"Some might call it a quarter life crisis, but I think of it more as a quarter life purge, a quarter life 'becoming'. I've begun dreading my hair and reading a lot of Kerouac. I decided to go back to school in the spring. I have a loose five year plan, a sense of my trajectory more solid than anything I had in my early twenties. I feel good. I feel committed to myself in a way I have never experienced. I am committed to finding her, to being her unabashedly, in all her duality and contradiction. I will no longer apologize for the strangeness, the obscurity. I will no longer hide from the call for wildness and expressive freedom. I can only BE exactly who I want, exactly who I am. I feel secure in this mindful abandon, this reckless unconventionality."
Sitting in my apartment some late afternoon on the corner of Grand and South, Newburgh City, I typed that up for an instagram post. It sat on the web site for about a minute before I deleted it, feeling as if it was somehow premature. I spent the evening like I had spent many before, getting hard on myself in my easy chair by the fire escape window, smoking cigarettes and listening to the commotion on the street. The summer evening light flooded the breezy apartment like it did each day, and I wondered "What am I doing here?".
I had been working for the Jack O Lantern festival for a little over two years. [TERAN] Studio had just presented its last show, an endeavor I had also engaged in for a little over two years. The doers of the community were always looking for more volunteers, doers, and voices for the Rejuvenation of the city, the Newburgh Renaissance, yet I was flailing and unable to focus. I made plans, I wrote in my notebooks, making promises to myself to start projects, to go back to school, all in good time when the stress at work would subside. They were promises I knew I was likely to dismiss with some excuse. I was growing ever restless, and always aware of my plans to leave, to travel, that I had made and broken, like so many plans made before.
About to turn 25, a milestone, I started looking hard at my options. Here I was, caught in a cycle. Work, pay rent, buy groceries, go back to work, find time for the people I love, find time for myself, find time for my passion projects, for my art. I had spent so long cramming everything into twenty hour days, consistently running on fumes. I was burnt out from it all, and unable to see a way out. I could isolate and make plans to go back to school in the spring, keep working for the Jack O' Lantern festival despite the fact that I was no longer stimulated by the work and less than thrilled with the politics. Or I could drop it all and just go.
So I went.
So far, I think leaving will be the hardest part of this journey. If you ever want to gain true perspective on your life, leave it. Leave the people you love, the town or city or county you know almost each square inch of. Leave your comfy cute apartment, the job you've become comfortable and confident in. Leave your family. It was bittersweet, it was hard. In a matter of a week I informed everyone I was leaving, tried to spend time with everyone before I left, packed up my apartment, got the car ready, packed for the trip. I had vague ideas of where I could go and find work based on testimonies from other traveling friends. All I knew was that the first stop was Asheville, NC.
There was no greater feeling than hitting the open road, the mass of the country spread out before my feet, before the spinning wheels of subaRUBY. Just in the week and a half process of leaving, so much synchronicity had presented itself, I could only imagine what the frontier and the universe had in store for me. From here on out it was all a matter of maintaining pure intentions and exploring what I could manifest.
I never felt so at peace in my life.