In 2008 I wrote the following entry into a notebook:
They say that pregnant women will crave food that contains nutrients and vitamins that their body and their baby need to stay healthy, something like that happened to me once, only I wasn't pregnant and it wasn't food that I was craving. I was reading along in a Kerouac novel and the main character was describing what it was like to pick cotton in a field, he said, "it was beautiful kneeling and hiding in that earth," and that he would lay with his "face on the pillow of brown moist earth." As I read this, I felt a tinge of anxiety, just a small uneasiness deep within my gut that whispered, "I want that." I thought for a moment... When was the last time I had laid on the grass without a blanket? It must have been in my teenage years. Suddenly, the gnawing whisper became a scream; I too wanted the earth, the dirt, the fields, the breeze... but mostly I craved the freedom that it entails. The feelings and the way of life that one leads when they are one with the earth.
In the years between my youthful innocent future of possibilities and my married young adult cage of no direction I had lost something; apparently I had lost the ability to lie in the grass and relax but it was more that that. I had become a person that flinched at the flutter of pigeons on the sidewalks in London, I avoided pathways in Hyde Park if there were too many squirrels, and I preferred not to vacation in sunny spots because that would lead to perspiration. You see, nature aside, in the time between my teenage years and my mid to late twenties I had gained close to 100 pounds. I found comfort in all the wrong places, like behind my cardboard wrapped Starbuck's coffee cup which I carried like a shield, in my right hand, elbow bent at a 45 degree angle: carrying it as if it were some sort of pass into the upper echelon of society, when in reality every person in suburbia had a pass. I found comfort in shopping for DVD's and going to dark movie theaters (as long as I avoided the theaters with the older seats that hadn't been re-modeled to fit America's "bigger" lifestyle). Movies which had once been a fun outing to do on a night when nothing was going on, had now become my favorite thing to do because I could still go out and yet remain invisible. My shelves of DVD's at home expanded to the point where even I was disgusted with myself. What a bunch of waste! Mass consumerism at its worst! I once saw two different pictures in college: one was of a family in America with all their belongings... the heaps and piles of gadgets filled the picture. The next picture showed a family in Africa and all their belongings and all they owned were the necessities. The book compared the two families ecological footprints, it made me evaluate the waste in my own house and my own impact on the environment. In my mind, it always came back to that never ending wall of DVD's.
As I sat there evaluating every facet of my life, I felt the urgency of NOW! I had moments like this before but not nearly as strong or life threatening. I felt like if I wasted one more minute being this person I was going to die. Sure all of these traits and habits are not bad individually, but the culmination of everything that made me who I was in that moment was someone that I could no longer bare to be.
Don't get me wrong, not everything in life was a wreck, but everything in it certainly had the potential to be. I was married to the most pure good hearted man that I had ever met, and for some reason he loved me. I often wondered though if he was growing faster than I was? How could he not be? If I didn't change, would he leave me? How had I become this? Was this really me? Is this who I was destined to be? If I really wanted to, could I change? Would he and the other people in my life let me change?
All of this questioning, searching, and re-evaluating came to me as crazy as it sounds after a few lines from a Kerouac novel.
Not that it is a big surprise to anyone; but that man did leave me. Much has gone on between that time and now, and this is not an entry to re-hash all of that but really this is more of a self check and an alert to myself: DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO GROW!!! Seize the moment to shape who you have been craving to be for years! In so many ways I feel like the same lost girl as in the description above- I'm still afraid of birds, I still own too much stuff (although every year since 2008 I have downsized my life in remarkable amounts), but mostly I am still 100 pounds overweight.
What is different then you might be wondering??? Well, first and foremost I would never in my life put myself in a "cage of no direction" again!!! And, while I may be afraid of birds, I can honestly say I've laid in the grass, I've hiked in the mountains, I've put my feet in mossy streams, and I've smelled the flowers!
And for the first time since 2008 I have an opportunity before me to finally put words into action! With the help of friends, I have found an apartment that is Kerouacian in every regard! A little slice of bohemian heaven! While not everything about this place is perfect, it has all the right elements to feel like a San Francisco Beatnik apartment in the 1950's or a loft in Paris that the Lost Generation would have occupied during the 1920's. In other words, I'm in love with it (or at least the idea of it). Herein lies the problem... up until now I have been all talk and yes, while there has been transitioning there has not been any transformation of any considerable amount. This apartment is going to force me to down size, there is no way around it... and while there are moments that make me sad when I think of how much my life has changed, I have to remember... IT'S JUST STUFF!!!! How long are you going to allow yourself to be weighed down by stuff (materialistically, physically, spiritually)?
-Sell some big pieces of furniture
-Don't take TV?? (Finally make true on that goal of giving up shows you've already seen before)
-Depending on the temperature variance from season to season: Perhaps don't put up any curtains?? Let the light in!!! Enjoy the big trees right outside your tiny little windows!
-No buying books until I've read all that I own. (No TV would really help with this goal)
-Walk! Walk, walk, walk... RUN! (perhaps save money by walking to the bus, and taking that into Boulder)
-Eat more organically
(TO BE CONTINUED)