(Image Credit: JenkoAtaman
A couple of months ago, while lying in a bathtub listening to Bon Iver and drinking a glass of cheap wine, I received a phone call from a spiritual retreat “camp” in Hawaii.
“Aloha, Lindsay” the, I suppose, Hawaiian women said. “You’ve been accepted into the spiritual 6-week cleanse in our Maui location. Have you received our brochure in the mail yet?”
The smell of sweet red wine and lavender filled my grandmother’s bathroom. It took me a few seconds to come out of my bubble bath-induced fog to remember that just a few months earlier, I had applied to embark on a spiritual retreat in the desolate land of Maui. I politely told the women on the phone I would need a few days to think about pricing and my current situation.
“Mahalo,” she said.
“Mahalo,” I replied.
I set my wine glass down on top of the toilet seat. Jesus Christ. I’m having a premature quarter life crisis.
I no longer had any real intention of embarking on a Hawaiian spiritual retreat. – a retreat which required living off the land, miles apart from other campers, while connecting with the inner self. It sounds pretty nice, right? Except for the part where I have no experience in the wild, and an outdoor survival rating that’s pretty easy to compete with.
Well, as you might have guessed, I declined the spiritual retreat in Hawaii. I did, however, gain valuable writing experience in one of my favorite states. I also gained one of the most embarrassing days of my life (see future article on becoming a Zumba instructor). I gained immense pain, and I gained times of unexpected happiness. Recently, I gained the move that brought me to yet another amazing city on the east coast.
I would love to sit here and tell you that I have it all figured out, and that declining a trip to Hawaii led me exactly where I needed to be. But the truth of the matter is, that’s far, far from my reality. At age 23, I’m living the path that many of you twenty something’s are probably living yourself, or have just recently lived. You accept your entry level job, kiss your pay check good-bye (F*ck you city living) and hope like hell you’ll reach some sort of enlightenment that pushes you onto the next path.
I don’t think it’s fair for me to offer you advice when I myself am struggling to navigate this “struggle-hood” also known as adulthood. But I will tell you one thing-by embracing each day for what it is-the good, the bad, and sometimes, the really ugly, I took a ton of pressure off myself, and began to live within the moment.
More importantly, I’ve realized certain plans will be tossed out the window, others will be revised, and hopefully, the dreams I’ve carried within me will stay long enough to come to fruition, all in the right time. Patience for me has never been an easy practice. Staying at a job I don’t like or living in a city I don’t love has always been in itself enough reason for me to pick up and leave. I would never suggest, or pretend to believe, it’s a smart or logistical pattern to follow, but I do think there’s a way to live in the moment while still planning for a vibrant future. I guess you can call that balance.
As I’ve said before, I never want to pretend to be someone I am not. I’m not an expert at living life to the fullest, or finding your path in this world. If I were, I would have spent a lot less time in the self-help section at Barnes and Noble, trolling the aisles for answers. But I do hope from reading this you’ll be reminded everything in life takes time and serves a purpose. Hustle, but be balanced. Be patient, but don’t ever settle. If nothing else, remind yourself today its okay to stray from a plan.
Mahalo and good luck.