Closing 2018: Where We’re at and Where We’re Going

Closing 2018: Where We’re at and Where We’re Going

Why is it that we’re most reflective in the winter months of any given year? Is it that we spend more time indoors, left to reminisce over past experiences, brimming full with the lifeblood of where we’ve been? Or is it that a year, as it is conceptually drawn within our cultural boundaries, is a way of describing a full revolution around the sun? And who ever decided that the end of December, for all intents and purposes should mean the end of a year?

When the Earth first started to revolve around the sun eons ago, what month was it?

Depending on who you ask, the end of the year could be at a completely different time than what you’ve been taught your whole life. If you followed the Chinese calendar, for example, you’d be celebrating this coming New Year on February 5th. The Arabic calendar on the other hand plots the New Year on August 30th.

But here in the West, to those that follow the traditional Gregorian calendar, it’s the same every year. The time between December 31st and January 1st is meant to be the most significant time for self-reflection. Every major city center and backlit television set in the U.S. is filled with confetti, wet kisses, and the all-too-familiar resounding of Auld Lang Syne.

Take a moment and think about where you will be at the end of 2018.

Is it with someone you love? Will you be where you want to be? And how happy are you with how you lived the maturing year as it grows dimmer, preparing to be snuffed out and lit anew with the next year?

Since you stopped by, I might as well tell you about our 2018; where we’re at, and where we’re going.

For the last few months, we’ve been working our tails off preparing for something big. Recently, I (Shane) have been working for a contractor to an energy company. I spend my days installing those smart meters you’ve probably heard mentioned in a couple of conversations. I work 50+ hours a week in all types of weather, walking from house to house to make sure that your energy meter has a little plastic module on it to transmit a reading of how much energy you’ve used.

Heather has been working as a seasonal helper for your local package delivery service. She hops in and out of a long box truck, walking packages up to doorways and hurriedly returning to the truck to move onto the next stop. She spent most of the year living in a treehouse behind her parents’ home in order to save up money and prepare for something bigger.

Some might say it doesn’t exactly sound like the most fulfilling type of work, but let me tell you this:

Shane in work gear
Please don't let your dogs out on me
Heather in work gear
The smile you give when you deliver a new toaster oven

We are both deeply dissatisfied with the immediacy of our societal situations.

Now, let me stop you again here. Remember that comment about the wide variance between when, and how people celebrate the new year? It’s meant to show that there really is no hard and fast rule that determines when the new year begins, and what you traditionally do to celebrate it. The same goes for all of life. You may have an opinion about how to structure life, and what others should be doing to get the best out of it, but the truth is, everyone is going to attend their own sort of party.

Perhaps, to some, we are ill-informed, overly naive, precipitous and irresponsible Millenials, foolishly preparing to shirk of some of the finer comforts of life in the name of escapism. To others, likely to those who feel a similar kind of despondency, perhaps we can be like beacons of hope as we gear up to follow the guiding torches of those who have gone before us in search of another shore.

I want you to remember that people from all of the world celebrate the new year at different times, and in a thousand-fold different ways.

Nonetheless, there is one thing I can admit to. We are angsty. I wanted to write this article to mark the point of beginning on a real and conscious path toward utter transformation. It’s been too long that we’ve set aside our adolescent dreams. It’s been too long that we’ve been caught up in an inertia not of our choosing. It’s been too long that this gentle and unforgivable tyrant of darkness and depression has been sucking the life from our exhausted souls.

Did I mention how angsty we are?

This article is meant to catalyze everything that we’ve been feeling, from the quarter-life crisis of questioning what it means to have a fulfilling life, to attempting to poise the double-edged sword of making any decision in this thick reality.

I vow to make the venture of coming back to wholeness, to ward off the melancholic ghoul of doubt and despair, and to feel inspired to say yes to life, rather than regressing into this quiet and lonely desperation that so seems to haunt the modern individual in daily motions of nine to five drudgery.

