Adventure and advancement in life seem to be seem as dramatic change more than a shift in perspective. While things like partying in Ibiza may lose their luster as you get older and facebook timelines are filled with babies and weddings, aging/maturing certainly comes into play, but I think that’s all as a function of something wider- satiation.
Every new beginning calls for some other beginning’s end, and while we are all far too eager to grow up, or too reluctant as the case may be, every season of life has its adventures. I may not have taken a gap year and backpacked around the world, but for very good reasons, given my circumstnaces and what I wanted to do, I didn’t. In retrospect, it’s been one of several decisions I have thought of as less than wise- if my mind had been freed at a younger age, I could have done better in some way. In fact, I think I pursued a pretty optimal course, which has made travel possible as a regular part of my life rather than a flash in the pan one time shot. I do at times wonder what it would be like to just wander, but I don’t think for me it would be entirely healthy. Of course, I could have travelled in a bit more relaxed of a fashion, but I am still struggling with a cold now after 2 weeks of non stop weekend travel. I also realize with thebenefit of hindsight I could have saved my pennies and gone on a much longer adventure, but no regrets at all. It’s sometimes hard to give myself permission for the big dreams and so I have a tendency to try to subsist on the small potatoes I believe are all that are available/all that I deserve instead.
Speaking of small potatoes, I would say travel is far from one of them, it is one of my greatest pleasures in life, but it is not enough, for me, to lead a full life. I dreamed of owning a flat, found out it might be challenging, and gave that up for the idea of going to all 7 continents by the time I’m 30. While I sincerely hope that I might, I think I will take a fairly relaxed approach to it and think that Antarctic travel, while something I definitely want to do at some point, is not my highest priority bucket list item. Which leads me to note that I don’t really believe in bucket lists anymore, I believe in the bucket life.
Because I am idealistic and maybe because I wsa raised Catholic and try very hard not to be shallow, I have pushed myself to always opt for experiences instead of things and have not been as careful as I could have been with the material properity that the universe has entrusted me. I have learned though. And I do truly believe that sometimes a beautiful dress can make you feel as good as a trip. While travel helps to distinguish wants from needs, I think both experiences and things are good when not abusd.
And experiences can become a form of materialism too. They can become goal directed and list oriented and keep you from being in the moment if you are not careful. While it’s true I don’t regret any of my travels because it has helped me better understand myself and the world and accelerated my life in a way, I also think that travel should be a way of life. Being a person who seeks novel and exciting experiences and the opportunity to improvise, travel is indeed a quick shot of adrenaline and makes me feel alive. I love being on the go. But what I’ve realized is it’s important to be on the go in one’s regular life too, and basically find some mountains that are nearby to hike.
I once had the feeling that I met the people I connected with most on the road, but I’ve realized this isn’t the case. I have a lot of cool people around me on a day to day basis. It’s possible I’ve felt a connection faster with people I’ve met in a hostel, but that’s because when you travel and know you may not see the person again, your guard tends to be lowered. The acquaintances that became friends over time here may well have been faster friends in a hostel, and the people I only met through other people and maybe didn’t love at first glance for whatever reason but now cherish represent an adventure in themselves, seriously.
So I guess that’s my point that everyday life is an adventure. Even though going to the grocery store in France is not as hair raising as it once was, the truth is that I missed grocery shopping in France and never really swung back in American life. The decision I most second guessed in my entire life was the decision to leave France to continue my MBA to both AMerica and other destinations abroad, but I think that attaching to France as the sole source of purpose and adventure is not healthy, desirable, or meaningful either. We are all just hippies searchnig for meaning sometimes, and sometimes we make i tup, and sometimes it is true. If I had stayed in France, that also would have been a decision motivated by fear more than love, and attachment- I would have paid for an extra six months or so in Paris with the opportunity cost o fan American degree and courses in Asia, with no clear assurance things would work out in Paris after my fancy degree. I did the beset thing, but I hated that strategic, calculating, rational part of myself, and that infallmed all my self hate of other things, and I struggled for quite a long time to go back to being happy.
But now, with the perspective of happiness, I have to say that a settled life of being happy and mostly doing things you like is pretty awesome. I question a bit if I have found my passion,but I believe it is a byproduct of the work and love I put into things, and that it is my life, not my job or the thing I’m supposed to do in the world that is my passion. I found calling and purpose right where I am, and I leive the messages I want to send to others. I am the kind of teacher I aspired to be, my life is my poetry, and everything is going oto be all right. Not because I meditated in a cave for 30 years wondering what I should do with my life and finally doing it, but because I followed the excitement as I felt it, and will continue to do it. It’s hard saying that maybesomeday that explorer side of me will prompt me to leave Paris, and the Neverland part of me thinks something might be better. ANd then I go away for a weekend and come back convinced I live in the most beautififul cityin th world, and most complete, and that whatever it costs me to be here, I have a tremendous quality of life that is probably unmatched, or would be unatched for me, anywwhere else.
So all these meditations come as I am again wondering if I should buy a home by which I mean an apartment- in Paris if the math works out and it’s all possible and I found something I like in my price range. A house is a huge investment and carries a lot of risk, but with risk comes reward. I tell myself I want to buy so I can get a type of visa that will enable me to leave Paris and come back, and then I wonder what in God’s name could tempt me to leave Paris of my own free will.Don’t I already have enough? Can anything else really compare? Is htis love?
So yeah will have oto see how things go. I am completely aware of the irrationality and emotionalism that makes me want to own a piece of Paris, and I think on some deeper level it is about wanting to stake a claim here, and also to be tied here, so I can’t just blow away on the tides of fortune. My desire to get citizenship could take another 5 years, and who knows just how long really.
But maybe that’s all just an excuse because I really want to stay. With these gypsy feet I have trouble trusting in the urge to settle, but man for reasons I can’t fully explain I do love it here.
I think the main thing is just to stake my claim, and let it go simultaneously- to realize I have roots and a heart but also am a leaf floating in the wind with a brain. ANd knowing that I will always blow back here if that’s what’s meant to be, and I htink it is.
I have come along way and completely changed. It’s difficult to tell who I am today. My old selves certainly wouldn’t approve.
But maybe that is the point.
To embrace the paradox, to enjoy life amidst its ups and downs, and most of all to let myself be happy.