talk about the changes in my life he encouraged me saying, “Rey, there will be beautiful stories coming out of your life from all of this.” Those words have stayed with me and I’m beginning to see the genesis of those stories.

at KRTU with Jeannette Muniz, Chris Taylor, and Sara Rios

As I enjoyed a plate of Tinga de pollo gorditas and the house margarita at Chef Johnny Hernandez’s The Fruteria with my buddy Jeannette, we were talking about our shared nomadic hearts and what that looks like in terms of relationships. She said the important thing is to find someone who is willing to hold your hand through the journey. That spoke so deeply to my heart and I realized in that moment what life will look like as I traverse the path before me.

Who wants to join me?


7 thoughts on “Act 3: In which I embrace the nomad within me

  1. “Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
    ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sinags

    Sometimes not knowing is an adventure all its own. I wish you the best, Rey!

  2. Rey, I’m right there with you bro, going through the same reorganization. I’ve been thinking about this very thing these last few days while on vacation. What I’ve come to realize is that life is more than a J.O.B. All that matters now is how you live your life and who you spend it with.
    Truth be told, if it were up to me, and it isn’t, I’d move over here (Kauai) asap. This is a slow paced life. So slow that you will never drive faster than 50 mph, and the average speed is between 25-35 mph. You never hear a car horn.
    I rediscovered myself here. I will no longer spend entire weekends working at the expense of time with my family. I will no longer spend time working for God at the expense of spending time with God. Isn’t that what he desires anyway?
    I look forward to seeing what Act 3 has in store for you. I know that it will be something great. I also look forward to seeing what Act 3 has in store for me. Maybe it will be working a food truck making Loco Moco for the people of San Antonio.

    1. Eladio I hope you dream of becoming a beach bum in Kauai comes true someday my friend! Personally I think we are entering our 3rd Act with grace. And great stories have been told and yet to be told. Stay Golden Pony Boy!

  3. This is exactly what happened to me after I found myself single again. The song, the creativity, the passions that were put away in a box were revived. It took some time to regain my confidence and know that those dreams were never extinguished. They were just waiting for me to become “me” again and set them free. My heart, my job and my song are all beautifully orchestrated to make me who I am now. I’m looking forward to my next challenge… Waiting. Waiting on someone with whom I can enjoy the journey.

    Thanks for the great read…

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