In spite of my duty to family, clients, and building a life around the people who matter most. My biggest and wildest dream has been to wake up on a tropical island, living a simpler way of life. I may wake up one day in paradise and realize I made the biggest mistake of my life but until that day comes, I suppose I will never know until I dive in head first.
The past month has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but my time is nearing quickly and inside I feel a wave of excitement and sadness at the same time. You hear it all the time, “If I finish this semester, If I save up X amount of money, When I retire, When I’m married, After the kids are grown…” We’re all waiting for the right time to pull the plug on something we’ve always wanted to do.
My aunt and uncle are two of the hardest working, devoted parents I know they have worked over 40 years in their jobs and have saved up alot of money in plans to travel the world upon retirement. As soon as they both retired both of my cousins had their own children making my aunt and uncle Full-Time Grand Nannies. I went over there the other day to my hometown of Buena Park and even took a drive by my childhood home of 11 years. Every rose bush and landscaped stoned was still intact where my dad had laboriously layed them down with his bare hands. It feels bittersweet, it feels like yesterday I was 17 packing my bags into my car. My dad had walked out, abandoned his duties in life completely and our house was foreclosed because there was no way I could figure out how to afford a 5 bedroom house on my own, no matter how hard I worked my minimum wage jobs. I’m grateful my aunt and uncle still have their house around the corner, it is the only sense of a home I’ve had in the past 10 years, where we still gather for Thanksgiving, and Dinners.
I pull up to their driveway as my aunt opens the front door with baby boy in one arm, baby girl throwing plastic balls everywhere out of her ball pen. She laughs because she knows how funny this image is. You wait your whole life working 16 hour days to retire and travel the world with your husband and surprise… Life happens. You’re committed to something at least until “the kids are bigger, or if only until summer” Whenever it becomes realistically possible again. The babies coo and drool, giggle and cry but my aunt and uncle answer to their every call, their eyes lighting up with love each time. How do they do it? I think to myself as I watch the dynamics unfold. But when I tell them about my upcoming move, they are all for it. Maybe it’s their current situation that magnifies the importance of living in the moment, but to my surprise, they tell me now more than ever is the time to go. A huge weight is lifted off my chest, suddenly a lot of the guilt dissipates… they actually understand?
One day I hope to have the capacity to live as selflessly as they have. I swear some parents are superheros in disguise, and not enough people credit that. Every where you go people come into your life to teach you lessons, to hurt you, to shape you, and leave footprints on your heart. Yes, part of me is filled with guilt and worry I’m giving up on a “normal life” Some might say how could I give up my lover, my job, clients, car, home, & jeopardize everything I’ve worked so hard to build? Those are all the thoughts I had too… but then I realized life is too short for, What If. I realized if my lover and I are meant to be together no 10,000 miles could keep us apart, that’s a bird I’m willing to let fly. I want to wake up and define my own happiness. To be infinitely okay with exactly where I am, of the mistakes I’ve made, and the way I spend my precious time.
What we keep forgetting is when we die the job, the car, home, all the material possesions and even people in our lives dont come with us. Only the memories do. Call it wreckless, nomadic, or downright crazy but I realized I don’t want to look back at my life and say why didnt I jeopardize more for my happiness?
We all define our happiness differently.
I just turned in the keys to my rental car, tomorrow I turn in the keys to my gym, and in 9 days when I depart California to my new adventure in Thailand I will turn in my house keys. For the first time in my life leaving me without a key to any doors in California…I’d be lying if it wasn’t a slightly scary feeling. All that I have is 3 suitcases with my belongings, and a plane ticket with about 10 Grand in assests to my name to last me. I’ve never been more nervous, or excited to risk it all at a chance of chasing my dreams of living abroad.
Call this jeopardy but I’ve signed up to be a Scuba Dive Instructor never having even gone diving before. For the next 8 months I will be living off a tiny little island, apart from a very comfortable life I’ve built here in the city and testing myself to live alone, learn a new trade, and living a different way of life. If you risk nothing you have nothing to lose, but also nothing to gain. By risking it all I understand what is at stake. But by no means do I want to get married out of conformity, just to say I’m a wife or mother when I haven’t even gotten to live for myself. The past year I’ve been torn apart with guilt for feeling this way, realizing recently that it’s okay to want to be selfish sometimes.