It’s been two months since we returned from our 7 month tour of South America, but about 1 month ago I noticed something strange. It was me. I think I’ve changed. It’s nothing dramatic, just little things here and there that I’ve noticed are different. I must have learned a thing or two.
i can tell you this has not changed in every facet of my life. I still get super angry in certain situations. Other times I find myself wondering why someone is getting so upset. Road rage, for instance, seems to be triggered by the tiniest of infractions. Before, if someone was going too slow or accidentally cut me off, I’d be cursing them for their stupidity. Now, I actually smile about it knowing how pissed I normally would have been. I might even tell myself that they didn’t mean it or I can wait. I have time.
This also applies to traffic. Just last weekend I was riding with friends through Downtown Cincinnati when we encountered a minor traffic back up. We hadn’t been stopped for longer than a minute before the complaints began. I don’t blame them for professing their anger. The old me would have too. Instead I thought “Wow. It’s only been a minute. That doesn’t seem so bad.” The conversation escalated to how totally annoying this was and what could possibly be going on to create such a mess. After about 3 minutes I piped up offering, “It’s okay. It’s only been a few minutes.” I was ignored and the anger continued to increase. Our lives had been put on hold without our consent!
Now, to be clear, I am not trying to bash these friends for their comments. They are not the only ones to have these same feelings of impatience. I think it’s an American thing. We want what we want and we want it yesterday.
Before we left we would have dreaded any time longer than 3 hours in a car. Now we laugh in the face of long drawn out transports. While discussing the idea of a future international flight with a friend, they assured us that we would most definitely want to upgrade to business class. The flight would be 15 hours. Sure. That sounds nice but what would that cost!? Dusty and I quickly dismissed the idea where as before we would have entertained the notion. If we can handle a 23 hour bus ride through Chile, while children run up and down the aisles and eating only one cookie the entire trip, we can suffer a while in coach. To think I swore off any road trips requiring more than 5 hours of driving just a few years ago. We’ve learned to tolerate long stretches of discomfort.
It may sound cliche but I feel like almost anything is possible at this point. Five years ago we had some serious debt, were buying our “dream home” and worked for “the man”. Now we are debt free business owners with the freedom to travel the world at will. We made our way through an entire continent, returning with more money than before we left. It can be done. We are not special. We’ve learned that it only takes commitment to get what you want. The hardest part is being brave enough to STOP doing what’s “normal” or expected. I can guarantee that most of our friends and family thought we were nuts a year ago when we told them our plan. They still think we’re nuts but know that it suits us quite well. When we tell them we’re going to do something semi-odd, they say, “That doesn’t even surprise me anymore.”
More, More, More
I’m sure I’ll figure out even more small changes in the next few months. It’s funny because I’ll just be driving down the road and I’ll think, “Wow. I remember when that used to annoy the crap out of me.” or I’ll find that something interests me when it didn’t before. Small moments of clarity. It’s cool. I wonder if my friends and family can notice any changes. AND, I wonder if any of them bad. From what I can tell, it’s all for the better but I’m sure that’s just what I want to notice. :)