I vow to go in search of a happiness only known to those sages who chose not to languish in the misery of a precarious situation, but rather to belch forth an endearing narrative of the yearning for and reward of a long-fought redemption.

We are not here to stand with bleary eyes and blurry minds, and we are burning to prove ourselves.

Therefore, with all of this in mind, and with great consideration, we’ve elected to take our journey to new territory. At the beginning of January, 2019, Heather and I are excitedly heading out to take on a new line of work: 

—Housekeeping!

Okay, so it’s not the most exhilarating of jobs, but it’s more about the destination. Really. We’ll be living and working on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for a few months before moving onto the next big thing. To both of us, not much sounds more pleasing. We’ll be away from the suburbs, daily traffic commutes, and the frigidity of a grey Midwestern winter. 

A few encouraging keepsakes that I'd keep in my work vehicle

Above all, the Grand Canyon is like a first step for us. We’ve both agreed that we cannot go back to what we’ll be coming from, at least for a good long while. Our interest in settling down is practically null at this point, and we’ve set our sights on the far out places, from Alaska to Thailand, Italy to Argentina. We’ll be putting both of our minds together to be continually plotting out where we’d like to go next, and how we’re going to achieve it.

Yes, there may be steps backward. Yes, there may be judgment. But we also hope to create a life for ourselves that has us glowing nearly all of the time, and in that, we hope we can warrant some semblance of respect for choosing to go the way that we’re currently preparing for.

As my situation presently sits, I currently only have to drive six miles to work every day. Maybe to some that sounds like a luxury, or to others a nightmare, but whichever way you see it, each day I pass through 11 different intersections with traffic lights. Sometimes, those traffic lights turn red and I have to pull to a halt. I sip my coffee and I just think. Sometimes I don’t think about much, other times I think about my day, and other times I think about a greater future.

At least once or twice though, I’ve thought about the expression “Emphatically Nomadic” and what it means to our intentions. When I think about this little name we’ve embraced, I always picture a tiny person standing on top of a mountain, wielding a flag with that exact expression on it. 

Maybe that little person will be us someday. Maybe we’ll look back at all the struggle and strain that it took us to get to the top of that mountain. Maybe we’ll leave a legacy that inspires others to go in search of accomplishing their own dreams. Maybe it’s not so incongruous that we’re finding symbolism in starting from a rim of the Grand Canyon, as if to say that we’re facing a major gap to cross.

As this year comes to a close, and the new year happens upon us like a slow moving current, we’re not simply going to welcome the new year as an arbitrary exchange of numbers. And neither should you! 

Does it really matter that there’s no absolute starting point for the ending or beginning of a cycle? Not really. A circle is beautiful because it can be turned any way and still be symmetrical with itself.

Therefore, anytime is a good time to start. It just happens that the New Year is a culturally agreed upon starting point for entering a new block of time.

What matters most is that you give yourself an opportunity to feel something new, to do something unlike anything you did in the previous year, and to reflect on how you could bring yourself a greater sense of personal self-satisfaction. After all, despite what anyone else could say, finding your own impression of joy is the least selfish thing you could do.

Fireworks
Celebrate good times, c'mon

At least you know where we’ll be. The Grand Canyon calls, and we’re preparing to call it a temporary home at the foot of beginning our nomadic journey.

We’ll be making beds, dusting counter tops, and watching the sun rise over one of the Earth’s great natural wonders.

Stay tuned for what’s to come next. As I can assure you, we’ve got many big ideas.

Shane

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Great post. It takes an insane amount of commitment to make a nomadic lifestyle work. You guys seem to have what it takes. Have you read Vagabonding?

    The Grand Canyon was one of our favorite places to call home while we were working seasonal jobs around America. We lived in the Trailer Village at the South Rim, and worked at Yavapai. It’s an amazing experience. We think about moving back to the desert all the time.

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