Where are you going in Life?

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.

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“Once in a while, it really hits people that they don’t have to experience life in the way they have been told to.”

-Alan Knightley

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Pre-Leave Nostalgia

Packing clothes away and getting ready for the next big move out to Charleston has been difficult. The closer my leave gets to finishing, the more nostalgia sets in. So much of my life has changed and coming home has shown me how I had built my life up to this point.

Online I’ve maintained presence with the photography community, and I still obviously work on my blog. Photography has been so much to me; it’s been a way of expression, a way of building community, a skill to grow.

I’ve been able to see the things that I’ve worked on from a more detached perspective. Walking back into my room and seeing inspiring quotes on post-it-notes brought a smile to my face. It really felt like home. It’s like I could suddenly connect who I was with who I am now.

Over my break I’ve also had the opportunity to get together with many of my friends and family that I’ve been missing. Just seeing their faces has brightened mine. But at the same time I feel anxious about all of them. Where is my life heading? Where are their lives heading?

And after stepping out for nine months I’ve gained an appreciation for things that I hadn’t before. I understand that goodbye now will be a much longer goodbye in some cases. My cat has grown old, my dog, and some of my family. There’s a lot of uncertainty and unknown in front of me but I face it with the certainty that I will experience more. And with no regret of the past, I’ve lived as fully as possible, and I have no tension over the past.

So as I get anxiety over the next week, the next month, the next year, perhaps I will be able to look back at this instant in my life and remember that everything works out. Life will always carry on – and the moment we stop facing it is the moment that we stop living.

Be valiant, and enjoy the life in front of you. You don’t know when your last moments will be. So die now to what is in behind and beyond you – live your life right now.

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P.S. Woah. Day 100 is going to be my first day in Charleston! That’s crazy on time!

Re: “The Problem With Facebook”

After scrolling past this video numerous times on Facebook, I finally decided to watch it. If you haven’t watched it yet, watch it then read the rest of this post.

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Basically this video confirms what’s been growing in my mind for the last six months; Facebook is reforming its way it allows people to communicate in a negative way. My purpose for using Facebook is to connect with other artists. By neglecting to show my posts by the lesser known/lesser “liked” artists, I’m missing out on all of their work.

For someone who really enjoys smaller, lesser-known artists, this is incredibly disappointing. As an artist this is outraging because it limits how many people see my expressions. If an artist I’ve “liked” on Facebook posts their work, and I’ve taken time out of my life to go “like” their page, I sure as hell want to see it. After all, isn’t that what liking is supposed to be for?

As I look into the future for how I’m going to be on social media, I see myself less and less on Facebook. Their pattern for generating Newfeeds is infuriating. Google+ seems to be better, and YouTube is something that I’ve always wanted to do.

Today I created my first video. The sound is incredibly low because I didn’t know I was being so quiet and it’s too late to record and upload another. I suppose you can’t get it all right the first time. Anyways, here’s the video if you’re interested in turning up your volume!


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Change

Days like today make me wonder if I’ve even changed at all in the past year. Tonight I went to the movies and saw The Monuments Men with my brother and his fiance. We went over to their new apartment and hung out for a few hours like we used to last May. Some things change, like the crowd around you, but sometimes the habits and the things that you do are so ingrained within you that you maintain them.

When I come back next time, will I be the same person? Will everyone else be the same? Minnesota won’t change but its people will. The music on the radio seems to be a mix between electronic and folk these days. More people are moving away from the emo/scene and dark looks. Where will everything be in three years? The rest of my life?

Do I want to come back to Minnesota in 3 years or will I just want to travel? Will I be able to afford traveling? These are all questions that run through my head constantly. I think I need to read Eckhard Tolle’s “The Power of Now” again before I get to caught up in everything.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Monday night!

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Reflections of High Schoolers

One of my best friends growing up went out to eat with me this morning. It seems like there is an endless amount of things to talk about. So many people from our high school are already having babies and getting married. I feel ages away from any of that. How can someone get married at 19 or 20 years old? How about having a baby? It’s crazy!

It’s also interesting to see what decisions my classmates made; things like if they went to college or where they work now. Some of them moved to other states and countries. Others stayed here and work at McDonald’s.

Looking at myself, I feel really successful. Coming home has opened my eyes to the experiences I’m having. I just lived in Mississippi for a couple months, Texas for around 7. I’ve spend the last 4 years traveling around Europe and the US.

My life has been so rich in experience – I’ve been incredibly fortunate. Where will I be in 5 years? I have no idea! I know I’ll be moving to Charleston for a couple years but who knows what I’ll end up doing! Where I’ll travel to, the experiences I’ll have! It’s all so exciting!

The conversation I had with my old friend re-inspired me to live my life more fully. I want to go out and make my life full. I want to go out to the crazy festivals and go out to meet new people. I’ll have to remember this when I move to Charleston. There is so much to do!

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Day two was busy! I went through all of my old clothes, visited one of my old favorite teachers to catch up, learned how to cook mussels, just baked some cookies, saw my brother for the first time in 9 months and played racquetball with him for a couple hours. Very crazy but fulfilling day. The cookies turned out perfect and it’s just nice to relax for the first time in what seems like the past year.

Over the next few days I want to focus more on writing on here and the other blogs as well as exploring more! I want to explore Minneapolis and cook a bunch of new food while I have a kitchen! Maybe try taking some photos and stuffs.

All is well. All is so perfectly, damnably well!

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Everyone Wanders

We wander back to the source, we drift away.
We follow our instincts and run away.
It seems that everyone wanders
through night and day.
Looking for something
that might set keep their spirit at bay.

I believe that everyone drifts through their life with some destination in mind but not how to get there. They see themselves as a millionaire by the age of 30 or full of travel experience. Mine is the latter of the two. I think it’s like a fundamental rule of existence; everyone must wander.

Part of that wandering for me has been the unfulfilled desire to travel the world. It’s like a thirst that I cannot quench and I’m constantly thirsty! Coming home has reminded me of how much I want t travel and why I left. It’s not negative at all, but it reminds me that there are places I want to go and things I want to do. The notes and personal items I left here all explain this perfectly.

My desire is to travel and explore. I’m not sure how to get there or why I want to travel so much but right now I’m working on quenching it. I want to explore as much as I can around here and Charleston when I get there. Today I went to the Home & Garden Expo in Minneapolis with my Dad and Sister. It was a great start but I hope to get out more! I’ll keep everyone up to date with what’s going on while I’m on vacation! Write soon!
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