“Look back to where you have been, for a clue to where you are going” -Unknown
“I sure hope not.” -Me
I said to my wife the other night, “In the last decade of my life, I can clearly mark the big, life-changing events, selling or buying a house, changing a career or a relationship… It feels like the least satisfying changes and the mistakes I made were always while running away, instead of toward something.”
I was not exactly encouraged to pursue my passions as a young adult. I was taught to be responsible, which is great — but I was not pushed to step out of my comfort zone or to not worry what others thought of me. I was brought up with this mindset: Try hard to be like everybody else, keep your head down, and always do as you are told — Then you will be safe, and eventually happy. Maybe you’ll have to wait until retirement or death, but hey, at least people will not have looked at you funny! — I had to fight to let my freak flag fly! Kristina was raised in just about the opposite fashion. We complement each other well.
I welcome this new chapter in our lives, the future is a luminous mystery. I take great joy in knowing that this new adventure, this life-changing Quest is about going towards something with careful intention. This looms larger than anything we could be running from. Now that I am moving toward what fuels me, I want to encourage everyone to.
We have greatly minimized our lives. At least 80% of the collective “stuff” we possessed when we met no longer possess us. Simplifying our lives has left us happier and debt-free (save for our mortgage). As the pile of things and bills and stresses grows smaller, our house becomes much bigger, and emptier.
With less physical and mental clutter, the focus on our purpose has intensified. We want to move toward it. Faster.
This week we hung some curtains and took the dogs on a few road trips with ALFie for the first time. Just like us, they started out a little nervous, but once we hit the open road they were totally blissed-out.
Our goals seem to get clearer and more exciting each time we take a major step toward what we love. So we have decided to take the biggest step in minimization that we possibly can: We are putting our house on the market.
Deep breath… Say it again:
We are selling our 3-story home. (and most of our belongings in it… so there’s the big announcement!)… Not because we don’t like our home, Not because we found a new house, but because this place just isn’t part of our main objective anymore… and we need and want all of our resources to be streamlined directly into our present and future, the things that truly matter to us.
We are freeing ourselves from the extra space and the mortgage, because we know at this point that our future is not on this particular plot of land. Why wait? There is no rush, of course. We love this house and have spent a couple of years remodeling it, but now we need more land than home, and have decided to let go of our one and only debt and embrace the Quest completely… Be proactive. Own our intentions.
There was a time not too long ago that I could not imagine us selling the RAV4 to become a one-car household. But, the less we have, the less we seem to need. And crazily, I see now how we have previously made that work in reverse as well… Scary.
Consumerism begetting more consumerism.
I can temper the fear of taking such a big step and find peace in the knowledge that Kristina and I have both made major life changes before, far more spontaneously and unprepared than we are now — and succeeded.
Kristina once jetted off to Europe without a reservation to her name and had an amazing journey all on her own. In her early 20’s she uprooted everything, moved to New York City without a job, savings, or a place to live… She survived and thrived (What we are doing now is far less risky or scary!). Kristina can swing a hammer, wire a light fixture, and fix her own small plumbing issues — she learned a lot by investing in a couple of real estate properties before the age of 23. She started a successful business from scratch, that she loves, and she inspires me regularly to pursue my most insane dreams — things I never thought I could/should/would do — My Wife encourages me to live the life I want! Heck, she bought me a bus! She is one of the most self-sufficient women I know — she has taken many leaps of faith and faced many challenges in her life with MacGyver-like resourcefulness. She lives the mantra “I have no regrets, save for those things I did not do.” — She has it tattooed in French. I wake up crazy-in-love with her every day.
Once upon a time, before my wife and I met, when I was but a wet-eared pup, after years narrowly avoiding the fuzz while following The Grateful Dead all over the US and Canada, I loaded up the truck and headed west.
I had no job, no place to live, and only a vague hope that I would be able to get into the state college I was headed for (Those uncertainties seem far more terrifying than today’s unknowns). I wanted for everything and worried for nothing. I had the invincible optimism of youth and weed.
I have since missed that fearlessness. I may have been a punk kid, but guided by the direction of my dreams, I was so productive in the achievement of limitlessness.
If I can combine the faith of that time with the knowledge and experience I have now, anything is possible and everything I envision will come true.
Responsibility to the pursuit of what I thought I was “supposed” to do have led to less productivity and more unhealthy worry. With practice, it’s getting easier to stop fearing failure, to live in the moment, and to focus on what I am moving toward instead of what I need to get away from.
Tom Petty once said something in an interview to the effect of; “The things I worry about usually never actually come true.”
The road does not end with success or failure.
It continues on, and is up to us to follow and shape. The first step is always a leap of faith…