Getting out into the world is a lot different now then it used to be. I think.
I didn’t really get out into the world much, until I reached adulthood. Sure, my family took me on vacation. I ran screaming from a log cabin (with no bathroom – it was housed in a communal facility down in a common area); went on cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico (and when I was a teenager, drank way too much); saw Niagara Falls (Canada side); and went fishing, clamming and crabbing in Long Island. I did some great family and travel stuff, but it didn’t prepare me for… well, adulthood.
There it is again. Adulting. Something that I think about now, in mid-thirties, much more than I did in my twenties. Life was going along swimmingly, at least until the year I turned 27.
That was the year of two car crashes, one causing anxiety attics that prevented me from driving for a time, and one taking a loved one and leaving me emotionally traumatized for many years. Six months after the second collision, a mysterious illness came on, and over four months I gradually lost mobility at an alarming rate.
January, the following year, it was diagnosed as RA. I drove my ex-girlfriend (very recently broken up) to Boston to live with family, and I returned to be laid off from my job.
I’d call that a low point in my life.
Picking myself up by the bootstraps (or, writing a couple of essays and going heavily into student loan debt), I enrolled in a Master’s program. The Doc put me on all kinds of meds, with some odd side-effects. (Drinking while on the medication resulted in extreme cases of aggression, where I thought it would be good to fight bars full of people. I also had liver enzyme issues, and was often pulled off and placed on new prescriptions.)
I’ve since forgotten what it was to feel in sound body, but at least I’ve not taken medications for over a year and still feel alright enough to move around. I travel now, not just the week-long vacations but month or more-long immersion. I love camping. And that moving around is bringing me to the question of what I should say no to.
Finding this bit of text in Tim Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors led to this post, and I think I’ll be adapting it for my use:
“…the more clear I am about what my goals are, the more easily I can say no. I have a notebook into which I’ve recorded all sorts of goals, both big and small, over the last ten or so years. When I take the time to articulate what it is that I hope to achieve, it’s simple to refer to the list and see whether saying yes to an opportunity will take me toward or away from achieving that goal.”
Said another way, “Will this get me closer to my mountain?”