It’s a beautiful day out, but I haven’t had a solid shit in weeks. My nerves are causing my whole body to tremor and shake. On the positive side, I’m just one more life-altering decision away from my goal weight!
My last day at my job is April 1st (no, not fooling!). The exact day I started three years ago – the longest I’ve ever held down one job. This static life is also probably what has driven me to this crazy point.
April 1st, 2016 will be the closing of one chapter of my story. Like any good story, there is good and evil. I’ve moved to Chicago, landed an incredible job I was way under qualified for, gone to Burning Man twice, and taken a month off to be a gypsy and travel out west on a hippie bus just to bum around California for a few weeks. I’ve also been so lonely that I’ve felt I’m never going to find that person, or worse yet, that I had and just wasn’t good enough for them. I’ve let my life waste away in front of the TV. I lost a good friend in an accident. I’ve gained the “Chicago 30”. I came very close to a cocaine addiction about a year ago. I’m walking away from all of this. I am strong.
The next few weeks are going to entail me selling everything I own in preparation to move out of the apartment that I have invested countless hours into making my home. With all my possessions in a backpack, I’ll say goodbye to my friends, family and comfort zone…to spend 5 months traveling alone in Asia. It’s my first time abroad (with a language barrier to boot), and my first time being on the opposite side of the world from everything I know. I am brave.
Many years ago in a land far, far away I was so broke that I was on what I’ve termed as the “spaghetti and weed” diet. These were the only two things I could afford and the only things I spent my money on that wasn’t bills. I didn’t have money to get fast food, much less go to burning man and travel. Money, and the lack of it, consumed my life. My goal became “acquire money so that I can acquire things” – because that is success, right? All of that changed with my move to Chicago and my new job. I got money and I got all the things – and travel too!
70,000 people every year go to Burning Man. Every single one of them will tell you “it was a life changing experience” – I am no different. This makes me feel a little cliché saying it, but really, it was a life changing experience. On the playa (where the event is held), there is no money. No possessions that don’t have a purpose. No technology to distract us. Only people, playa, and the freedom to be and do whatever you want.
Needless to say it was an experience unlike anything I’d had before. I was hungry for more which led me to many open doors. Over the last two years I’ve been processing the experience and allowing a slow change to take place. I stand before you now in a different skin than I had three years ago, and this new Zoom has different priorities.
You can imagine my parent’s reaction to this. Surely driven out of fear and concern, but raging nonetheless.
“You’re quitting your JOB?! They are so good to you, you better just stay there!” “What about money?!” “What about health insurance?!” “What about your retirement and savings account?” “What about your apartment and all your things?!” “Don’t expect to come crashing back here!”
I don’t know how to make them understand. I don’t care so much about money anymore. It’s a tool, but that’s all…just a tool. Possessions are nice, but they don’t love me back. A great job is good to have, but it is not bringing me any joy and I cannot transmute gratitude into engagement day after endless day. I don’t want any of these things anymore. I want adventure, change, connections with people, and happiness. I am broken.
Or am I? Or are you broken, Society?
It’s now one month until I leave. Between the nerves and the inevitable traveler’s diarrhea, I don’t expect having to put a lot of effort into pooping for at least the next 6 months. I truly believe though that it will be worth it to find out: ‘Is there anything out there in the big, bad world other than a 9-5, money and things?’
Come with me. Let’s find out.
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