(the little messages that appear along the path ... Austin, TX 2013)
- APRIL 26, 2020 -
You can probably tell that I’ve never followed a traditional path. I worked one summer filing documents in an office vault, and I knew. Under those fluorescent lights, I acquired a stalker, and had to navigate the office politics of personality and power. What a farce, and an abysmal existence, to think of having to live day in and day out in that 9 to 5 hell just to serve the pursuit of the almighty dollar. That was the last time I ever worked in a corporate office. Or did anything conventionally, for that matter, much to my dad’s chagrin.
I’ve been an expat for almost a decade now. Still intuiting my way, only following what inspires me most, with just enough practicality to sustain a simple existence. Perhaps my dad would call my lifestyle irresponsible, and perhaps he’s right in certain ways. I don’t have traditional wealth. I don’t own a house, or stocks, or an immense bank account. I don’t have kids, and I got divorced 2 years ago. So, he worries about me. And I understand his position. But deep down, I have never believed in the myth of security. So I don’t want to spend my life in pursuit of that illusion. At any moment, everything can come crashing down. We are all vulnerable. Case and point with this pandemic.
And being responsible comes down to a question of what you value most anyway. It has always been hard for me to accept gambling away my happiness now, for a possible happiness later. No matter what ‘they’ say, tomorrow is never promised, no matter how hard you work, how much money you earn, or how good a person you are. My mother was an incredible woman, someone who truly understood how to love, and she often sacrificed her happiness in the present moment for a future she never got to enjoy. Cancer took her when she was only 53 years old. The arbitrary hand of death just came down and robbed her of the life she deserved. Too soon, and heartbreaking, it really reshaped our family, and made it impossible for me to deny what was most important to me. And although I had always been an existentialist at heart, this very personal injustice solidified my resolve to escape the box. I did not want to wait to live my life. From the deathbed, people often regret what they didn’t do, not what they did do.
So what drives me to get up, and do anything that I do? Well, the answer is simple: FREEDOM. Freedom to make my own days, to move in my own flow, to create what I want. All the major decisions of my life have been a question of how much freedom will I have in that? Money has never been the priority, so of course, I don’t have any. But I have had a lot of freedom. And my relentless pursuit of freedom has made me rich with experience, which for me, is the whole point of living.
I have lots of vivid memories from childhood, but cannot really pinpoint the first. They blur together into a general feeling of warmth. It was my mother. It was my cat purring. It was Fleetwood Mac blaring as I circled the card table, staring up at my parent’s friends, smoking and drinking and laughing for hours. It was the sun, my yard, the green grass and blue sky. It was singing birds and flight. It was snails, spiders, and butterflies. It was the exhilaration of venturing beyond the fence. It was the strange discovery of the neighbor lady’s collection of dolls. It was staring out the window on long car rides.
I still love staring out of windows. I still wonder what else there is to discover.
Everything coming to you is a gift.