How Do You Answer the Big Question?

What would you do if you could do anything? I often like to ask people this question.  And this is the question we get asked periodically at different times during our lives.  Most of the time I never knew what to say.  I would be envious of those who seemed to know exactly what they wanted from their life and marched after it.  They knew what they would do, and they were doing it.  

I never knew I could create my own life.  For a long time I had no idea I actually could design my very own custom life.  Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.  I took things as they came to me, and lived a lot on auto-pilot.  But all along, things were stirring.  I remember watching the first Lord of the Rings movie in 2001, sitting in my cubicle thinking and knowing there had to be more but I had no idea what or how.  

It is not for the faint of heart.  From that point on, my life took me on an incredible journey.  And now, through more than a few years of deep self-work and excavation, I am doing it.  I am creating and designing a life I love.  Filling it with people I love, and things I love, and finding out what my interests and passions are.  I don't know if there is one true passion.  I guess the thing I think about most is writing.  That is the place where I go deep inside and lose myself.  But I am sure interested in a bunch of other things, like photography, traveling, history, languages, music .  

This life I have chosen is not easy.  In fact, it's damn hard sometimes.  Living with people, scrambling to come up with rent, patching together odd jobs.  But I learned something.  Well, a few things.  40 hours a week working for someone else does not leave me with the energy I need to create.  And writing is that sweet spot, where my dreams touch the Earth.  Now that I have found it, I am not about to give it up.  So I do whatever is necessary to protect it and nurture it.  Quite frankly, I don't want life to be "easy".  I want to always be growing, learning, changing and evolving.  

There is no retirement.  I hope I'm still writing and traveling when I'm 90.  I use that because that is how old my maternal grandmother is, and she just got her first cell phone.  I think the myth of retirement is that, a myth.  We wait and we wait and we wait and sometimes it pans out and sometimes it doesn't.  I refuse to believe the best thing I can hope for is to work some job with great benefits and hope I have enough energy left to do things when I'm 65 or 70.  Who knows if I'll make it that far, or my pension, 401k or Social Security will.  I don't want to "retire".  I intend to live a full, vibrant life.  If I have learned anything, as cliche as it is, there are no guarantees.  

GO!!!  One of my very best friends frequently posts this on my Facebook status updates.  And notice, it is an action word.  So go!!! Go towards your dreams, whatever they are.  Cultivate those ideas whispered in your dreams.  Pay attention and say yes.  I promise, you life will take a magical turn.  But be warned, once you open that door and go, there is no going back.  


BestThings: Sunday Edition

2 years ago I took my birthday off from work.  I decided I would spend the day as if I lived a freelance life and could design my own schedule, dreaming of the day when I would be free from working a 40-hour a week cubicle job.  And now here I am.  Working for Lyft, designing my own schedule and traveling around.  I am maybe the happiest I have ever been.  

My birthday.  It was such a good day yesterday.  I received copious amounts of birthday wishes, and got to spend the day with my Dad hanging out.  I brought lunch from Wendy's over to his place and he introduced me to this series called "Penny Dreadful" on Showtime.  It was raining, so not much of a sight-seing day.  He napped and I continued to watch the show and took a little nap myself.  We ended the night with a delicious birthday dinner of steak covered in Alaskan crab and Bearnaise sauce, with huckleberry ice cream for dessert at The Depot in Missoula.  I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've been with my Dad on my birthday.  And that itself is a best thing.  

Montana.  I realized Montana was a wound, for me, that needed to be lanced.  And sure enough, driving up through the Bitterroot Valley did that for me.  Friday night it all came tumbling out.  Closing out that circle was one of the best things about this trip, and probably one of the reasons I needed to do it.  Sometimes you have to go back and then you can go forward.  

Memories. It is good to be with Dad and talk about Mom.  He remembers and knows things that I don't, and so instead of it being a source of pain for us, it can now transform into a source of joy.  I know that is what Mom wants anyway.  My heart still twinges a little bit when I think about her and this place.  But I'm not afraid of it anymore.  And now we've made some new memories, with no need to always revisit the old.

Today Dad and I might go to a baseball game later, if the weather cooperates.  We might go to a ghost town or we might go antiquing.  Or, maybe we'll just watch the rest of "Penny Dreadful".   I don't know, but whatever we do will be good enough.  For now, I'm savoring this time with Dad.