Life is such a crazy exploration. And today I just felt like scribbling out a few thoughts about it.
I'm getting ready to move to Asheville, North Carolina in just a few days. This time last year I was just arriving in Colorado for the sort of 'first' adventure that, even then, I kind of just knew would lead to many more.
I decided this summer that Asheville would be my next move, while I was in Colorado and thinking about what I wanted to do next. I wanted to see another part of the country, of course. Live somewhere I never had. Continue seeking new things that would inspire me more.
Everybody comes to crossroads at all different times in life, where we have to choose a direction. Maybe it looks like the commitment to a new way of living. Maybe to a new way of thinking- or maybe to both.
Maybe it's a crossroads in relation to a job, a relationship, a friendship, a move, a career, or life in general. That's the whole experience I guess: you're either traveling in a direction, or changing it and going a different way. Maybe (hopefully) staying grounded in some things, while untethering from those which either don't serve you, or aren't inducing growth.
I feel like when I'm fifty, I'll look back on my decision to move to Colorado as a point where I changed and moved a different way. I can kind of see it now, the decision as a turning point, but it's one of those things that my storytelling brain predicts will mean a lot more for the effects of my future than I can even really see right at this moment. I don't know why. It's just an intuition.
It's funny how certain life experiences do that. They mark a 'before and after.' Some in really profound ways, some in ways more subtle, some in ways you don't even notice at first, but they happen to all of us. The job we decided to quit, or get; the dream we decided to chase- or abandon; the relationship we decided to leave, or enter into; the new existence we attempted to create. We're free to avoid choosing to change, but we're not free from the consequences of what we choose. With every decision we make (or don't make), we pick the life we want.
I'm learning that these seasons happen over and over- these spans of impermanence and movement, waiting and changing- and yet nothing happens the same way twice. The super-expectant feelings and highly emotional goodbyes that marked leaving my life in Illinois a year ago are different now. I'm different now too, of course; lots of things are. Change is always change but it's always somehow different.
And I have to admit, the more I do it, the more it makes the temptation to just stop and settle a little stronger. It's not easy to say goodbye to people, or always be heading into the unknown, or to really live by the axiom that no real reason to stay is a good reason to leave. I mean, there's always some good reason to stay, I suppose, but it might just not be a reason that really expands me.
And I've always been the type of soul to keep looking for expansion- which actually often takes the form of being obedient, diligent, and patient; staying when it's time to stay and leaving when it's time to go, I guess. There's nothing right or wrong about any particular kind of existence, lifestyle, relationship, job, etc., but there's something hard, in a way that matures you, about figuring out the kind that's right for you, the kind that really betters who you are.
And the more aware of you you get, the harder- and more beautiful- things become. You begin to realize you yourself are wired for something in particular: your personality, your intuitions, your own voice; the things you love and are drawn to; these little nuances of who you are all imply a purpose for your life. I think we all realize it, and all feel it: those desires, those longings in us, that point to something.
To want to expand is a beautiful thing. To want to grow, change, take a leap of faith; to gamble on life or love, in a brave way; to become strong in yourself, in both a bold and delicate way; to dig in; to feel what life gives you; to have the courage to believe that all those little pulls on your heart that point to what you think matters actually do matter.
When you are a craver of more- more adventure, more aliveness, more unknown, more development, more spirit, more of the things you're often sold just the opposite of- I think life can seem hard sometimes because you're sort of swimming upstream- and in a different direction- which anyone who wants this creative, meaningful life can relate to, I think.
And maybe it's because I'm packing again, moving again; saying different goodbyes in different ways and emotionally expanding and contracting in new ways all over again in this season, but I have also learned that amidst change is an anchor, and amidst expansion there is always the awareness of a root.
That's becoming more and more important as I grow. Growing is different than scattering, or moving unintentionally, or just merely changing. Growth suggests a root: some kind of foundation beneath it all that generates and directs the movement into something bigger, for something bigger. It's important. It points to something going on inside.
I'd like to think my twenties have been spent planting, and cultivating that root that gives direction: growing in maturity (some years doing better than others), growing in character, growing in decision-making and trust. Making those moves that are simultaneously beautiful and bittersweet with as much grace, acceptance for what has happened, and open handedness for what will as possible.
It's beautiful and hard. But I truly do have unwavering hope that there is a reason and a purpose in it all, not just for my own life but perhaps in others'. We invigorate those around us by being invigorated ourselves; we teach others only by example; we impact the world by being alive ourselves. And I think that can happen on levels small and grand.
For now all I know is that I can only go, and keep going.