Friday, February 22, 2013

A Letter To You, My Friend


Dear Friend,

I wanted to share a few things with you. Some things that I think are worth saying.

Since the moment I decided to quit my job and sell my possessions in order to embark in a life full of travel and unknown territories, I've been hearing a reoccurring theme of statements from those around me: I wish I could do something like that. I wish I could travel. I wish I could go to Thailand...Rome...Bali...Barcelona...Paris. I wish. I wish. I wish.

Before this chapter happened in my life, before I decided to take the plunge, I was that girl that said, "I wish." I heard about people who just upped and traveled and I always thought how awesome that would be, but of course knew it was highly unlikely I could ever do anything like that. I mean, that's crazy talk! I have a job! I have responsibilities! Someone's got to pay the bills!
So I just wished instead. But to me, the word 'wish' signifies something unattainable. It's like saying, "I wish I could win the lottery." It'd be great if that happened, but it's so far fetched that I've accepted it probably won't happen in my life.


So at what point in my life did I switch over from The Wishing Girl to the Take Action Girl? Good question. I don't think it was necessarily an instant decision or a life-changing event that occurred. I think it was a string of events and a string of situations that brought me to that decision. I was working in an office job, doing the 9-5, sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen all day long. Most days, I would think about how much I didn't like the job I was in, but either couldn't come up with a better solution or was too comfortable to make any drastic changes.

I'd constantly ask myself, "Is this it? Is this the kind of career I'm going to have until I retire at 65?" Maybe it wouldn't be that exact company forever, but it'd be something similar. Something that made me feel like I wasn't challenged, I wasn't excited, and that it didn't bring significant purpose to my life. But like the rest of America, I was comfortable. Plus, I was content enough with my life outside of work that I didn't do anything about my overall situation. I would put in my 8 hours a day, then I'd come home to friends, family, and a loving boyfriend to infuse some excitement into my life. I convinced myself that the majority of people have a similar situation and I should just be thankful that I have a job and roof over my head and quit my complaining.

However, after several years of living that life, I couldn't ignore those nagging thoughts of "But why? Why should you have to settle for 'the norm'? Why can't you just go do something that really makes you happy? What's the purpose of this life if you can't be excited about it? Do you really want to spend the next 40 years of your life going through a mediocre routine?"

The answer? No. Absolutely not.


And that's when I started to toy with the idea of traveling. Quitting my job, selling my things, and just buying a one-way ticket to anywherebuthere. I rationalized with myself that I was an educated individual with 8 years of working experience and if all else failed, I could always come back to XYZ city of America and jump right back in to that familiar office routine. Funny enough, that rationalization brought comfort to me. Knowing that my current life, my current surroundings, and my current routine would always be there gave me enough courage to leave it all. Having a willing partner in the same boat as you certainly didn't hurt either.


As I'm getting older, I'm learning more just how precious this life is. Just how short it is. Just how uncertain it is. A friend of my brothers, not even 30 years old, died a few months ago from an apparent, and very surprising, drug overdose. A few weeks ago, my friend's brand new baby only got to live for 5 hours after he was born due to unexpected heart failure. A blogger friend my age lost her mama to cancer less than a week ago. And I'm not writing this to create feelings of sadness in you, I'm writing this to further express my support for the cliched statement of: Life is Short.

I have no idea how long I'm going to live. I could grow to be an old woman of 103. Or, I could die next week in a random freak accident. Point is, I just don't know. I also have no idea what's going to happen after I die. Like I said: uncertainty. But what I do know is that whatever time I have here on this Earth, in this life of mine, however long or short, I want to fill it with positivity, love, and happiness.


The kind of happiness that makes you smile from deep down. The kind of happiness that you can honestly say, "If I died tomorrow, I'd die a happy person." Happiness can be different for everyone. Right now, my happiness is traveling with my love. Next month, happiness could mean having a place to call home with him. It could mean taking that photography class I've always wanted to but was too timid or busy. Several years from now, happiness could be creating life and watching him or her grow. Who knows. But I welcome it all.

I think my point for writing this post is to encourage you to remember that there is no right or wrong way to be happy. I want to challenge you to ask yourself what you really want out of this short life we have. I want to support you in taking that courageous leap towards whatever happiness means to you. To push you to never settle. To ask questions. To seek answers.

That's all I've got, friend. Thanks for listening.

 It just started raining, so I'm going to go outside, sit next to my man, and soak it in. :)


xoxo

Love,
Me


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37 comments:

  1. I'm getting there... From a wisher to an actioner... *fist pump*

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  2. You're such a stepping stone to positivity :)

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  3. Such beautiful words. I lost my father in 2008 and that is what pushed us to move out of the USA finally because life is short. Make every day memorable is my unspoken motto. Live for the experiences. Thank you for sharing, I love seeing your photos.

    Bonnie Rose | The Compass Rose

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  4. Amazing post! My husband says he wants to go traveling and I'm the one that says "I WISH we could! But what about jobs? Money? Our house?" This may have put things into perspective for me!
    I love reading about your travels! I'm glad this life changing experience is so positive and exciting for you!

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  5. Amazing post, honestly so well written. I just about died at the photo of you and the gibbon. omg how amazing and just so fricking CUTE!! what was he like?! I am just about to go on an adventure to california on Monday and I'm just soooo excited!! Its only for two weeks, but for now it will do!! :D I love reading about your adventures! Brilliant post and so inspirational <3

    Jen xxx

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  6. Love this post. So true. I think we tend to focus on the things that are making other people happy. Wishing we could be as happy as them. When in reality, if we actually stopped looking at others and looked at what made ourselves happy, we'd learn that we could actually be as happy or happier than the people around us.

