Broken

100+ boxes later and I’m unpacked.

My anchor is dropped. Over six years of being homeless, traveling the world, I’ve stopped. I’m ambivalent about being happy. I’m going to miss traveling. I’m going to miss seeing something new on a regular basis. I’m going to miss the freedom.

I’m NOT going to miss the loneliness.

I’m not going to miss watching the slow train wreck that is happening to the world right now.

 I sincerely hope that I eventually stumble into a life I love in my new home.

MY new home. I do love so many things about it. First and foremost, it’s all mine. If I want to paint a wall, I paint the wall; no consultations, no bargaining.

But I have to paint the wall.

Anyhoo… back to the 100 boxes of stuff. When I set off on the journey back in 2009, we sold everything and put precious and practical items in boxes in storage.

I actually forgot about a lot of that stuff. Opening most boxes was like Christmas morning. Of course, many precious items from grandparents, drawings and gifts from the children, touchstone, and photos – all brought tears to my eyes.

 Lifetimes of memories.

But a lot of it was stuff collected over the years. Useful, but still stuff.

I was lucky that my neighbour was an Army vet and was a whiz at packing. She insisted in helping me pack up my home and boy, was I lucky to have her.

Out of all the china, crystal, glass, et cetera, none of that was broken. Only two things were broken, and you won’t believe what they were.

As I have indicated before, when I started on my journey, I was married. I ended my journey single.

I was always proud of my family, and my family was the most important thing in my life, without exception. We had many decorative items scattered about the home that indicated the four of us. (Beyond photos.)

One of the items I had was a set of Sid Dickens ceramic blocks of King, Queen, Prince, and Princess crowns to represent us four. They were proudly placed in the living bookshelf.

They look like this:

The ONLY two items damaged through four moves was the King and Queen block. I kid you not.

It was so indicative of my experience, I sobbed for a day. The King and Queen of my family were broken and damaged. Cracked and scarred forever more. Never to be the same. The King and Queen had fallen.

I’ve passed the Prince and Princess blocks to my children, but knowing what they represented and how our family, like the blocks, is now scattered, I’m not too sure they were happy to have them.

He has his broken King block.

I glued my Queen block back together and hung it in my bedroom. I’m not broken, but you can see the cracks.

So Lucky

Suppose you loved ice cream. Your ice cream. You had an ice cream maker that made, for you, the most delicious ice cream.

Sure, the ice cream maker wasn’t always perfect but for the most part, it made the most amazing ice cream.

You never went anywhere or did anything without your ice cream. Everyone came to know you with your ice cream maker.

One day, after many years, the ice cream maker was gone. Where did it go? Did you lose it somehow? Searching through enough tears to fill a river twice, you looked everywhere for your ice cream maker, but it’s not to be found anywhere.

You blamed yourself, over and over, for being so careless that you would lose your ice cream maker. Surely you weren’t worthy of such a valuable item. And as such, despondency became your trusted ally.

Unbeknownst to you, someone stole your ice cream maker and they were now enjoying your ice cream. A friend saw them with your ice cream maker and told you were to find it.

And there it was. But it was not the same at all. Sure, it was the same ice cream maker, but it was now soiled and the ice cream looked and tasted different. You left the ice cream maker with them as it was of no use to you now.

Deciding that your friends were right when they said one day you’ll find a new ice cream maker, you started searching the world for the most perfect ice cream maker. You missed ice cream so damn much.

After a fruitless search, and a few candidates, you decided that the best course of action would be to build your own ice cream maker. So you started gathering the parts of what you thought would make a great ice cream maker.

Finally, you had your ice cream maker you could call yours. Except the ice cream had no flavor.

Yes, it was ice cream. It looked like ice cream. You made it to be ice cream. And it was YOUR ice cream. But the ice cream was just ice. Just ice. Frozen water.

Just cold, frozen ice, pretending to be ice cream. So you decorated it as best you knew how, with sparkles and flavor. But it was still just frozen shaped ice that looked pretty. Something was missing.

