I get that question a lot. Do you? ‘Now that you’re in San Diego, now what?’ ‘Are you staying?’ ‘For how long?’ ‘Are you working?’ ‘Where are you going next?’ “When are you coming home?’ ‘Are you going to Australia?’ ‘What are you doing?’ Oh my!
My mom often told me I was ‘the grass is always greener’ kind of kid, so I thought I was. I was distraught when sleep away camp ended having to sleep alone in my room without the chatter of fellow bunkmates to lure me to sleep. I would go on holidays and then pine for about three weeks when I returned to ‘real life’. One of my friends, who I traveled with often to those beach resort destinations, told me I’d pine less if I got my own apartment. Well, I did (and it was on the beach and everything), and I still despised that return to ‘real life’.
At some point I made the decision, but I don’t think it was ever a conscious one. Logically, I knew that a one-week all-inclusive stay at Club Med was not ‘real life’, but still, I missed it when I got home. I’m sure leaving the palm trees, well-worn beach chairs and full-service buffet had something to do with it, but for some reason, I don’t believe that’s what it was. Now, I’m even more certain that was not the case.
Don’t get me wrong, the palm trees and not having to do any chores for a week were missed, but it wasn’t that. I yearned for the less structure, less pressure, more no worries attitude at the core of my day. I was searching for a way to build a life from which I wouldn’t spend years waiting to retire, but instead, invigorated by each new project. I wanted a way to build the holiday into the everyday and have those moments that make that holiday memorable, more profound and even more frequent. Trust me, not for one minute, did I take for granted all of the built in holiday time that I got as a teacher. Knowing that there was a break coming in the future for which I could plan an escape helped me plough through those hard New York winters. But now what?
I’m finding that we’re doing more to pine less and live more. That ‘holiday all the time’ attitude is less about where you are and more about how you live. Yes, of course, if we can decide when to roll out of bed each morning and work in our pajamas from a hammock tied in between two palm trees while staring out at the ocean, we can agree it’s a pretty fabulous work environment sort of day, but I know now it’s not all about that. It’s about choices and attitudes, time and people, connections and moments and the little things. Somehow choosing your own path is involved, but it’s not always about making big waves.
I love finding, connecting with and talking to people who manage to change their stars and switch directions in life. Those who have made a shift and carved out something that works for them. Maybe they housesit around the world and homeschool their kids. Perhaps they live in an Airstream and road-school across continents. Maybe they live somewhere for months or years exploring surrounds connecting with people, thereby creating their own family and community. Perhaps they’ve stayed in the same place but sculpted a lifestyle they’re now happy with allowing for time, commitments, and people and are more able to work to live instead of living to work. Whatever it is, they’ve found that balance or are in search, just like us.
Every yoga teacher I’ve ever encountered tells you it’s more than okay to modify poses. They say things like, ‘listen to your body’, ‘be you’ and ‘connect’. Maybe it’s the yoga or southern California’s excess Vitamin D, but it’s working and I get it. Perhaps we’ll continue to explore our surroundings here for a while. Perhaps we’ll take another epic road trip back across the northern route of the US. Perhaps we’ll take off for months and travel the trips I keep planning in my head. I don’t know. But I know for certain that it’s okay to try to change your stars and it’s even more okay not to know what’s next.