This blog has focused pretty heavily on politics over the last six months or so. No surprise there. I write about what makes me think and feel, and that’s the only thing I’ll give Donald Trump credit for: pissing me right the hell off 24/7.
Anyway, it’s been a while since my last blog and even longer since my last non-political post. So let’s talk about a different subject today!
I was thinking about something earlier this week: I’m in a pretty damn good place right now. My social life has taken a surprising, fulfilling turn. I’m in love with certain things I’m doing for work. I have half a dozen trips to look forward to. I’ve secured a couple new, exciting volunteer opportunities. My parents and sister are happy, healthy and motivated. Baseball season is on the horizon.
Can’t ask for much more than that.
So, I was reflecting on the last few years (by accident, really…I tend to daydream at the most random moments), and was trying to figure out where all this goodness started.
That’s when I realized it began shortly after leaving for my big trip abroad in 2015.
When I left on the trip, a big goal I set for myself was to let go of the things I didn’t like doing or feeling, in favor of things I enjoyed and/or always wanted to do.
For example, I cared very little for most of the “regular” work I had done up to that point. I wanted to do freelance writing – a profession I knew I would love – on my own terms. I didn’t enjoy feeling like I had to make a certain amount of money, have a certain amount of insurance or pay a certain amount to live in the city. Doing what I saw as fulfilling, valuable work no matter the money or living situation became paramount.
Pursuing interesting things like meditation, cooking and gardening were no longer ignored because of whatever judgments they might draw. Getting involved in baseball became a priority; doing so has cost me tons of hours for very little pay, and it is still worth every second as soon as I step on the diamond. Focusing on volunteering more has been fun and satisfying (and, conveniently, good for business).
It didn’t take long for life to start trending that way in Australia. It just felt right. Everywhere I went brought intrigue, adventure, unique companionship and jaw-dropping moments. It snowballed into Southeast Asia and Europe over the next several months and just blew up everything I had known, while affirming everything I had hoped for and believed in.
That six-month travel cleanse did wonders for me. I came back with a drive to change my career, hobbies and goals. I wanted to be excited about those things every day, rather than doing them because I “needed to.” I also wanted to be a better, more patient, more optimistic friend and person in general. Basically, I was ready to grow all the way up.
And, as I mentioned at the beginning, this is all going rather well.
(Quick note to clarify that I’ve always been a happy person – I have very few complaints about my life and was fortunate to grow up in an incredibly stable, loving situation. Any “unhappy times” were nothing in comparison to those who have actually had to struggle.)
For all the amazing, memorable moments I had in the 25 years leading up to that trip, the travel adventure itself and these past 18 months since have been on another level.
This may be a coincidence, but it seems like changing my mindset in this way has brought me so much more joy than I believed possible. I’ve said “yes” to things I might not have in the past because of a busy work schedule, high price tag, or hesitant attitude. These experiences have led me to incredible people, unbelievable live music, new learning experiences, startlingly positive self-realizations and more unexpected travels.
It’s as if I’ve been rewarded with some crazy karma for letting go of all the nonsense and finally embracing life for what it should be: mine.
This might not apply to everyone, but for anyone questioning their current situation, I’d highly recommend giving a travel cleanse/mindset adjustment a try!