I woke this morning with a realization that stayed with me all day. I realized that for the first time in my life I am free from all the expectations life puts on us. It’s a very interesting place to be. It makes me question a lot in my life.
I am not sure if I can describe what I mean by saying that, but I mean that I am free from all the bonds that hold us to a life we lead as “normal.” We grow up, knowing we will one day have a house we call ours, a family (for most of us), a job and will go along day to day, month to month, year to year. Our family will grow, we’ll buy a house and a couch and some kitchen utensils, get a better job or an increased salary, we’ll take a vacation, remodel the kitchen, and we’ll save for retirement. There might be some modifications of that depending on one’s ambitions or personal choices but that’s the crux of it. We base our opinion of ourselves and on those around us on achieving those stepping stones along the way. There’s a lot of good in that, and absolutely nothing at all wrong with any of it. I just never considered what it would be like to be free of all of that, be living life without those markers of ‘success.’ I wake to find myself completely without the need for them.
My choices over the past year have led me to a point in my life where I simply find that I don’t need them.
- In order to get to where I am at today, living in a different country and making my life here, I had to let go of a lot:
I had to let go of most of my “stuff” … and when I say that, I mean I sold or donated 90% of what I owned. What I kept, I either brought with me or put in a very small storage unit.
- I had to let go of my home. I had to put my home up for rent – a home I had not even finished building quite yet. A 5-acre parcel that I had waited for 35 years to purchase, finally a move back to the country.
- I had to let go of the security of my job – a business I had spent over 10 years building up. That’s not to say I closed my business, but I had to walk away from my market, my reputation, my client list and hope that I could find a way to continue it eventually.
- I had to let go of my country, not forever, but for a time. I had to drive across the border and not look back with longing. I had to embrace another country as my home for a time. Not knowing how long I might be gone, I had to willingly release my country.
- I had to let go of people’s opinions of me … and when I say that, I mean I had to close my ears to all the opinions, concerns, demands of other. Along that path I lost many people dear to me over my decision to come here. Even many family members found themselves at odds with my decision and separated themselves from me for a time.
- I had to let go of my future as I knew it. Let go of all my plans, all my thoughts about what my future held, my knowledge of what my next year looked like, the next 5 years, 10, or 50, because I didn’t know how my choices now would change those futures.
In letting all of that go, I knew I was walking toward something and that was a choice I was willing to make. I knew that even if one day I found the choice I was making was not the “right” one in the long run, I would never regret the choice I made the day I drove over that border.
Now, I find that somehow through all of that, I find myself without the need for all that which I walked away from:
- I let go of my stuff, and find that I cannot even remember most of what I let go or what I decided to keep. I don’t miss any of it.
- I let go of my home and find that I am ok if I never go back to it.
- I let go of my job and embarked on reliving an old passion of teaching and find that though I still intend on pursuing my business, I don’t need it to feel fulfilled.
- I let go of my country only to find out that I fit in better outside it’s borders than I ever did inside them
- I let go of people’s opinions of me and find that very freeing! (something I have never been able to do)
- I let go of my future and find that it was never my passion to pursue the “American dream” and am finding that my true dreams are surfacing (things I always knew but never thought possible)
Maybe it’s a temporary thing, maybe not. We’ll have to wait and see.
I feel like a gypsy. Free of the need to call a place “home” and the need to have myself “rooted” anywhere. I feel like I could live day to day, or travel the world, and feel more content with my life than being locked into a future that was already mapped out for me from childhood. I have no need of the traditional path.
Part of me wants to fly to India and join the monks for some deep reflection so that I can hold onto this discovery in myself…. this freedom.