Advice and Idleness

Lately I’ve been thinking about life decisions. I find myself reflecting back to when I first arrived here. On the flight between Atlanta and Charleston, I had a long conversation with another passenger. As our conversation ended, I asked for an opinion. I said, “if you could give advice to a younger person, or younger version of yourself, what would you tell them?”. She said:

“…it’s best to keep many opportunities open when you’re younger. Try to keep many possibilities in your life. She also said that even if you’ve gone a long way in your journey, sometimes you find that you’re on the wrong path. It’s okay to restart or go a different direction. […]

The last words roll around in my head, “it’s okay to restart or go a different direction”. She spoke with regret for cornering herself, and although she didn’t specify what it was, I knew that didn’t want to feel the same way.

Those thoughts have returned and I question if I’m taking the right path. Maura O’Halloran gave up her life in Boston to move to a monastery in Japan. She did this back in the 1980s when her only communication with family or friends was through snail mail or brief long-distance calls. I cannot imagine the amount of courage it took for her to leave everything she knew.

David (AWOL) Miller quit his stable job as an engineer to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. The hike is 2,100 miles long and takes between 4-6 months. While this journey happened in 2003, he didn’t carry a cell phone or have regular connection with his family. It was his first major hike and he didn’t know what would happen. He had faith that it was something he wanted to do and that it would bring him happiness.

Robert M. Pirsig took his motorcycle across the country from Minnesota into California in the 1970s. Hunter S. Thompson hitchhiked through South America in the 1950s. Twyla Tharp moved across the country to escape her family and to eventually start choreography. Bryan Benson and his girlfriend rode their bikes between the Midwest and the West Coast. How can I see these figures sacrificing so much for a dream, while I sit here and idle?

Internally I return to the advice I received on the plane… “it’s okay to restart or go a different direction”… Maybe this path wasn’t the correct one. Perhaps now is the only time to change it. I read letters from last year when I had the same thoughts. So is it time to cut the line and change paths?


P.S. The Danish song “Tomgang” by Shaka Loveless is stuck in my head. Why isn’t this genre popular here?!



Today for a post of “Navel Oranges Music Project” I  chose “Tomgang” by Shaka Loveless. It’s a Danish reggae song about idling and it got me thinking about my own life. There are so many distractions I have in my life that keep from from accomplishing my goals. It’s as though I put these distractions in front of me to sabotage doing what I love. I’ve been spending too much time “idling”.

For example I love the Danish language and I always seem to need to do something else. Like walk over to the store or go cook instead. It prevents me from doing what I love! All I would need to do is sit down and study but instead I fill myself with distractions. It’s simple and obvious at the same time.

Sometimes we place these barriers in front of us for no apparent reason. Sometimes it’s to avoid doing something that we don’t actually over or because we don’t really know what we want to do. Right now I know that I want to be studying Danish, so I’m going to start removing these needless distractions.

Think about your own life. What is it that you want to accomplish? Maybe you have some art that you’ve always wanted to do or a vacation that you’ve always wanted to go on. What is it that is keeping you from doing it? Is it something you have control over? If you do, then change it! Who said you can’t do what you love?

In the comments below, tell me what it is that you really want to do and how you’re going to make it a priority!