As I was following my morning ritual (catching up on the various “news” of the day) I came across this article:
Thought-Provoking Photographs Of People Living Alone In The Wilderness
This quote pretty much sums up my life over the past 25 years.
Tkachenko’s work raises questions about what identity truly means when we are forced to live how society tells us to: “School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?”
I became a prisoner of my own position… As I suspect many people have.
I graduated from High School, went on to college. Got my first degree, then my first “real job”, then I got married, I got another degree, started on my chosen career path (the real career, not my starter career), earned certifications, became licensed, hung in all the “right” circles, networked (as expected), gained credibility… And so forth.
Somewhere around my 45th birthday (maybe I had a mid-life crisis) I recognized that “this” was not what I wanted. AT ALL.
Besides the fact I had been in a loveless marriage for far too many years… I had also come to recognize that being trapped in the maze with the other “rats” was not what I wanted long-term. I had no desire to compete with anyone or keep getting things bigger and better than previously obtained.
No need to belabor that part of my life other than to say that while working in my profession a constant complaint heard from others was that they were stuck and had no choices when it came to their work/careers. People felt trapped because of expectations, standard of living and debt.
They stayed in jobs that made them miserable because that job provided them with the income to live at a standard they were accustomed to, or wanted.
Mind you, no one chooses the path for you… you choose your own path and how long you stay on that path is completely up to you.
I have always believed that we have choices. We are not truly “stuck” or “trapped” except by our own expectations.
It is hard to change your lifestyle when you have become accustomed to something.
It comes down to this; how badly do you want “it”… Whatever “it” is.
What are your priorities?
I’m not going to say that transitioning to a lifestyle where I consume less has been easy. What I make today as compared to what I made just a few short years ago is staggering. Like 100K LESS type staggering. But guess what, that extra 100K didn’t make my life any more enjoyable.
Sure I could afford things that I can’t afford now but I wouldn’t trade my present circumstances for anything. I DO NOT want to get back on that treadmill.
I am fortunate that I did not feel trapped. I saw an issue and I made the changes I needed to in order to change my circumstances. Mistakes have and will be made but it is all a learning process.
The photos presented in the article mentioned above really resonated with me. Not that I want to be a hermit. I am just at a point in my life where I am ready to disengage a bit and focus more on what is important to me.
I finally found a person that I can share my life with. Someone with the same goals and dreams. Someone that equally shares the joys and trials of life.
For many years I put on my “happy face” and did what was expected of me… professionally and socially. I was exhausted. By nature, I am actually an introvert. I gain energy from spending time alone and even more energy is gained when I am out in nature and being active.
Before we know it, Fred and I will be back in Alaska. No doubt we will struggle to make ends meet and learn what we need to learn to survive in a very different mode than what we have been for the past few years.
We are actually enjoying it. Planning our next moves, making sure we are gaining the skills we need and gathering the resources to make our dream come true.
This isn’t a passing fancy, this is the rest of our lives. Fred has a huge responsibility to his family and his community. I am there to support him. That is what partners do.
I am longing for the day when we will be on our own – away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The only part I am not looking forward to is being away from my mom. I really treasure the time that we have been having with her. It is a blessing for sure.
If you get a chance, take a look at the article and the photos. It is fascinating and the photos are quite stunning.