Monday, July 6, 2015

A belated post about independence

The type of freedoms we tend to speak of on Independence Day are about nations, governments and laws. But now that I live a nomadic life, July 4th is also about freedom from my former life. 

Some who live in vehicles do it out of desperation. For others of us, though, it’s like being let out of prison—one that we pretty much built ourselves, with the encouragement (pressure) of society. “You should do this, want this, have this.” I ended up doing, wanting and having things that, upon reflection, I didn’t actually want.

I was in therapy for a while. (See how happy my socially-approved life was making me?) I told the shrink I felt like I was trapped on a boulder in the middle of a river and that I had to dodge all this crap coming downstream, occasionally grabbing something useful as it floated by.

“What would you do if you could escape that boulder?” he asked. “What then?

I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t see any viable alternative to the life I was living.

Shortly after, a coworker who sensed my depressive angst loaned me The Tao of Pooh. What? Following someone else’s path leads to struggle, disappointment and unhappiness? I should discover my own way? But how?

It took too long, but I eventually figured it out. I dove off the boulder and swam to shore. I divested myself of all the things that were more burdensome than fulfilling. Not just possessions, but also ways of living. Then I got rid of more. And more. Until I was free.

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