Wow, that question is getting pretty old. When I started our traveling life last year I was committed to a year on the road just taking it as it came. But, they always asked, “then what?” I don’t know. I’m hoping the answer will come to me. “Where are we going next?” Usually the answer to that was…. “I don’t know, yet.” We seldom knew where we were going in anything less than generalities more than a day or two in advance.
Whenever these questions came up and I gave this vague noncommittal answer I would either see wonder on the questioner’s face or more often a mixture of suspicion and disbelief. Are you fucking with me or are you crazy? Most often the subtext is “how can you live like that?” I smile and try to look adventurous and whimsical. “What, me worry?”
When will you know? Where do you want to “end up?” What is the goal? What is the point of all this? Only the people who know me well and care about me ever really push it this far. To them I can only say that I am truly living in the moment. More precisely I am living in the immediate. Yes, I know that I will need to make money to sustain myself. Yes, I will most likely get old and not able to live like a gypsy. To them I can only say that “I am becoming”.
This lifestyle I’ve chosen makes people profoundly uncomfortable. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. Whenever I try to imagine a different one, I just can’t see anything. It’s a mist or a blank slate. In every real sense it is a blank canvas and I am in the act of creation. Whether that creation ends up being a masterpiece or a kindergarten finger-paint is unknown. Most likely whatever I create it will be viewed by others through their own lens and judged accordingly.
Creation is an uncertain business. It isn’t linear. It doesn’t usually have a goal or a point. It happens in the moment and unfolds in its own time. It is, in a word, messy.
So, my nice white blouse is now a painter’s smock. It’s never going to be clean again.
Does anyone else find that ideas come like lightning out of a cloudy dreary sky? For me, time spent waiting for inspiration goes by like one dreary day after another. This goes on for long periods of time until I honestly believe that I will never have an inspiration again and I may as well give up.
Then flash! It’s often a word or phrase that hits me with the power of a bolt of lightning and suddenly my brain opens and ideas pour in. It can even be overwhelming to the point where I have trouble keeping the ideas sorted out. It’s like the sun comes out and suddenly I can see for miles where just the day before I could barely see beyond my nose.
It is like this all the time. Over the past couple of years it has happened several times and I have finally decided to just go with it and follow my vision. In the past I have tried to fit those inspirations into my ordinary and then watched my ordinary swallow them up.
Now I have the heart to just open up the computer and start learning what I need to know about how to make this idea a reality. Minimalism? Done. Travel? Doing. Business…well this is just the next step and I’m excited that after waiting more than a year I finally had my lightning strike and a vision to follow.
It’s been months since I shaved my legs and pits. Before that it was months. In fact over the last year I’ve probably only shaved a half dozen times.
I have fine blonde (now some grey) hair and it really isn’t terribly noticeable and I’ve been living in fairly cool places so this isn’t exactly reactionary. But today I decided that I really don’t know whether I want to shave anymore at all. As strange as it seems I never really considered that this was a choice I could make. For all the typical societal reasons I never thought that something “unattractive” was acceptable. In fact shaving your legs is just an extreme form of the nice white blouse.
Can I pull it off? I’m going to a hotel with a pool and hot tub in a week or so. Typically that would be my cue to shave. Can I be comfortable wearing a bathing suit with pubes sticking out at the crotch and a fine furry armpit? Well that is the question. And if I’m not comfortable is it necessary to try to make this a point on which I declare my freedom?
Shaved. Had the time to soak in a hot bath and couldn’t overcome 45 years of social conditioning. Guess I won’t be dying on this hill🤦🏼♀️
Yep, that’s what the voice in my head says to me all the time – or words to that effect that are usually less PC than that. Every time I think about expressing myself freely I get tangled up in what people will think of me.
That’s what we all worry about. What will my mother think? What will my old friends or my new friends think? The mindset extends way beyond my words. What about my hair and my clothes? What about my job choices and life choices? On and on it goes until I never feel free to express myself at all. It feels like choking.
The power of the censor in my mind is so overwhelming that for over 50 years I have allowed it to keep me living in ways that don’t make me happy. Oh sure, I can take life chances and I do. But the amount of courage it takes to do those things only comes from a level of misery that leaves me no choice. Once your toes are on the ledge, you can either jump or change. Changing is much harder.
So after all this time I am wearing my hair the way I want and making my own choices based on what will make me happy. I’m terrified. Under the circumstances I think that emotion is appropriate.
Maybe I’m dreaming but I’m starting to think I can live my life by my own rules. The sense of power is growing within me. My vision is getting clearer. Without a picture in my mind of where I want to end up, I’ve been floundering. Every idea has died on the vine before it ripened at all. But now I think I’m close.
One picture is very clear. I can not get another “career” job. The idea just shuts my brain down. I’ll never forget when I started my last job, CEO of a nonprofit. A colleague said something to the effect of “well this is a career capstone job that you can retire from.” I felt ill and immediately said “oh hell no.” And not one thing has changed. My heart is clear on this one thing.
I am a powerful believer in my ability to change. I’ve been unsure of my ability to do anything else, but I know I can and will transform my life. I still don’t know exactly how that change will look and until I get that picture clear in my mind I will stay in holding. But once I know what I want, no power in the ‘verse can stop me. (Again, Firefly fans, you know from whence I speak)
Every eager young businesswoman of my generation knew that the only way to get a job or be taken seriously was to buy a plain blue or grey suit and a nice white blouse.
My mother always told me “you can’t go wrong with a nice white blouse.”
I really look lousy in blouses and especially in white. The idea of wearing a suit gives me a rash. Thank God the world has changed. Thank God I no longer have any desire to be an eager young businesswoman. I really tried to wear the blouse. I tried to fit the mold. I tried to be successful. Truth is, I just never gave a damn. All that ever got me was 20 years of psychotherapy and more years than that wishing life would just fucking end already.
Ever read a self help book? Ever tried to embrace some wise person’s teachings? I can tell you from first hand experience that each person has their own prescription for life and that prescription really only works for him or her. Sure there are common wisdom and general themes but your life can only be lived in your skin. That nice white blouse will never fit you any better no matter how much money you spend on it or who your tailor is.