Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Simply Solo.

Still got nothin’. Less than nothing, actually. No space or time for pontification or creativity this week...three days left ‘til the move. Just a quick and embarrassingly feeble little entry today.

I realize through some comments that have been made recently - some worthy and some truly asinine - by strangers, friends and yes, even family members, that there are a few things I should perhaps elaborate on in the near future: why I am taking this trip, HOW I am taking this trip, what it means to me, etc. I live at times with a smouldering frustration that makes me want to scream, “DOESN’T ANYBODY GET IT???” But truly – why should they? This is nobody’s journey but my own. Everyone has their own bag to deal with; marriages, divorces, unpaid bills, triumphs, failures, vacations, mortgages, births, parties, and illnesses. Not to say that nobody cares about my journey – I know that some do. But my choices and ultimate path are frankly of little consequence to the vast majority (all?) of the people I am connected to (and definitely of zero consequence to all those I’m not connected to). There is only me. It is a stark, humbling and all-important realization along a surprisingly solitary and lonely road. I have to constantly remind myself that I chose this, and, time and time again, that it’s not supposed to be easy. Now I have to add to that the understanding and acceptance that nobody can (or even should) help me.

I figure if swashbuckling dudes could get into wooden ships in the 1600’s and sail off to parts unknown in hopes of discovering new worlds – no GPS system, complete isolation, storms with gigantic waves, scurvy, no people or distractions around for thousands of miles save for the occasional pirate attack, and no guarantee of ever unearthing anything of true consequence – then surely I can do this.

A completely disjointed but important comment: I apologize if I have given away, sold (at a ridiculously low price) or tossed out something that you at one time gave me (I surely -100% - have done one of the three). Please realize that it does not mean I don’t love, respect or appreciate you or your kind gesture and thoughtfulness; it is simply part of freeing myself of the “stuffocation” (thanks for the new term, A) that I have been living with. It is not a statement on your bad taste or that you don’t comprehend my tastes (ahem...ok, admittedly in some cases, it is). But please don’t be insulted or hurt. It isn’t personal.

“The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple.” Doris Janzen Longacre

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Got Nothin'.


With the impending move date / travel date looming ever closer, I’m in a bit of a tailspin. Creativity is blocked. (Ironically, I’ve had a rush of writing contracts for others in the last week or so, which seem to be clipping along just fine...). The days and weeks are a frantic and unorganized mix of packing, researching (destinations, visa requirements, hostels, lending out my car), appointments (travel clinic, bank, garage), and, here is where I should say “reservations” (movers, storage space), but neither of those are booked yet. I also can’t say “purchases” (backpack, trail shoes, travel clothes, travel gadgets), as I haven’t begun any of that either. I hesitate to get too deep into the purchasing part until I actually have money in my hands from the sale of the house (notaries July 31). Until then, everything goes on credit, and that makes me nervous.

I have done a grand total of 4 things for my trip: 1) booked a one-way ticket to Croatia (on credit); 2) bought travel insurance (on credit); 3) purchased a week of unemployment-pays’-worth of travel guides (on credit); and 4) purchased a day pack (using a gift certificate I had still hanging around from my last birthday) and a cute wrinkle-free travel skirt (it was too functional and perfect to pass up....on credit.) Did I mention that credit makes me nervous?

As far as my move is concerned, I have packed about 10 boxes, given away 5 times that much, and completed my third and final garage sale attempt. The house is pretty lean and mean now, which should make packing faster and easier (but strangely hasn’t done either. I am trying not to blame the house.) To top it all off, I am heading out to Calgary on Friday for a week to see my family (feeling smug about using up the Aeroplan points before they expire in October). Getting away from these four walls and into Big Sky country will probably do me some good. I am trying not to panic (more) about losing a weeks' worth of packing / planning time. I will take all 900 of the travel guides with me that I've purchased and hope to get some reading done while in the presence of the magestic Rockies. And of course It will be great to see everyone before I head out.

So, in the complete absence of creativity, in an attempt to keep you, loyal reader, entertained, I will defer to some others who have so kindly (and unknowingly) stepped in at my time of need to provide some insightful and philosophical fodder for my blog. Until the next time.....

“Millions of [people] have become so used to not being happy that they barely even notice it. For them, it’s like living next to a railroad track – after a while, you don’t even hear the trains.” Dan Baker, Ph.D. from “What Happy People Know”

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Elizabeth Gilbert, from “Eat, Pray, Love”

“How can you get very far,
If you don’t know Who You Are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don’t know What You’ve Got?
And if you don’t know Which to Do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you’ll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who."
The Tao of Pooh

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letting Go of Holding On.

One month left in my home. I am enjoying it differently now that I know I will be gone from it soon. I realize now that I took it and its blessings for granted (an uncanny parallel to how I previously approached life in general). I now sit in the backyard almost every day, listening to the nothingness punctuated by birdsong. I open all of the windows and doors and let the cross breeze scatter papers through the rooms. I study how the light changes as the sun glides kitty-corner across my property. Perhaps this is simply a function of now having more time in my home to actually witness and observe these simple delights. Or maybe it signifies a more significant, overall awakening that is taking place in my being. Whatever it is, I will miss my home. It’s a really good one.

“It’s just a house; four walls, bricks and mortar,” my friends chime supportively. “You’ll find another one someday.” And I know they’re right. But letting go is harder than I thought. Letting go of my career was oddly easy in comparison.

It doesn’t help matters that the whole “home” issue is steeped in the alarming reality that I still don’t know where I’ll be living in 30 days (options: either renting an apartment (that will sit largely unoccupied, save for my things) or tossing everything into storage and couch surfing for a few weeks until I leave on my trip). Preventing me from continuing to skim along on the healthy dose of denial I have been enjoying recently is the fact that mail is already coming to the house addressed to the new owners.

The new owners!

Nothing is an accident. I’ve always believed this; now more so than ever in reviewing the events that have led up to this turning point in my life. (Can it really be brushed off as a mere coincidence when this week I found a book staring at me from the window of a used bookstore (which I never, ever go to) entitled “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times“?) (I bought it.)

As Max Ehrmann so eloquently penned, “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” Last Sunday evening the universe unfolded M and L directly into my path. M and L are the delightful people who in 30 days’ time will be taking over my role in the enjoyment of the nothingness and birdsong of this backyard. I had the immense pleasure of spending some unexpected time with them. Unexpected, but certainly not accidental.

M and L have been married for 30 years. In that 30 years, they have raised four children and moved 16 times. At the age of 35, L abandoned his fast-paced corporate marketing career and went back to school to pursue his true calling in a vastly different field (sound vaguely familiar?). Like I’ll be doing shortly, M and L once held a garage sale – except not like me, they did it to sell off their own personal and in some cases beloved belongings, in order to have enough money to rent a U-Haul to drive to Oklahoma (at night, in a snowstorm) to start a new life (with two toddlers and a newborn in tow). M and L understand letting go.

And they make what I’m doing look like a trip to the corner store.

They are a gentle, funny, sage, insightful, light-hearted and relaxed couple. They dispense the wisdom of their years and experiences with a grace that leaves me with a sense of calm and centeredness. In the brief interaction we shared, without even trying, they somehow managed to make me believe that everything will be ok. Not just the house situation, but everything. Knowing them makes letting go a little easier.

I like that they will be living in this house. I like knowing that they will call it home.

For the 17th time.

“There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.” Unknown