(or how I grew tired of playing nice)
This piece leaves little room for niceties and you don’t have to deal with it, though you can leave a comment at the end. Just sayin.
We just got a car, packed our most important belongings and left the country, heading south. With only a general idea of what was waiting for us, because, who knows really? We went ahead and kind of shocked everyone close to us. You see, we are those who just can’t seem to stick to one place for too long and we never considered one place as our home really, well, not for the rest of our lives.
Never could understand people who can live their whole lives in the same place, be born there and die there, never going anywhere. Don’t get me wrong now, trying very hard not to judge, just can’t get my head wrapped around it. How can you not, especially in this day and age, long to see more of the world? I know, everybody’s different and maybe we’re the actual ones that are too different in some ways. It’s not that I don’t savor safety, I like security as much as the next person, but does it really has to rule out some adventure?
An outcast, that’s how I felt sometimes. Dramatic? Maybe, but feelings can’t be swiped under a rug by just using words like: ‘Oh, but I really didn’t mean it that way’. I felt it that way. I was the proverbial black sheep and now my family shared about the same honor. Not that the kids were held responsible of course, it was us, the parents. This, at least, was realistic.
We talked about it, and talked about it some more. It still baffles me, some people seemed to think we just woke up one day and decided to leave. Now THAT would be shocking and who knows, something like that might still happen at one point. And still we talked some more, kids included in the conversation. In truth it took months to finally tie the knot and trust me I know, some people will take years to come to the same decision. Time. It’s about the only thing that will pass, No Matter What.
Was I afraid? Well, yeah, though I don’t like that particular description. Apprehensive, yeah, that would be a more fitting one. There are times in life, being afraid, or at least being very cautious, is useful to keep you on your toes. Stay aware of what is happening around you, you know what I mean. The adrenaline that flows through your veins keeps you awake and alert. Once that dies down you might go into shock and you just collapse, either bodily, mentally, or both. Yes, I was apprehensive for sure.
It’s one thing to go up your life and leave for the horizon if it’s just you and you’re partner. It’s a different thing altogether when young kids are involved. Oh, we were under fire alright. But we had a plan and yes, that plan definitely included God. Some would call us religiously insane, hah. If you have ever read even a part of the Bible, you might say the same of the people mentioned in there: Insane, unbelievable things happened. But we had a plan and that was about all we had. Money was tight, but expectations were high and dreams are meant to be chased.
It was more than a dream, it was a vision. If you never had a vision about where your life is headed, I feel sorry for you, no offense, but you don’t really believe life has no real meaning and goal do you? I don’t care what or who you believe in, but if you think this is it and dying is the end… Shouldn’t that even be more of an incentive to freaking make something out of it? Heck if it feels I am preaching, don’t just take my word for it, you should figure that one out for yourself if you haven’t already.
The car of our dreams, that’s what we were driving, not new, not by a long shot, but it was a gift that settled it for us. Spacy enough to carry along a small household worth of stuff we might need to make it through the first weeks. There’s nothing quite like driving away from your old life and leaving it all behind, especially if that old life doesn’t seem to suit anymore. After months of deliberating and playing the devil’s advocate, it was nothing short of liberating, to finally put our words into actions.
How could we have explained it better to the people around us, I really don’t know. You’d think words are my forte, and believe me, they served me right so many times. But how do you explain you’re following a vision when all people see are the trouble you’ll most certainly get yourself into? Smart people just don’t do stuff like that you know. Right. I just came to one astounding realization: People wanted me to be average, as in, easy to handle. I am so glad I never lived up to their expectations. So call me stubborn.
It wasn’t the first time we packed up and left and this most likely didn’t help matters much. So, shouldn’t they be expecting similar actions by now? But again, they only saw all the ‘negative’ things coming forth from our decisions. Did we do everything right? Hah, now that would have been amazing! But at least we did it and we lived to learn. However, the things our environment perceived as ‘mistakes’ and, ultimately ‘failure’, were not how we experienced things.
