I had a session with a spiritual advisor once, and almost immediately she told me my life’s ruling value is FREEDOM. As she said it my mind started flipping through memories of decisions I’d made – many of them of the spontaneous variety – based on my need to feel free. Her statement that day neither changed me nor taught me something I didn’t inherently know, but it made me more aware and even less encumbered than I was before. Knowing how deeply I appreciate my freedom made me… well, more free.
Speaking of, I’ve been back in the States since October and up until a few days ago I was borrowing cars, bumming rides, taking the bus or just sitting my ass at home. Not having a car in Europe was easy. Not having a car in Texas is crippling. The fact I couldn’t just “go” had me feeling suffocated. So, you can imagine the supreme joy I felt on Thursday afternoon driving MY car away from the dealership. I sat in the driveway for two hours reading manuals, pushing buttons, adjusting seats and mirrors, investigating cool features and resetting terrestrial and satellite radio stations. I felt like a teenager again sitting in my own car for the very first time. I was giddy experiencing that thrill again at 37.
For the past few weeks as I’ve car shopped, I’ve also planned a road trip to California. Just me with my car packed to the gills on the open road for five days. In a few weeks I’ll leave Austin again. I’ll stop at the ranch in west Texas to say good-bye to my family, explore Santa Fe, New Mexico, enjoy a hike and the sun setting on the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Once I make it to California, I’ll visit the Sanregret’s in Santa Barbara, and then take CA-1 to Monterey trying to keep myself from stopping the car a thousand times to take pictures. I figure almost five hours of windy roads and hairpin turns will be plenty for me so I’ll venture to the highway and kick up the pace as I cruise to northern California where I’ll start my next chapter.
I plan on starting my dream job by April. The one where I get paid to be me in one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on Earth. I feel lucky, grateful and thankful even in the uncertainty of it all.
To be honest, new chapters and fresh starts are one of my favorite things in the world. I can’t tell you what it’s going to look like or how it will end, but that’s the best part of living an unencumbered life – anticipating the outcome, while savoring the waiting.
Each of our lives is a book writing itself. I choose to live like I’m the heroine of my own life’s memoir. When I reach inevitable forks in my journey I always ask myself, “If you were reading this book, what would you want the heroine to do?” And then I choose the path that both frightens and excites me and reminds me I am free to live a bold and boisterous life.
“Freedom lies in being bold.” –Robert Frost