There was no substance. There was nothing to hold it all together, nothing to make the ingredients hug each other. There was only ice, no cream.

“But at least you have ice cream again!” everyone shouted joyfully. “You’re so lucky!”

Yes, I’m so lucky. So fucking lucky…

Dropping Anchor

After six years of travelling the world, I’m dropping anchor for a while.

After six years of living out of a suitcase, and constantly searching for a Wi-Fi signal, I’m done.

After six years of being jobless and homeless, I’m turning my life 180˚. I bought a home, and I’m starting a business.

I can’t wait to wake up in a bed only I have slept in, drink coffee out of my cup that only my lips have touched, read the paper in my language, not worry about where to find a Wi-Fi signal, eat breakfast when I damn well please, not search the room to make sure I’m leaving anything behind, make friends I’ll see again, and surround myself with my touchstones.

When I read articles about how to live the nomad life, I get angry because they are selling a dream, it’s not a reality. They are confusing living a vacation lifestyle with the truth of disconnecting. They assume so damn much and that’s because dreamers, not doers, write most of those articles praising the detachment lifestyle.

So, without further ado, here’s the actuality of the nomad lifestyle from a certified doer:

➤ Prepare to miss your people. A lot. Skype, text, FB doesn’t cure it.

➤ Prepare to miss holidays, funerals, and weddings.

➤ Prepare for people to detach from you, without your permission.

➤ Prepare for a lot of loneliness, which is different than being alone.

➤ Prepare to never feel grounded.

➤ Prepare to appreciate you can never return home again. You WILL change and nothing will ever be the same.

 Prepare to be frustrated on a regular basis.

➤ Prepare to drop your English language skills to a Grade 9 level; the level most people with English as a second language speak.

➤ Prepare to understand that no one wants to hear about your travels (other than surface information you can fit in two sentences), no one wants to see your photos, no one wants to hear how you have grown, and mostly, they aren’t interested in how you’ve changed.

➤ Prepare to return to being out of step with people back home. The local news stories, the new TV show, current movies, food and clothing trends, and so on. Your worldview doesn’t fit in your hometown.

➤ Prepare to miss having a schedule.

➤ Prepare for other people not to know what a Coach purse is and the value of said Coach purse. For all they knew, it was a $9.99 special from Walmart, but they don’t know what a Walmart is, either. Ditto when you return home.

Prepare to miss things you thought you would never miss.

★ Prepare to miss going on a vacation. I haven’t been on a proper vacation in five years. Yes, I’ve travelled, but travelling is different than a vacation. A beach vacation or a cruise where you have no cares in the world, save for your drink running empty. The next time I pack a suitcase, it will be to go on a vacation.

When I sold everything, except for the precious items stored in a sea can, I thought I was free. My life was going to be wonderful, fluttering around the world with two suitcases and a dog. Well, truth be told, we are never free; our passports, our travel visas, our money can, and will, still hold you hostage.

You still have to pay to sleep somewhere, to eat something, to move. Free is not free. You still have to wash dishes, they just aren’t yours. You still have to fill the car up; it’s just not yours. You still have to vacuum and do laundry. You still have to pay for mobile phone service; it’s just a different number now.

I’ve seen so much, learned so much, had so many amazing experiences. Guess what? No one cares.

None of these experiences matter if you have no one to share life with; and not just anyone, your person. It’s a thin line between freedom and loneliness.

Which brings me to the real reason I’m dropping anchor. It’s time to find someone who cares, moreover, wants to experience all the beauty of the world with me.

It’s time to stand still long enough so my person can find me.

I miss so many things; from my stable life and from my travelling life – but none as much as sharing a life with a partner.

➤➤➤ I have stopped running away and have started running towards. And it feels good. 

 

Living in The Past

Everyday, everyone lives in the past.

You live in the past every waking moment.

I live in the past every living moment.

The past surrounds you. Everything around you is the evidence of the past. Of your past. Every. Little. Thing. So stop telling me to quit living in the past. Even you can’t stop living in the past.

“Wait,” but you plead, “I live in the present, in the now. Like Oprah told me.”

