The moment you first found love. Not the type resonant from birth in your mother or brother or aunt, but that single moment where it was apparent that you cared about someone else outside of your bloodline so deeply that nothing else in this world could matter.
When, for me it was a woman named Renée, you realize that without her, no matter what you accomplish, no matter how great the feat, you will never be able to say you’ve achieved perfection having come short of her claim.
You will aspire to a greatness beyond what you previously would have been capable. While desiring her, you will work so hard at fulfilling that emptiness nothing that your other achievements will soar. You will, however, be broken, perpetually in pain.
And so I was.
Until she, after years of ambiguity, told me not only where she lived but similarly provided her desire for my visitation.
It was hard work convincing her to hop into a 1978 Volkswagen Bus with my then 9 year old son and I. To belay the enchantment of living so simply, so truly free and outside of society like that, is no easy task. But for the woman you love, there is is no task too difficult.
And so we drove down redwood canyons along far west ocean tides, butted up against the sharpest needle heat the deserts could produce and made 500 miles of Texas on only three cylinders. We froze on mountaintops and lost our wallets on manatee river banks. We saw the sun rise over Florida as we saw it set on Washington. Time was fleeting and endless.
The reality of living your dream is so much more obtainable than anyone of us tend to think. We get so hung up in the daily routines that we forget that we’re the ones who established them in the first place. Driving across the country from coast to coast is no more difficult or unobtainable than going to work. Both involve a commitment of decisions and while one seems like the outcome will result in providing a paycheck for living…well, what is that paycheck worth if living is just surviving.
I was once a candidate for normalcy. I had an office, the 9-5, I was frustrated with the ridiculousness of company policy and 0.3% yearly pay raises. And then a few good souls came along and helped me realize that no lifestyle is out of reach. I was a graphic designer at an obscure television station in nowhere, Pennsylvania. I had a child, a mortgage. I firmly believed I was stuck. Then Renee showed up, again, and recounted a tale of backpacking through Europe. I was astounded by
her beauty only second to her adventurous spirit.
I would never be the same. I transferred the skills I had into mobile ones, ie, web design, and decided to determine my own fate. I became successful at what I did because I was passionate about what it could provide me. I began to actually live my dream. Just writing that sounds a bit cheesy, but there’s really no other way to put it.
The focal point here is that I had desires, and I made specific decisions about how my life would be lead so that I could obtain those desires. Make them my own reality. Whether it was travel or love, whether the seemingly insurmountable was raising a child or seeking the attentions of a particular woman or discovering how to earn a paycheck sans solitary location, each and every one of those was but a series of processes away from being overcome.
And it has not been all harmony and downhill rose petaled walkways. Times are tough on the road just as they are in any life. Relationships strain, there are finances to worry about, it rains on your parade here and there. But you are free to your own devices. There is absolutely no one to blame in the world for your misfortunes other than yourself and Mother Nature. Nor anyone else to truly thank.
That is what Renee taught me, and what she continues to be for me throughout my life.
And I wish nothing but the same for anyone else who might have just such a New Year’s wish.