Sometimes it is easy to forget why we do things. You get so caught up in the idea of "getting somewhere" that when you get there, you forget to celebrate, to stop, to reflect. It seems the mentality of "moving, keep moving, the road never stops" is a double edged blade - it can create a life of monetary wealth and supposed ease but also hedges you into a cycle to where having the time - or the people - to celebrate, doesn't exist.
When I see people who "have it together", meaning in my head they are married (or in a committed relationship), own a house, car, full time job and have a routine social life, I can't help but wonder how fragile that lifestyle is. I wonder, "Don't you want to see the world? Don't you want to get out of X and do something besides what you do every single day?" Don't get me wrong, I pretty much "have it together" by my own definition, but I always have plans. Or Plan B's. Even Plan C's. What I can't imagine is not being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it (within reason of course).
Case in point, on a whim I have set aside 11 days in May that I will be going to Prague. I've never been to Prague, Czechoslovakia, Eastern or Mainland Europe - in fact, I haven't really even researched the place. But I decided I wanted to go. So I'm going. But I know people who have never even left the southeastern United State area they grew up in. Never been outside of the country - and seemingly don't have a care to.
Now some would say "To Each Their Own", but what is the point of working, of owning things, of saving up money if you never get to enjoy the use of it? I've read some blogs, newspaper articles, even met people who are modern day nomads. They own what they can carry, they find odd jobs where they end up for a time, they survive and...they are happy. Very happy. And they have great stories, seem to be good individuals, and just seem to be happy.
My time in Taiwan taught me to always get out and find something to do. Don't let others dictate what you can do, where you can go, and who you can meet. Set goals that are both challenging and rewarding. More important, goals that are important to you and make you a person who is interesting to be around - because who cares if you become the Vice President of Sales at age 30 but have become divorced, secluded and a miserable person to be around!
Unsurprisingly though, time moves by very quickly and "convictions" on how to live seem to run into reality. Since coming back to the US, I have been in banking. First working at a large regional (corporate) bank in South Carolina and then moving to Charlotte to work at one of the largest credit unions in the US. Between the training classes, the learning curve on the job, and the literally books of "homework" to learn for the job, doing ANYTHING has seemed a bit out of the question for the most of this year. Which is why I have been lame and have pretty much sold out on just about everything I spent the last 20 minutes writing about above.
But now that some of the workload is beginning to lighten up (although December looks to be a hellish month in the making), I am starting to get back to the basics of making life both enjoyable for me personally, along with making money and doing the "adult thing". I have created a few goals for myself to get at least some bearings on what's next. Some of these are:
1. Doing something I enjoy. In this case, I am going to start working on learning (errr, re-learning) some basic Russian. I took a year of Russian language classes while in college and found them to be my most enjoyable classes. But with extra-curricular activities, major classes beginning (did I mention I double majored), and working anywhere from 30 - 50 hours a week (last semester of college doing 2 internships...) I kind of realized it wasn't going to happen. So without the pressure of graded tests and only the enjoyment and personal achievement, I will begin learning Russian again!
2. Get outside! Lucky for me, my best friend is nothing short of an outdoor junky. Pretty much with this one, I just need to not be lazy when I'm back in my hometown and just follow him when he goes out. From hiking, to camping, to kayaking down rivers, I am planning on being a bit more active than I have been. And I need to justify buying that banana boat kayak...
3. Travel. Doesn't mean I need to leave the country every few months, just means I need to make sure I'm doing more that just the Charlotte to Columbia/Columbia to Charlotte drive. Beaches, mountains, lakes, plains. All within 2 hours of where I'm at. No excuses, just need to get out and start road tripping it.
4. Begin creating a social group in Charlotte. I have been spending almost every weekend back in Columbia since I moved here in July and have locked myself away during the week "studying" for work and I fear it may have dented my social life up here. But in all honesty, Columbia is a cheaper place to do pretty much everything on the weekends, so I don't see that changing, but during the week, I am going to start going out to places - coffee shops, concerts, protests (ha!) and start getting to know some people up here as well.
So simple goals that are reasonable but also allow for a lot of good things. Doing something for myself. Doing something outdoors. Doing something in a new place. And getting to know others. All simple. All doable. All as part of doing something with the resources I work so hard for everyday.
Hopefully with these simple things in mind, some interesting things will begin to happen and when they do, I'll be sure to post about them here.Until next time...