I’ve gone through this motion several times now, but never to this extent.
Sure I’ve gotten rid of furniture and acquired new stuff upon returning to Canada – almost cyclically – but this time it’s different. I’m taking the plunge and selling everything.
I’m bombarded with questions as to what I’m doing and where I’m going by almost everyone, curious as to why I’m relinquishing even my most treasured possessions. The truth is I made my best effort to make roots and establish myself in the city where I was born. It’s easy, boring, cold, and comfortable. And the comfort gives way to a much stranger feeling: the stifling lack of culture.
Culture can be defined as the ‘personality’ or behaviour of a city or place, marked by the arts and collective attitude that permeates the industries of food, entertainment, money, and so much more. The culture of this city has left me questioning my own standards of what I want and who I am, and while I’ve asked these questions to myself a million times a very truthful notion always reminds me that it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to change your habits (aka way of life) if you are stuck in the same environment where these things became ingrained.
Your environment is made up of where you live, what kind of people you spend your time with, your workplace or your career, the food you eat and how you eat it, the activities you partake in, and what you do with available time. For me, most of these things have left me depressed and aimless. I’m not blaming any of these spheres of life, but habit is one of the strongest forces on earth as the brain is wired to make short cuts to make things easier for itself. Your daily routines and quirks are changeable with a very conscious effort and repetitive motions, and it’s much easier to do that not in whatever environment ‘helped’ you create the negative ones. Culture and environment are intrinsically linked and you can either adapt for better or worse.
[Of course I generally have good interactions and experiences. I have family and friends I consider family who live here, who are now making families of their own and I don’t take the position of being away from them lightly. I do, however, thank the technology overlords for their advances in the modern age of screen-staring, a very obvious solution to the problem of distance.]
Currently my life where I am and what I’m doing do not align with the ideas and culture that I value in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms so I’m changing it drastically. It’s plenty of work and will take several steps to get there but for the first time in a long time I’m showing myself the love I’ve needed all these years.
I can’t worry about what people will think either, and surprising side effects include:
- Understanding the ebb and flow of human interactions and that not all of them are continuously beneficial to growth, i.e. learning to let go of people with cynical and judgemental attitudes about personal growth no matter what form it takes
- Giving up attitudes of judgement myself have helped me see other people struggling in different lights. We typically always ask “what are you doing?” or “what are you going to do?” when sometimes the question should be “HOW are you doing?” because yes, it’s great to do things and make a difference and take pride in successes whatever they may be, but if I feel like I’m suffocating under the pressure of doing enough to impress people, am I really going to be successful? If I’m being analyzed by my perceived lack of success in favour of disregarding me as a being who exists with nothing more than what I should aspire to, what does that achieve?
Success is not just measured by what you acquire financially, in the workplace, or certain social spheres. While all of those things can be extremely relevant – it is your life after all – success can equally be measured by what fears you’ve overcome or how you’ve developed your character.
My potential to be great is in the eye of the beholder, but if we can’t live up to particular expectations or feel like current judgements are snuffing the confidence so desperately needed to get out of a rut, how will we establish a sense of community that people actually want to reside in over a sense of individualism? It’s much more productive to elevate and encourage one another in pursuit of what we dare to do than it is to criticize what we don’t understand might be the best course of action for that person. And for me, travel is a key component to my own cultivation.
Travel is a privilege, and I have to treat it accordingly (more on that later); it’s seemingly selfish, for it hints that I am the only factor in this whole process. But what good am I to any community if I’m not operating in the capacity I’m potentially capable of? I’m privileged enough to relocate to better myself so why wouldn’t I take that opportunity? And I’m not made of money either so the question remains: How?
What propelled me forward was just deciding. It also helped that literally every part of my life was failing, a very important indicator that I needed to drastically change. I had read the same scenario over and over in my previous journals, and part of being stuck in the proverbial mire the past few months was my indecision. I concluded that for me to live my best and more present life, I would have to untether myself from my belongings…
…so I did.
Selling my stuff was surprisingly easy and I don’t even miss it. I’m talking furniture, dishes, beautiful vintage pieces, clothing, and items of sentimental value. And now I’m living with my mother before I leave for Tel Aviv again in a tiny frozen room with a bed the width of a cot and I don’t even mind, for I know I’m on my path.
My attitude has changed for the better, too, ever since making the decision that I wanted to guide my life in a direction that was valuable to me. Your friends, family, and coworkers will either support you, offer advice, or criticise and the best way to take all that is to treat it the same. Keep your short-term goals in mind, but don’t take personally the chatter aimed your way. People are quick to bog you down with ‘what ifs’ and I’m telling you that if you have found something that you know will change you for the better, even if it ends up in you coming home or your plans changing 5 times, you will not be mad at an experience that you at least tried to do or have. But do your best to go beyond trying. Try and then keep doing. Keep marching forward and take your setbacks in stride. Be adaptable.
You are the designer of your life and if you get inspired by something don’t just sit on it, run with it and I assure you every other positive thing will follow. Dissolve the idea that money is equal to freedom (though it certainly does help, hence my purge). Change what you consider valuable. Eradicate the judgement against yourself and against others and your world will be so much more open, lively, and meaningful.