This has been a long time coming. Internally & externally. Especially internally. I’ve always been driven – driven to do, to ‘succeed’, to excel, to create, to go. But along the way, I’ve realized that this need to succeed is short lived. I succeed at something, I feel the high, and then an emptiness creeps over like a vine tightening around my legs, growing up around my chest, and threatening to squeeze the very life out of me. The emptiness of, “What next? What now?”
There have been several times I’ve felt this way. Times I’ve felt like if I didn’t have a specific goal to surmount to, that I was falling apart and misguided. After taking a break from my company this past year and stepping back from a contract design job I had happily landed, I reverted back to the time I had read Eat, Pray, Love for the first time. Now, bear with me and set your preconceived judgement of the book aside. However you feel about the book or Elizabeth Gilbert’s lust for travel, take a look at some of her ideas in separate notions – apart from the book.
In her trip to Italy, she explains how, “Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure” and that we are happier to be working. We feel the need to earn pleasure. Now, I don’t know how true that is for everyone, but that is very true for me. I’m constantly defending my
weekly nightly pleasure for eating ice cream with the declaration that I earned it with a tough day of working or feeling homesick. That’s bullshit! I should enjoy ice cream for the hell of enjoying ice cream, not because I feel like I did something to receive it. I want to feel the true pleasure of doing nothing that Elizabeth refers to when living in Italy and abroad.
Many people who know me, know that I am ridiculously, inexcusably, frustratingly indecisive. It’s why I stayed in a past relationship years longer than I should have that resulted in massive scars for both parties. It’s why, on a daily basis, I have to have 3 flavors of cereal in my breakfast bowl because I can’t pick just one. While on a breakfast basis, it’s not such a big deal, at the essence of it I honestly have a difficult time hearing my own heart. I want to know what it’s like to – at moment’s notice – decide what I want to do in that very moment. Not 4 hours from now when I feel like I’ll have earned that ice cream cone, but right now! What do I want in this very moment? I would like to learn how to allow myself to be, to feel the very pleasure of just being. Without excuses. Without pleasing those around me. Without feeling like I’ll be judged for changing my views on what ‘success’ really means to me.
At the end of this very first post, after a rant that when on much longer than I meant it to, I am ready to jump off the deep end. Eric (my partner in crime) and I have decided to go abroad and immerse ourselves in a different culture in search of… ourselves. In a spiritual sense, a cultural sense, (even) a physical sense, and a just being sense. Am I scared? Heck. Yes. I’m terrified. I’m terrified that I will not have researched enough and be left homeless or that when I return back to the U.S., I’ll have no money, no health insurance, no job. But, alas, that is living in the future again and only adding a trestle for more vines to cling to. I am learning to trust the universe and, after talking years about just going somewhere… anywhere… this is where open roads have led to. As Elizabeth says so divinely (and more succinctly) in her book: Attraversiamo. Let’s cross over.