Close Your Eyes, Breathe In…Exhale Slowly!

Here I sit on the same couch that I’ve written so many blog posts, as I dream of a simpler life and envision myself living a deeper, more purposeful life. Only now, I sit in an apartment that is about a quarter of the size of the home that we just sold. But somehow the world outside now seems a bit larger. My head is spinning at the amount of STUFF we have, even though we started over the past year preparing to downsize, we were caught off guard. Boxes to the left, boxes to the right, Goodwill, yard sale, and just plain garbage. How on earth did we accumulate all this STUFF, and why? It’s overwhelming, as we no longer have a place to put, store, stash stuff. Storage unit? No way! If we need to store it, we need to get rid of it. Freaking out now…but in a good way. But nevertheless just plain freaking out. I knew this downsizing exercise was going to challenge me. But in a strange way, it feels lifting. I actually feel lighter, physically and emotionally. Breathe…

With just under 8 months left before I step onto the AT, preparation for my thru-hike continues. About 95% of gear has been purchased and tested to some extent, so I’ve stopped analyzing what I’ve selected, as only time, trail conditions, and miles will determine what needs to be swapped out. I’ve been keeping up on my psychical conditioning, which is just a way of life for me to stay healthy, and keep my RA at bay. Mentally, I’m supercharged up. I’d go now if I could. Following this year’s class of hikers on and seeing them start to reach the summit of Mt. Katahdin, Maine, 2,190 miles from where they started in GA, is making me antsy. The stories and pictures have been amazing. The ups, the downs, the good the bad, the tears, the laughter, and watching what once was only a dream turn into reality for some. That’s what I’m talking about, legacy. Breathe…

My journey on the AT is all about this as well as an earlier blog post in which I said, to find my purpose I need to unlearn what I’ve learned. To do this, I have to step away from a career in which I burnt myself out. This, compounded by the irrational fear of not having enough safety and security in my job is why I know I need this. I need to face my fear of the unknown head-on, and embrace my belief to Be_again, once more, anew, afresh. Doing this has led my wife and I onto the path of Minimalism and creating free space in our lives for personal and spiritual enlightenment and ridding ourselves of material things that don’t serve a purpose or bring us joy. We now focus on experiences, relationships, and learning to be more present and intentional. We allow ourselves the space to simplify, slow down, and Breathe…

I can honestly tell you that many people don’t get it, don’t get this journey of evolving, don’t get minimalism, don’t get selling it all and hiking away to relearn and refocus on life. “Wow, seems risky”, is what I was told by an acquaintance recently. I get it. In a world that is focused on ego, fed by material possession, stature, popularity, and in many ways, driven by consumerism, it’s tough for people to understand. I’ve lived it and have been held prisoner to it. Why on earth would you walk away from a successful career and sell or give away most of your possessions, and sell your beautiful, comfortable home in a white picket fence community? What are you, hippies? as we’ve once been called. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? And for the first time in my life, I can answer like this, I don’t know…I’m just going to Breathe…and Be_again.

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