A lot of things have come up since the accident and since I’ve been without a car. Thoughts coming to me unbidden, some realizations, and re-learning some lessons. A lot of them revolving around my perceptions of people and their perceptions of me, but many of them dealing with the future.
Been spending the past couple of days looking at used Ford E-250 and E-350 vans. Finally at a point where I don’t care if people tell me what I want to do is impractical, costs too much money, or “seems like a bad idea” or “poor life choice”. I feel as though I’ve been rediscovering my sense of possibility and some sense of myself.
And what that renewed sense is screaming out to me is a singular word: adventure.
It wasn’t too long ago where I had people telling me all sorts of things, some in a passive, anecdotal, roundabout way of trying to dissuade me, and others actively telling me that what I wanted or was thinking about was impossible or impractical. At the time, I knew they meant well, and I still have gratitude for that. That being safe and responsible is acceptable. That the road well-traveled isn’t evil.
At the same time, I can’t help but look at those admonitions as some kind of low-level fear. Fear, I’ve since realized, that doesn’t belong to me at all.
It’s not that I feel invincible or that any choice I make is without some kind of consequence or trade-off–quite the opposite. I’m all-too-aware of them. I recognize that every day not spent in the pursuit of what makes me happy and what makes my life worth living is time wasted. As Henry Rollins put it, “Like bucket full of water not carried carefully; wasted.” When the opportunities to be happy with less, but spent in the pursuit of what matters to me, present themselves… what would be the point in letting it slip? Putting it off until “retirement”? Being a weekender until it was too late to make it something bigger?
I don’t know if I could live with myself if I resigned myself to that. If I settled.
So, given all of the things that have happened the last few weeks, I’m going to start focusing my energy on the build-out and construction of the so-named “Adventure Van”. Anybody that knows me knows I’ve had a fascination for #VanLife for a very long time. My first attempt at something resembling this was interesting in every sense of the word.
I learned a lot in that month on the road–lots of things about what I need, what I don’t, what I would do with my time if money and ambition were not insurmountable. I learned that I have an appetite for these kinds of adventures. That I didn’t need anybody’s permission or approval. That even given mechanical problems and logistical challenges, I could overcome them all. I stretched way beyond my comfort zone (and experienced both altitude sickness and beautiful sunrises as a direct result).
For me, the question now isn’t whether or not I can do it, but more about whether or not this choice (and the huge number of others that will follow) will lead me to the kind of life I want to lead. It’s leading me to a lot of more complex questions about what I do for work, whether that work aligns with my values and goals, whether or not that work is something I want to continue growing in, or if I want to try and leave and do something completely different.
But for now, focusing on work and simplifying my life are the best first steps I can make in any direction.