    Good inspiration for this Friday morning! Thanks :)

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  7. Thank you, my daughter. You are a wise woman and a woman of action. Such an inspiration to me. I love you more than I can say.

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  8. You rock! Thank you for writing this. I feel like I need to share this. Everyone needs to read it! Thanks for the inspiration lady.

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  9. well said. And I think that's truly important to note that happiness really is different for everyone and we need to accept each person's version of it.

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  10. this is lovely. and it extends to more than travel. whether it's switching jobs, totally changing careers, choosing to not work and stay home with kids. anything that is not the status quo is so scary to try, but we were put here on earth to live great lives, so we have to do things that stretch us and make us grow into the people we are meant to be.

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  11. I absolutely love this post and all of it so true. You only have one life so you better live it to the fullest. :) Hugs!!

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  12. You stole my thoughts right out of my head! Can't wait to act on those thoughts!

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  13. Gorgeous letter! Currently happily committed to the at-home life with wee twins, rather than "wish" for something else, I love to watch you others go for it. I know that some day my time will come to do ... whatever it is that's out of it. Your travel tales and pictures, and those of others, are like my appetizers ;-) Keep on postin'!

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  14. I realize we've never met in real life...but I sure do love you!

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  15. Love you, girl. Amen to everything you said.

    xo

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  16. Ah!! Loved this post!! My Hubby and I have been toying with the idea of traveling, thanks to y'all! It takes courage to not be the "I wish" girl anymore. Love the adventures and memories you two are making. Xoxo

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  17. Thanks for reminding all of us that life is certainly short! Glad you are enjoying your travel, freedom, and time with your love!

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  18. Mish, you are AMAZING! Thank you for these words. We've talked about this, but my mom...she kills me..."why can't you just go travel for a couple weeks and then come home?" Because 1. I have 30 years until I retire and sitting at a desk sucks, and 2. my heart says travel...so I will! Sept. 2014, Barcelona will be MINE! :)

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  19. Absolutely loved this post. So inspiring and well written and so much of this resonates with me. Thank you for sharing!

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  20. loved reading this post. so thoughtful and beautiful.
    xo,
    nancy

    http://adoretoadorn.blogspot.com

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  21. I just emailed this post to my best friend who is feeling the 9-5 routine blues, but is too *something* to give it all up and travel. I honestly feel like when I did exactly what you did a year ago--sell it all and just go--it was the best decision I've ever made. Now that I'm back home, in a routine, I'm wondering once again, "Why didn't I just keep traveling? Why did I come back so soon?" Keep livin it up!

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  22. found your blog through messy.dirty.hair. and i love it!! makes me want to travel!!
    xoxo~melis
    milarosedesigns.blogspot.com

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  23. Beautiful post...you're amazing for having the guts to be the action kind of girl!!

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  24. How wonderful to read this. Sent via FB but one of your former teachers who says you "are quite wise". So true. I am seventy, and although I didn't travel round the world with my love till last year (it was great, btw), I have lived knowing that life is short. At age 50, I left a very secure job on the east coast, to come to San Francisco. What a wonderful adventure this time has been. And now, at 70, I'm wondering what next. What do I do with this next part of my very short life! Your spirit and commitment to living fully TODAY, are a great inspiration. Thank you! (and thank you Lisa for introducing us!)

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  25. You are so right! Life is WAY too short! While I am jealous of your travels I know it will happen for me as well. Right now might not be the time but will be in my/our future. I just know it:)

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  26. Hey Michelle, I love this. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you could only wish things to happen but that it could never be you. I've felt that way a lot in my life. I've definitely thought a lot about how to take charge of your own life and make things happen. This is a great post!!

    p.s. I hope the 70 year old who wrote above me likes girly men and toilet talk!! :)

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  27. This is it. This is exactly it. To allow yourself the freedom to follow that wish and turn it into a goal and turn that into an action is something that so sadly eludes too many people. I was actually just having a conversation with a new acquaintance last night about something similar to this. She was saying how she missed so much about her life in Annapolis but that she knew she "needed" to be in Connecticut right now (which, fair enough, she's in school so at the moment she does need to be here, but she was talking longer-term too) but that she'd give anything to go back to Annapolis. I told her to go. If she felt that that "home" was calling her back, to listen! That's what I did with Portland and if I'd ignored that urge, I don't know what or where I'd be right now. Ready, fire, aim. Just DO it.

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  28. This post makes me wanna cry. Of joy for you and of how badly I needed to read this. Not to sound like downer, I love reading about ALL your adventures. Thanks for posting this friend, I needed it.

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  29. hands down my favorite post yet. way to go.

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  30. Wow. This post is so inspiring. I've found that for the good part of my adult life, I've thought, "I wish..." and I've never known of anyone who was a dreamer (like me) and actually went through with it. I love your blogs. It's really making me question what exactly is holding me back.

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  31. All I have to say is that I absolutely love this & really needed to read this today!

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  32. You tell 'em, girl! (And by "em" I mean us!)
    You are so right and I do envy all the bloggers who just jump in and do it. Right now I am in the home buying/baby making stage of life but I kind of hope I can figure out a way to be in the "travel the world" stage in a few years. :)
    In the meantime... I've got you and a bunch of other RTW travel blogs to follow and love through vicariously!

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  33. Life IS short, isn't it? Good for you guys!

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