All my material possessions have been packed in these two bags.
It seems fitting: 14 years ago I landed in Perth with one suitcase, and now I’m leaving with the same volume of stuff, though composition of said stuff has changed.
Leaving was more complicated than I thought it would be. Its process always accentuates, acutely, the grace in my present situation, no matter what it is. The flip side of this gratitude, is that doubt that creeps in. The sort of doubt that culminated in my curling up at the airport, sick with fear and dread at the point of departure, blinded completely to both the purpose of this endeavour, and also that of anything I have to run back to. I was a quiet – thank goodness – wreck at boarding time. Right now,I am the biggest scaredy-cat in the world. With some serious concerns about how I’ve (not) used my time in the last three decades, to be facing this sort of thing after so long.
I am in Seattle at the writing of this post, spending some treasured time with my eldest sister and her family, getting used to the cold. I went from 100 deg F in Perth to 32 def F here (36 C – 0 C) so suddenly, from not being able cool down, I’m shaking like an aspen despite four good layers of clothing, scarf, gloves etc. Enchanted by the heavy fog, and even more so, swathes of ice everywhere.
In a couple of weeks, I’m heading down to Mexico, and I’m not entirely sure why, except that it’s warmer, and I have this desire to go somewhere with relatively unfamiliar rules of operation and see how I go, for the hell of it. I’ve been asked several times if I am pursuing a project or two during this year, and the answer is “no.”
See, the thing I am having the hardest time coming to grips with, is why I’m doing this. I’m no lover of details, so I’ve never been one for plans, but I’ve always taken action based on a distinct motive. I went to Australia to get an education, and later continued living there because I loved the wide open space, the peculiarities of the bush and its people, and have a great desire to explore it properly – if it were viable to get by on the money I have, I’d still be there instead of halfway around the world. I got a job and stayed at the Matrix for years because I had bills that desperately needed paying, and found skillsets I wanted to acquire. Etc etc and etc.
This though, I have no defined motivation for, because I don’t know what I don’t know about the rest of the world. And it means I can’t point my energy in any meaningful direction.
I’ve never been completely unmoored before, and it is ridiculously unnerving.
I would love more than anything, to have an overriding purpose/angle, however vague, driving all this mobile navel gazing. But I don’t.
Perhaps this is the first lesson of living an unanchored life.
So in the absence of clear goals, here are my hopes for the future:
In a year, I hope to come back to this post with different eyes. To understand myself a little bit better, so I can pursue properly, whatever it is that fulfills me (assuming i figure this out too), without the chatter of the coulds and shoulds and nay-you-can’t-do-thats I’ve taken on board and allowed myself to believe over the course of my life. I hope to have learnt to trust myself, to have the confidence to follow my own path and deal with my fears without being crippled by them. And most of all, I hope to have figured out how I can give back to this world that has blessed me so generously.
It’s a big call for twelve measly months, considering abovementioned decades of inertia.
But I still do believe in magic. It happens.
And the universe might have been giving me a pointed look yesterday, shepherding me into a shelter painted with these glorious quotes to wait for the downtown Seattle bus, in the foggy freeze of the morning:
And Mom, I’ll be ok. Promise.
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