Many weeks ago, I stuffed my car tetris-style with furniture and boxes. As I drove out of Pittsburgh, leaving behind the citizenship of that city, it dawned on me that I was officially transitioning out of an epoch of life. Not a period or a chapter, but a whole lifestyle and mindset.
The first one was birth through high school. It’s a conglomerate blur to me.
The second consists mostly of college, some time before it, and some time after it.
But during neither of these periods did I live consciously. Life happened to me.
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” — EL Doctorow
I quit the coveted post-college job; I left my amazing apartment 10 minutes from Downtown; I’ve let go of (one) of my beloved Ikea Expedit bookcases…
A major part of the reason I changed everything was to learn how to happen to life*.
We are agents in a universe otherwise perfectly content to sit back and let nature play out.
It is intimidating to confront nature.
When I leave the confines of this café where I type, I have challenged myself to go be. Like writing, living can also be like driving at night in the fog.
Earlier this week, I drove out of the 10-day seclusion of a meditation course and right back into a life I have missed. The course was an engaging experience (more posts to come), and it proved to me I cannot return to a life less lived. That course is the conclusion of this transition.
The nice thing about moving into a new epoch is the vantage point. You see the faults and triumphs in the identity you shed.
College was a mental mess, but exponentially worthwhile. The friends, loves, and hates of Pittsburgh pinged against my identity, melding me closer to whom I felt I was within. That ex-job was ultimately a testing ground for my beliefs, values, and desires; it was an incubator, eventually pressuring me to own up to how I want to live.
And whom I want to be. My ideal identity was a I role I did not perform well; admittedly, it is easier now in these words than in person. But even these words were impossible six months ago. When life happened to me.
To be frank, the more I happen to life, the more it flows around me in opportune ways. It is, often, stunning.
A month and some days later, it’s just a start, but it’s so different. In a hometown I never envisioned returning to, I’ve found old friends, bird-chirping mornings, creative outlets… After a roadtrip across the country, Los Angeles now whispers to me for the return of my heart; after a return to meditation, the Dharma calls me to follow its path.
There comes a fork in life where Should meets Must.
Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. … when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place. — "The Crossroads of Should and Must" by Elle Luna
I chose this; I enacted a decision. It is no longer a dream.
It’s now an occurrence in the Universe.
Authenticity is honesty in action.
Life is dream in action.
*Speaking of happening to life, did you know I wrote a second book? No, because neither did I! I had forgotten about the sequel to OSWIN until this week. I re-opened the long lost file and read the final lines; my own work brings me chills.
The headlights were off for a while…