It has now been just over a week since I started taking the steps towards making my dream a reality. I have sold most of my belongings, quit my job, and am slowly making the transition to living out of what can fit into my backpack. As I sit here, doing the singular load of laundry that has to sustain me during my venture, I realize exactly how useless belongings are; how the only real attributable value they carry is the one we place on them.
It’s been an interesting epiphany to explore. The hardest things for me to let go of aren’t the ones that cost me the most money, or are the nicest; it was the memories tied to those small, almost token, items that somehow found their way into my possession. A handwritten card from a friend I hadn’t seen in several years, a museum ticket from a first date. These trinkets, with no monetary value whatsoever, have been the hardest to remove from my life. The reminders of good times, carrying zero weight, have sat the heaviest on this last week.
It’s strange how many parts of ourselves, and our lives we neglect trying to stay ahead. Work, bills, romance, and social obligations always seemed to take the front seat while self reflection became, “whenever I have time.” I feel that part of the reason bartending, and being a night owl in general, became so appealing to me is for the 4am drive home after work. That moment when the streets are dead and everyone around you is asleep lends a calmer tone to the air. My mind felt less cluttered, I was able to articulate thoughts more clearly and precisely, and I generally felt a deeper sense of calm; as opposed to the day when the constant, almost overwhelming amount of noise, thoughts, and emotions was deafening. This week that has all changed. Waking up at a more normal hour feeling refreshed and eager is unfamiliar to me. There is a sense of calm and focus that I have never experienced before.
The most tangible change that has been felt over the last seven days, however, is an overabundance of humility. As a child, I was always taught to be strong, to never show fear or grief. Fearing that I would be viewed as less than, I learned that a false sense of pride could mask any insecurities. As a result, it became second nature. An uncanny knack to always portray confidence outwardly, while my interior was more akin to a sobbing child. Through the course of this past week, the hard exterior has been slowly crumbling away as friend and acquaintance alike have shown me so much support and kindness that I was brought to tears more times than I care to admit (I still have a reputation to maintain after all.) From something as simple as a kind message of hope, to the gift of a watch that will help me on my journey I have experienced years of callous wear melting away.
It brings to mind a saying I often heard from a friend:
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
At first I passed it off as something of his typical cryptic, verbose nature, but the meaning of that simple phrase has really started making an impact on me. We think of moderation typically in terms of consumption, i.e. don’t drink too much or there are consequences. It can just as easily apply to behaviors and actions as much as physical vices. I carried too many tokens and too much pride. My balance had been shifted so far in one direction that it started affecting my physical being.
While I feel that there is still a great number of lessons to be learned over the course of my trip, I am glad that this was my first. It has set me on a path towards re-establishing my inner peace. I feel that, by maintaining a balance of self (a philosophy that is wholly important to me) I will be able to approach this journey with a more open mind, a more accepting heart, and a willingness to let life happen around me that I have missed for some time. I’ve never been more excited for what the future holds, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Until next time.