I’m ready to write this.
For weeks I’ve had emotions dwelling up inside me. I knew but I didn’t know at the same time. The calendar has added one more digit to my age. In youth, it’s nothing. Age is nothing but a number…at least that’s what you tell yourself. But in mid-life…that’s what I’ve entered into according to the historians…it’s more than that. It’s another year of accomplishments…it’s another year of let downs…it’s so many things…and it’s one year closer to death.
Now don’t get me wrong…this isn’t a sad post. It’s the farthest thing from that. I’m so full of joy as I hear the clickity clack of the keyboard that it brings a tear to my eye.
Let me set the stage for you.
One year ago today…I was at a bon voyage birthday party that I threw for myself…that should shed some insight as to how sad an existence I led..I had to throw my own party…sad really. Leading up to this day, mentally I was in a dark place. It was of my own doing. I did not care about my life because at that time I did not think that my existence mattered. It’s so difficult to even relate to that sentiment now because of the joy I feel today.
I am me. I am significant.
But then…8/20/12…I wanted to die because I couldn’t feel anymore. I looked for the simplest of joys but failed to find any. So much so I threw myself into a bike tour…it was do or die. As I revisit those feelings, I’ll be honest…I welcomed death…I hoped for it. I even had thoughts of manufacturing it. It’s a very weird place…depression. You can imagine any baron waste land and yet you would do it no justice with the sorrows I felt. I couldn’t really blame anyone because I knew I was the cause of it all. Everything I dreaded and hated about my life was my own fault. As much as I tried to blame everything and anything…I knew I was the cause of my despair.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how I felt before I left on the bike tour. My smile was so fake, it’s embarrassing to even look at pictures. I could fool some…but I still knew…it was a shallow lie that I hoped to be caught in but forced so much that I actually convinced people…even myself.
Today I talked to the least likely of people in which would bring to light what snapped inside me. One year later, I am finally able to articulate why I went on the bike tour. Why I know I will be a meaningful specific.
Then…I was in a dark place. Lost. I did not know how to get out and I did not want to leave. Ending everything made sense. At that time, I looked at my life as useless…and I justified that if I was useless, then there was no need to keep me around. But for some reason, I was too scared to take action on this thought…I was a coward. I did not want to endure the pain. I did not want to face the repercussion that if I were to fail in my final endeavor, I would forever be a burden to my family. That…I knew was not fair to them. This caused a dilemma for me. I knew I could not just be on pause forever. I knew that I either had to grow or die, but I was to scared to face death…at least by my own hands. This was the darkest moment for me. To be buried by everything around you and have no room to breath…I wanted to be free of agony and despair…but could not be…this hurts in a way that words can not explain. I think of this and close my eyes…I can still feel the scar. Days and months went by. When you’re genuinely lost, time becomes less than a breeze…an occasional reminding startle that there are things going on around you…but when you’re in a wasteland…all it does is nudge and nothing more.
My light needed to shine. Then…I did not know how to free it. Why and How kept resonating in my mind. Days, weeks and month went by…I wanted an answer and could not find one. The depression took over when I was weak and pointed me to death. My light refused to accept that. My dilemma continued. Then a series of events took place…Craigslist Joe…my friend Steve wanting to ride bikes consistently…my neurotic ego managed to voice an opinion…I made a decision and the bike tour was born. The thought of manufacturing something epic…something bigger than myself. I justified that if I were to die, it was meant to happen and it was better than me sitting around on the couch or my bed and dying of something stupid like a heart attack. At least if I was battling the world, balls deep in adventure…if I were to die…in a sick sense…it would have been under my own terms. I would be able to save face and say at least I went out fighting.
Then the light started to really shine…the other side of the possibility started to take shape…what if I finished. What if not only did I make it across the country, but I figured out a way to make it around the world. My obsession was born.
My Lost Journey had a purpose. And this fueled the flame. I liquidated everything I had. If it did not serve to get me around the world it was out of my life. The depression was dying and passion was taking flight. It took me months to get everything right to leave. I was so convinced that I was going to make it around the world, some of you may remember this, I got vaccinations for 10 different countries including Africa (yellow fever and malaria). This made me so sick for the month before I left.
Mental note to all…when you get a vaccination you are getting a mild form of what you’re trying to prevent and if you get too many of these at once they will kick your ass. I felt like shit for what seemed like forever.
The vaccinations could not stop me. I wanted to fly worse than I wanted death. I knew that I had to do this. My light needed to shine and it would not be denied.
As I type this, it is one year later and it has been quite some time since I finished the bike tour. It is my first epic possession that will be mine forever. Insignificant to the world but priceless to me and my experience. I learned so many things about myself and life because of My Lost Journey. I am forever thankful to the people I met along the journey and I can never stop thanking my friends and family who supported me along the way. Every now and again I share with people a lesson that I learned from the journey. I can’t help to think that they think that I’m preaching but in reality I’m giving them a piece of my spirit. I hope to share a piece of my light in hopes that the darkness they are in at that moment is dissipated by it.
Life is amazing. It really is. If there is something clouding your vision and you cannot see how wonderful it is to have the gift of life…move…move often…interact with the people around you and the surroundings you’re in. That is what I had to do to escape the prison I created for myself. I knew I had to move or I would die. Dig…dig…dig until you can’t dig anymore and then start digging again. Every breath you take is amazing…cherish and rejoice in it.
I’ll leave you with these final words. A year ago today I was lost and I was preparing to embark on My Lost Journey. There were so many different echos in my head…
I was feeling beaten, destroyed, doubtful, down, inhibited, imprisoned, regretful, scared, suffocated, timid…lost.
As I write this post…those feelings are but distant memories. Ghosts of a despair that has long past.
Today I have completed an adventure and found my courage. I traveled for 84 days and know now the depth of devotion. My effort was tested but I now know that it is unparallelled and true. I know how to focus and I have my sights set on my future and my goals. I know how to inspire my initiative and progress through difficulties. I created a result and it was epic. My self-confidence is stronger than anything ever known to man. I finally possess self-respect. I have forced my talents to the surface for the world to witness. I live truth. I have gone on to give more value than I ask for in return. I know my purpose in life…my meaningful specific.
I have added new friends in the mean time but I miss my family and my Michigan friends. I can’t wait for the day that I see them all again and I am able to hug them and share the new me with them. I crave the embraces more than they will ever know. I’ll be home soon and I promise to hold you tighter and longer than I have ever done before so that you know I love you all and you are the only reason I am…you are all my reasons.
From the bottom of my happy heart…I thank you.