You don’t. You live in the past. Living in the now is a huge New Age lie. It’s impossible to live in the now.

The now is now. Now. Now. No, now. Now. Now. Urgh! Now…

Living in the now is unobtainable. You can live for this moment and in this moment, but you don’t live in the now.

You live in the past. Even tomorrow you will be living in the past.

Every decision and choice you have made in your past, you live with. Now. Now. Now.

Everything you are happy with, you made that choice in the past. Everything you are not so happy with, you also made that choice in the past.

Look around you; your body is based on the choices you made yesterday, last week, last month, last year. Like what you see? Great! Keep it up. Don’t like what you see? If your body is not the way you would prefer, it’s only because of the choices you have made in the past. Change your tomorrow’s past for your body, today. Start some type of improvement today and the evidence of your better choices in the past will come to life tomorrow.

A hangover is the best analogy I can think of for this. That moment you woke up, you did nothing wrong. You were sleeping, how could you have done something wrong? Living, or rather sleeping, in the now shouldn’t have given you a headache and upset stomach. Yet you wake up with a hangover because of your past choice to drink alcohol.

You are living in the now with a hangover from drinking in your past. If you could live in the now, wouldn’t you just erase your hangover from your mind by living with a bright, shiny morning? Impossible. Your day starts out living in your past.

Happy in your relationship? Great! Keep it up. Not so happy or not in a relationship? What choices did you make in the past that have you were you are today? Did you realize you should have left years ago? Are you single but not mingling? Have you let things slide?

Career? Yep, all past decisions. Did you drop out of school? Did you pass up that promotion? Did you work hard at a degree that was viable? Did you work those extra hours that are paying off now? Did you enter a questionable business model? Did you follow your heart?

Finances? Did you ring up your credit cards? Overextend on your mortgage? Gamble? Overspend? Start a savings account? Diligent with a budget? Financially secure? Your finances are directly attributed to your past choices and decisions, good or bad.

The money in your bank or not in your bank is one of the clearest material indication of your choices, hands down. (Even a sudden lotto winning is proof you bought a ticket, a past decision.)

Every waking hour is a reminder of your past. Every breathing moment is living in your past. Consequences of your choices, good or bad. Without exception.

What you choose this moment, this now, will be birthed into the next moment, next day, next week, next month, next year.

So you don’t live in the now, you choose in the now.

You don’t live in the moment, you choose in the moment.

But you always live in the past.

All the places we don’t want to be

Aristotle

Goals are garbage.

Goals can create stress and heartache.

Goals can make you feel worthless.

If you have a goal to lose 50 pounds and only lose 45, will you consider yourself a disappointment?

If you have a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day and only reach 8,500, have you bombed?

If you have a goal to have a career, house, wife, and a family by age 30 and you managed to have a house, spouse, and family but your career is slow getting off the ground, is it futile to carry on when you are 31?

Hitting the goal post doesn’t count in any game.

Goals are dreams with a deadline. Nope, goals are nightmares that handcuff us to perceived happiness. Once I reach X goal, then I’ll be happy. Or rich. Or skinny. Or accomplished.

➠ Then how are we to accomplish anything? Aren’t goals, directions? Roadmaps?

What if you decided half way towards your goal, that it’s the wrong goal? Are all your efforts then a waste of time? In my books, that was the best time spent as sometimes figuring out what we don’t want is more important than wondering what we do want, but some would consider that effort a failure to reach your goal.

So what do we use instead of goals, to realize our ambitions and dreams, and to move forward?

 Habits. Habits trump goals each and every time.

If your goal was to lose 50 pounds, why not change that to wanting to become healthy? If you change your habits, if you become healthy, the weight will automatically drop off, with seemingly no effort whatsoever. And you will still be the winner even if you drop 35, 42, 47 or 49.5 pounds.

The very definition of habit is something we do unconsciously.

To lose 50 pounds, and keep it off, you have to change the habits that got you to where you are 50 pounds overweight. Normally that’s because, over time, you consumed more food than your body needed.

