Saturday, April 6, 2013

make it happen

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New outfit location?  For some reason I really liked this getup, so I took a picture on the back porch (which is much less stressful than exposing myself to public scrutiny).  Maybe the era of outfit photos isn't over after all... Still, there isn't really anything spectacularly thrilling about the clothes.  Mostly I just liked that my scarf matched my tights.  

There has been a lot going on in my head lately.  I've been feeling extraordinarily antisocial--leaving the house for any reason seems like such a chore, even though staying in makes me antsy and irritable.  I feel like I'm just in this holding pattern while I'm waiting for the trip to start, because I've planned so much, so many little details, and now I'm just adrift.  I feel like I can't talk about anything but the trip, but at the same time I don't really want to talk about it.  I am just WAITING.  And I hate waiting.

I've also been thinking a lot about what will happen when the trip is over.  How will I transition back into "normal" life?  K will be starting grad school at UVM (we decided to stay where we are, even though he got into EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL he applied to... what a guy), we'll be looking for a new apartment, and although I'll most likely be returning to my current job, I'm hoping to start up again in a telecommuting capacity... but I want to make sure I really start maximizing every day, making the most of this little life.

Way back in 2010, I wrote a post outlining obstacles for planning a long trip around the world.  While many of the points I made in that post are no longer relevant (I don't think that I'm a "dried-up version of my former self" because I don't want to go out dancing every night, I just feel like I'm a grown-up version of my former self), I will admit that the primary difference is that I've paid down a significant portion of my debt and am ready to start racking it up again.  So much of my life choices lately have become just that: CHOICES.  I have become more and more focused on figuring out what really makes me happy and what I do just because I can or feel like I should.

This post really struck home with me.

The reason I am happier now that I was two years ago: I decided to be.  It really is as simple as that.  That's how everything fell into place.  That's why this trip is happening.  I decided to make it happen.  So much of how we feel and what we do is dependent on our level of mindfulness and self-awareness, and I'm only starting to commit to the idea that I can make things happen for myself.  It's such a small, obvious thing, but I spent so much of my life resisting it, relying on chance or fate to make decisions for me.  It seems so silly now, so immature.  Once I identified what I really wanted (the trip, above all else), it was easy to cut superfluous spending.  I didn't kill time shopping.  I cut out cocktails and coffee beverages.  And suddenly I was able to put large chunks of money into my savings account, while still keeping up with expenses and paying down debt.  It's amazing to me how simple it was.

Despite the fact that we live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, it seems to me that most of us are neither.  We find jobs that help support our consumer habits, that allow us to pay for the outrageously expensive educations we received, that make possible the purchase of cars and homes and televisions and help support the raising of children who will most likely go on to overpriced universities and spend the rest of their lives repeating the cycle.  We lay down roots and are comforted by their strength as they thicken and stretch.  We think we're doing what we want because that's what we have been taught or told to want. That, to me, is not freedom.  We do what is easy, what pays the bills, what is socially acceptable.   That, to me, is not bravery.

Traveling around the country in a car for three months is not everyone's idea of a good time.  We have mixed reactions when we tell people our plans--some are envious, some are incredulous.  What matters is that is where MY happy is.  Or maybe it's not.  Maybe I've just idealized and romanticized it my whole life, and in fact I will have a terrible time and be cured of my wanderlust forevermore.  The point is, I need to find out.  I need to do it.  And so I will, because I can.  

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What would you do, if you could do anything?

4 comments:

  1. I think you're going to have a great trip! It'll be so neat to see so much of the country and it'll be something you'll never forget. I often think about the forced idea of what we want in life. The stability and all. Then I realize I actually like a calm, stable life. I like to travel and then return to normalcy. That's definitely not for everyone, but to me a comfortable life is a happy one. Everyone's different!
    Also, I think this outfit is super cute! I love your scarf and cozy-looking dress.

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  2. i feel your words caitlin. found your blog through a link on another blog while i was blog hopping and felt i just had to stop by to leave a comment concerning this post.

    i'm glad that you have made a decision for yourself to be happy, also this trip. it doesn't matter what others think really, because they will think, as long as they can think. imagine the chaos in our minds if we tell ourselves to react to how each and everyone else's thinks. life's too short to be bothered by so much!

    also i do not think you've idealised and romantised your life. i remember once i was told by a superior of mine that i am too idealistic and that one of my business proposal wouldn't work. however i thought to say something wouldn't work before even dealing with it is what makes thing don't work. right? i am an idealist like that, nothing will be much of a problem for me as long as i set my mind into doing something.

    anyway just to cut the story short. i on the other hand think, being realistic is what made the world cold. to idealise is to hope for something better. and i believe it is with this mindset that helps make people better and the world better.

    i just want you to know you're not alone. not everyone is suited with the current system of our urban dwellers' life and think like everyone else. EACH AND EVERYONE OF US is different and is happy with different accomplishments in life. just follow your heart and do what makes you happy.

    to a happy and contented life~
    jun

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  3. A.Men. I think about these same things all the time. Are we all ever actually doing what we really want to be doing? Or are we doing what society has said is right and is the norm for us? Going to college, getting married, getting a full time job, making babies, etc.

    I feel lucky to be one of the few southern girls still not married into my 30s. It's given me time to think about what I actually want vs. what is expected. I like hearing about people who are thinking about and questioning the same things! yall are going to have the most amazing trip ever and yes, it will probably be hard to come back to the "real" world afterward. it'll be worth it though! glad you have put things into action so that you can live out one of your dreams!

    christen
    fashionplatecheapskate.blogspot.com

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  4. I realize you´re on the road by now but I thought I´d chip in with a big hurrah! I completely agree with what your saying, from the political aspect to the point that happiness is often a choice. I´ve been making changes in my own life of late (and also deliberately choosing not to change other things) and it´s amazing what a feeling of empowerment and happiness you get from making your own choices.

    Now just to work on cutting down my superfluous spending like you´ve done!

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