As many people my age do, I’ve been questioning where I’m going in life and what paths I’m taking. This query has made me wrestle with both happiness and depression, leaving me worn out. Everywhere around me I see people content with mediocre lives, pushing off their dreams until later in life or when their jobs allow it. I can’t help but look at myself and fear the same end.
This terrifies me and wakes me up in the morning wondering what I’ve done with the last three months. I see a dullness in the eyes of the people I work with and I feel the same boredom dwelling within myself. Joe De Sena talks about having a “fire in his belly” to go out into the world: I feel the same ache and drive to experience as much of life as I can.
When my work commitment finishes in 3 years, I leave no anticipation of continuing here. I will not spend my life pointlessly accumulating money to buy things. I have higher dreams than to climb the corporate ladder into the later years of my life.
I find myself questioned by my coworkers about if I’m going to stay here for the next two decades into retirement. When I reply that I’m leaving, I see that there’s a confusion in their eyes. It’s wonderful having a stable job with great benefits, but my heart lays in other places. Places where my 4 weeks a year of vacation cannot coexist with.
After starting “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” I’ve realized that I need to be out in the world again. When I leave, I will start with 6 months thru-hiking the AT. Afterwards I’m going to hike the Camino De Santiago De Compostuela across Northern Spain. Sometime I also want to go WOOFing through Australia and New Zealand. I also want to combine RideShare and CouchSurfing to explore the Western USA and Canada. My friend in Denmark has even convinced me to go to college there, so I want to do that.
Timothy Ferriss’ book “The 4-hour Workweek” talks about this phenomena where people work with the anticipation of doing everything they dream of after they retire. They over-work themselves because they think it will all pay off in the end. However, once many people retire, they look back at their younger years and wish that they did more when they physically could
“Your Money or Your Life” is another great read which talks about our relationship with money. It discusses how money is the currency of our lives. When you hold a $100 bill in your hand, you’re holding hours of your life that you spent working. You’ve exchanged your time for that piece of paper. While this isn’t bad, our relationship to money has become skewed. There’s a limit to how much money we need to live and how much is just plain overworking.
Right now that scale is tipped to one side in my life: towards working too much and experiencing too little. For my previous post, I wrote about how I want to create a book. I think that when I finish my time here, I’ll start the book. It seems that people have a lot of time to think when they’re hiking the AT, perhaps that would be the time to write it.
Of course, I still have another third of this 365 to complete! December is coming up quicker than I thought, and I feel like I’ve learned many things about myself in the last year. We’ll see where these next 4 months take us and play it by ear.
“Once in a while, it really hits people that they don’t have to experience life in the way they have been told to.”