‘There are so many people who don’t know what they want. And I think that, in this world, that’s the only thing you have to know — exactly what you want. … Doing what you were born to do … That’s the way to be happy,’ said Canadian-born artist Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004), who would have turned 101 on March 22nd.
When I read these words I am reminded of the events that led my wife and me to adopt our self-proclaimed Six Monther lifestyle, our decision to live in a new country every six months. I had spent most weekends of my life in the great outdoors. However, most days I was never more than a few hours’ drive from home.
Then I met and married Florence, who has traveled throughout her adult life. I envied her that experience. There were places I wanted to visit and experience, too. Thus, we prepared ourselves to explore the world together. We sold our house, our cars, and whatever possessions we could not pack. Our aim was not to seek happiness, but to achieve it by pursuing our passion for discovery and adventure. People who learn of our lifestyle react in a variety of ways. The most common responses include:
1. I wish I could do that, but I have to work so I will enjoy your lifestyle vicariously.
2. I want to live like that someday when I can afford it.
3. It sounds exciting, but I could never live like that. I would miss my family and friends too much.
4. You must be crazy. Who in their right mind would sell everything and live like wandering vagabonds?
All of these responses are valid, of course. I have personally held each of these viewpoints at various stages of my life. It surprises many people, including me, to admit I have had my passport for less than two years. Perhaps I am much like my parents who eventually traveled extensively around the world, but not until we kids grew up so that it was something they could afford.
This phase of life is Spring, a season of optimism reminding us of regeneration and renewal, whether through religious beliefs or by simply observing the trees and flowers showering us with the vibrant colors of new life. Have you found what you were born to do? Are you pursuing it?
Happy Easter and Happy Spring!