You could throw in the argument that people who cared for us, were concerned for our well being and that our decisions might have hurt them. Sure. Not going to object that, other than by saying: I am not living my life just to please others and I am not making decisions to purposefully hurt others either. That’s a fine balance right there. Only takes about a lifetime to figure out how to cope with it, right? I’ve been exhausting myself, trying to take the middle way so many times, coming to the same conclusion every time: it doesn’t work like that. OR, it might work, if you’re willing to completely take your own wants and needs out of the equation. Yeah, play dead will ya.
I’ve only recently found out something interesting about black sheep, maybe you know this already, it certainly made a lot of sense hearing it: Black sheep weren’t appreciated, because their wool would not generate the same amount of money as did the other sheep. Huh. Talking about not being average. It wasn’t only in my mind either. Aah well, I am glad I lived up to that expectation in the end. By now I wear it with pride, maybe a little too much of it too.
On the road we felt free. Free of all the noise that tried to clog our minds by constantly buzzing around us. Openminded and anticipating the road ahead, in more ways than one. We got ‘stuck’ a couple of times and had to stay put in the same place for a couple of days, before being able to resume our trip. The things we saw and learned every day… They might seems trivial to any other person, but nobody can teach you stuff like that.
One of those times, we just had to make a stop at the side of the road to admire the starry sky. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen and which most people might only see in pictures from the other side of this planet. The night was pitch black and we stepped outside the car to take some time to look up: it literally felt as if we stepped right into the galaxy and became a part of it. I felt weightless, miniscule and as if I was floating around in between the stars. It was almost scary, the way it overwhelmed me. See, there are no words to justify the real experience and if there’s one thing I’d wish to come true, is to space travel. Call me a dreamer.
So yes, we basically lived in / from, our car. I could try to explain the way the intimacy worked wonders for our little family, but if you like to go for a drive with your loved ones, you just have to multiply that feeling a gazillion times. We only had each other to depend on – now I wouldn’t want to rule out God – and it’s something we learned to deeply appreciate. Circumstances weren’t easy, but we learned to deal with it. There’s no use in complaining about missing certain luxuries, when you are almost painfully aware, you already got the most important things in life, which money can’t buy. Leaving isn’t that hard in the end, when you finally realize, you feel like you already lost everything of value, worth staying for.
Another time we got stuck, things got tight when dinner time arrived. At that point we built our own sort of routine and cooking was done on one of those little camping cookers, which worked perfectly. Provided there was something to cook, which was a bit of a thing that day. It took finding a 10 eurocent coin, making the difference between plain rice and something a little more nice. (I know, that isn’t proper grammar, I don’t care).
Let’s get one thing straight: we were not piteous in any way, we chose this way, we dealt with it one way or another. We lived to learn, We Lived. We Learned. We Grew. We were born in a rich country, where everything seems to be possible and poverty isn’t ruling the land – though it has gotten worse lately. If there’s one thing we needed to realize and become aware of, it’s that this isn’t how the majority of the world population is able to live. We still felt rich and as soon as there was some money to spend, we would get some groceries, divide them over little bags and hand them out to some homeless people in our vicinity. Just a tiny drop of humanity, but it felt good and it was a small part of our vision.
We learned to live with less. You can fill it in yourself, whatever you consider to be normal – read: available – on a daily bases… It certainly helps to cut down in the complaining department and starts to put your life in perspective. Bonus points will be gained in starting to truly appreciate what you do have. You might say: ‘All clichés my dear, I already know that, without going through this self-imposed suffering’. Well how good of you! You can redeem your bonus points at any given time at any opportunity, where your unconditional love and charity is needed.
We never had any real struggles with raising our children, but I can assure you, this is where most of their sensibility and sense of responsibility and value, comes from. And believe me, we have been accused of abusing our children for ‘putting them through this unnecessarily’. I will leave judgement to anyone who feels they have the right to throw that first stone. Just grant me the respect to do it to my face.
Has my sarcasm gotten to you yet? Then maybe we should adjourn this session until further notice. Ok Bye.
To be Continued