This post is going to be very personal, much more so than usual. I will delve into feelings that I normally don’t discuss with anyone, but I feel it’s time to strip one more layer of my soul, to let go of pretenses and be real. This is not going to be easy for me.
Lately, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery; that much is clear from my posts and what I’ve talked about on other people’s blogs and on Twitter. It’s no secret that I’m still learning how to let go of material possessions and be free. That is an ongoing process right now. It’s not always easy and I do get stuck sometimes, but easy does it and steady wins the race, right? At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Today I was walking to my favorite neighborhood café in Chicago, and pondering on where my life is going. I’ve arrived at a junction in my life where I have to realize that I haven’t really accomplished most of what I once set out to do. I’m at an age where some things seem too hard to do, almost like it’s too late to even start. Yes, sometimes I feel like I’ve failed, like I’m still waiting at the train station while fighting back the tears because I fear my train left a long time ago and won’t be coming back for me. For so long, I tried in vain to live the classic American life of excess and debt and running around in that little wheel inside my little cage. Now that I’m finally ridding myself of the cage, I find that I want more. Stripping my life of the non-essentials and the surplus (material and emotional) baggage has unveiled a picture of wasted time, my best years thrown away somehow. I’ve had some amazing experiences and I’ve traveled and I’ve met wonderful people along the way, but I now see that I could’ve had so much more if only I had been free to see what I was missing, and more importantly, what I was doing to myself. Sometimes I get a little depressed, and a light wave of sadness washes over me, like a mist that follows me around, not quite soaking me, but also not letting me fully dry out. That’s when I force myself to look at what I have accomplished in these few short months after I discovered minimalism and truly saw the absurdity of the consumer lifestyle I was living. I’ve been set free, but time is of the essence. Sometimes I feel like I should be moving faster.
I am not a young twenty-something with all the time in the world to make a “difference”. I am not making six figures in my current job, so I must be mindful of how I spend my money and figure out the logistics of a rainy-day fund and how to pay off my student loan debt so I can start planning for my minimalist “afterlife” of total freedom. I realize I must move forward without wasting time on little details or sentimental attachments. I’m excited for what is yet to come for me, and I can’t wait.
But one thing I refuse to do is feel sorry for myself. I refuse to wallow in regret, because even though I feel like I took this huge detour somewhere in my life journey, I also learned so much about myself and about life in general. I feel immensely rich in wisdom and work experiences, I’ve lived in so many different places, I’ve met (and lost) some amazing people who taught me so much, and those memories will never disappear. So yes, I feel a little sad, but I also feel very hopeful for what is yet to come in my life, and I just can’t wait to make it happen.
As I was walking to the café, I saw this blank sign on the sidewalk that someone had written this line on, and I couldn’t believe it. I immediately crossed the street and took a picture of it and decided it would accompany my next blog post, so here it is. “Become Who You Are”. How simple and yet how powerful. The notion that we are stil becoming who we (really) are, that our lives never stop evolving, that we never stop learning, that it’s never over, and there’s always a chance for a fresh start. This is what I want. This is where I’m headed in my life. I’m still working on “becoming who I am”. I feel like there’s still time, like I can still live the life I want, and be completely and totally free.
And you know what? I’m owning this phrase from now on, and I will apply it to my life every single day. I will continue to work on “becoming who I am”, knowing that it’s a lifelong pursuit, one that is fun and exciting and always worth it.
How about you? Are you “becoming who you are”? How are you working towards your goal of ultimate freedom? Talk to me in the comments below, or let’s continue the conversation on Twitter. Looking forward to interacting with you!