Saturday, 16 May 2015
It was the fall of 2014 when my muse handed me a book and told me to read it.
Yes, I have a muse. And yes, I know you think it's absurd. If you haven't acquired a muse, I highly recommend them. As Ferris Bueller would suggest, "They are so choice".
But everything that's collectively transpired for me in the last 6 months has been absurd, and like writing a blog or a memoir, will be open to criticism.
I'm not arrogant to assume my life is ever so adventurous and consequential that A) I deserve a muse and B) I deserve a memoir. But I calls'em like I sees'em.
It was fall, and Danni had handed me a book that we had discussed prior. I've always been attracted to minimalism. I tried it during my tenure as a husband of 14 years. Let me tell you, minimalism definitely conflicts when you have kids. As does marriage to a consumer whore.
We consume quite a bit. Here's a fucking clutter stat for you:
A) There are 300,000 items in the average home.
B) Home sizes have tripled in the past 50 years.
C)1 out of 10 Americans rent off storage facilities.
D) Average 10 year old owns 238 toys but plays with average of 12 daily. * This stat has a caveat attached as I owned more than 238 Star Wars figurines, Ships and Space Stations and EVERYONE OF THEM was integral to the macro storyline I had created.
E) Average American woman owns 30 outfits, one for everyday of the month. In the 1930's that figure was 9.
Okay, enough stats. The reasoning here is that consumerism isn't bad. Hell, I did it. I do it. But I accumulated a lot. I was a clothes whore. Let it be said, I don't look at anyone and think that their choices to buy and consume says anything about them. It doesn't. It just says a lot about me.
When I'm stressed, and I mean when my throat sinks into my stomach and it's twisted and bunched up in knots, that's my stress. What I've done in the past was treat the symptom and ignore the cause. Last several months when I've felt the need to implode, I've asked myself to hang onto the feeling I'm currently having and save it for another day. Why? The reasoning is to diagnose it after the dust settles. What causes my stress as opposed to what ailed it. Once I understand the issue that created that, it was about changing patterns and behaviours. To eliminate the unwelcome stress that plagues our lives, is a step towards happiness.
After married for 14 years and working through personal demons to let go of old thought patterns, bouts of depression and unhealthy decision making, I needed to make a life change.
It was December, and my attempt to downgrade my life was in effect. I was in need of a vacation and not sure as to what the answer was. As an Executive Chef, I have anxiety about leaving my job at anytime during the year. It's a siege only those in the industry ever understand.
I had a dream once about Belize. What I can only assume was Belize. When you have never travelled there, it's easy to confuse a Belizian palm tree for those of the Dominican Republic. The point is, when I awoke, the answer was provided to me. Belize.
There's only a couple bucket list destinations for me. Belize since that dream, topped that list. By complete fluke, my ex wife took it upon herself to find a website that offered good travelling packages. As she said in the email: "In case they ever have a Belize offer!" I searched that website that day, just for a lark. Of course the offer up for grabs was Belize.
Heart palpitations commenced. Surely I couldn't just pack up a backpack and take half a month off to do this. What about my responsibilities? I stared at the website for hours. Click to buy. Everything in my head said no. One word in my heart said yes. Enter the muse.
I have known Danni for several years now and I've never met a woman more easy going and aware of her life choices. Correct that. Human. It would be fair to suggest I liked Danni immediately. She's a go with the flow woman and I was always enthralled by her stories of travel with her girlfriend, Teags. Narration of backpacking into worlds of uncertainty and adventure reinvigorated the lost elements of me I cherished as a kid, but washed away as I got older.
Danni responds to my need to discuss heart versus head. Feelings versus Logic. Growing up with a collective group of women in my life tends to support that mentality. Hell, my best friend growing up was a girl.
Danni would walk by my office every once in awhile and check up to see if the trip was solidified. Click to Buy. There I was...still entranced. Not able to make a personal commitment to myself. I think even for her, watching a man at 40 years of age struggle in that capacity, was enough for her. She simply grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled a crude drawing on it and placed it in front of me. Today that crude drawing hangs on my wall as a reminder as to where I was to where I am. Always a visual man, the drawing did it. The reality is, the drawing, while it was poignant in approach, it was a friend like Danni who steered me outside of my fear of uncertainty and re-tapped into my love for going against the grain. To feed my need to explore and never stay still. I made the leap and purchased the ticket. A two week stint to fly to Central America with only what I could fit into a carry on back pack into a country I had very little knowledge about.
The story that follows will forever change my life.
"We sometimes have to put aside the things we think we are supposed to do, so we can do the things we are meant to do."