But too many drastic changes of habits are also doomed to failure. That’s why extreme diets, cold turkey quitting smoking or starting an exercise plan of going to the gym every day for an hour never work. Your subconscious mind is stronger than your willpower and you will revert back to your destructive habits. And that’s why it’s so important to concentrate on changing your subconscious mind habits.

 The secret to obtaining each and everything you have ever wanted is small, consistent, incremental changes in your habits, not setting goals.

Want to lose weight and keep it off? Today, start with eating less. Eat what you want, when you want, but less of it, even if it means every time you eat, eat just one less bite.

Leave one bite of the donut. Leave one chip in the bag. Leave that one bite on your plate. Leave that last gulp in the cup. Order the small fries instead of large. Maybe don’t go for seconds. (Note: Throw out the part you don’t eat. Don’t keep it to tempt you later.)

Once that becomes easy or habit, leave two bites, two chips, two gulps.

Once that becomes an easy habit, leave three bites, or ¼ of the serving.

Continue the process – a little bit at a time – until it becomes a natural habit to eat ½ (or less) of everything you are eating now. Still have pizza, but now one slice is just as satisfying as two. Or two as four, if that’s your case.

Do you not think your body would respond and create a weight-loss situation?

And more importantly, without a goal, there is no end to this habit improvement. You can continue this habit until you are healthy, happy, and content that this is where you want to live for now. You simply stop improving the habit, with no worries of reverting back to your previous unwanted habit.

Whether that takes a week, or two, or a month or six is up to you; don’t believe the hype of ‘it takes 21, 30, 60, 90 days to change a habit.’ The only thing you have to do is improve your new habit a little bit every day, consistently.

Maybe once you’ve solidified the quantity habit, then you move on start to make better food choices if you haven’t naturally done so already. Maybe as you lose weight, you feel like walking or moving your body a little bit more.

➠ Does this feel like success to you? Does this feel doable? Doesn’t this feel better? Doesn’t this feel easier? 

The choice is yours, but you must make the changes small, consistent, and incremental. And build on each habit change.

I promise you, if all you do is this one change of habit, of quantity, you will eventually make a difference in the shape of your body.

How else could you implement this in your life?

Quitting smoking? How about cutting out one cigarette in a day, the easiest one to cut out, the one you wouldn’t miss that much. Once it feels natural that you don’t miss it, cut out another one. Live with that until it feels natural, and repeat the process until you are down to a few cigarettes a day. Quitting completely from this point will be much easier, don’t you think? Or you may decide that smoking a couple of well-timed cigarettes a day is fine.

Want to stop watching so much TV? Spending a lot of time on Facebook? Use your timer to slowly, incrementally, shave off minutes.

Get your finances in order? What’s one item you can cut out this month? Netflix? Now next month? Bring one lunch a week to work? And the month after that? Review your cable package? In a year, you will have shaved off twelve items; think of the money you will be saving! But if you did that all at once, a sense of lack would set in your subconscious mind and it would be very painful.

I know it’s easy to forget because it seems so natural now, but every unconscious habit you have now, evolved over time. You weren’t born brushing your teeth. You weren’t born overeating. You weren’t born smoking.

You weren’t born turning on the TV immediately after work. You weren’t born drinking too much alcohol, doing recreational drugs, or biting your nails. You weren’t born overspending.

All habits are a process of training the unconscious mind, no exceptions. Some habits were implemented quickly, such as a drug addiction and smoking, but most evolved over time. You didn’t start eating three donuts; it started after one, for whatever reason, wasn’t enough so you reached for the second, which then eventually became a three-donut habit at coffee break.

Habits will get you to anywhere you want to be and keep you there.

And all the places we don’t want to be.

Everything You Did Not Say

You never asked.

In your not asking, I have my answer.

When it’s all about you with never a queery about me, I have my answer.

This isn’t assumption; it’s an observation.

I waited for you to ask and you didn’t. Not once.

You spoke a thousand words to give me the answer I already knew.

➵ It’s probably the most honesty I have ever taken away from one of our conversations. 

Take good care.