Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Anxiety and Anticipation

The time is drawing near. I'm full of anxiety and anticipation at the same time. I, both, love and dislike these feelings I'm experiencing. No! This is nothing new. I go through this every time this particular time draws near. Life seems to be full of so many paradoxes.

So, what is the “time” I'm speaking of? Could it be the holiday season? Could be, but it's really not. Could it be the end of another year and the beginning of a new year? Could be, but it's really not that either. So, what is it?

It's the feelings I always get as I'm preparing to venture out “on the road again.” Whaaaat? But, you're a self-described “professional nomad.” It's what you do. Why are you dealing with anxiety and anticipation at the same time, you say?

Carly Simon wrote and performed her song, “Anticipation” in 1971. The first lines go . . . We can never know about the days to come, But we think about them anyway. And, the late Wayne Dyer said, The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it's your thoughts that create these false beliefs.

So, why am I feeling both anxious and anticipatory at the same time?

Anxious

Yes! I am anxious. I experience this anxiety every time I am off the road for longer than a week or two. I find it is very easy, perhaps, too easy to fall into a comfort zone of lack of forward motion.

Our earliest ancestors were nomadic by necessity. In order to survive, early humans had to move and follow the food chain. Most animals (except those that hibernate) are migratory. They move with the changing seasons, typically to more moderate or warmer climates during the winter where food sources are plentiful. Human survival depended on a regular source of food, both protein and carbohydrates. So, they migrated with the animal life that sustained human life.

As humans learned to domesticate certain kinds of live stock, plant, grow and harvest vegetative forms of food and to store both for the winter season, they became “settlers” and established roots and societies. Once that happened, humans became stationary and much less nomadic. While there still remained some nomadic people in the world, most people were resigned and happy to settle in for the long term.

Yes! There are nomadic people in our modern society, I count myself as one of them. We are often called vagabonds. There are both positive and negative connotations for this kind of person and lifestyle. However, the vast majority of people tend to be and are conditioned to be stationary. To be a stable, rooted individual (or family) is considered the norm, the standard, the mainstream lifestyle. Some members of mainstream society exercise their nomadic, now non-dominant, trait by camping in various ways on weekends or for a week or two of annual vacation. Some travel, but don't want to give up the creature comforts of their mainstream lifestyle, so they “migrate” to some luxury resort or cruise on a huge city on the water (we call them cruise ships).

Being nomadic is, probably, one of the truest ways of experiencing and expressing the true free spirit of human life. It typically strips away the majority of modern life's luxuries. It eliminates most of the “stuff” humans accumulate in some belief system that suggests we are less than “complete” without all of it. The nomadic lifestyle allows us to commune with other like minded humans and nature in a far more natural way. It affords us, perhaps, the closest feeling of true personal freedom we may ever be able to experience.

True, some people, who may be somewhat nomadic, can only experience this lifestyle with a behemoth motorhome, motorcoach or large trailer of some kind. They pay a sizable daily, weekly or monthly rental fee to park it in a community of similar RV dwellers. Essentially, they have all the luxuries and amenities and neighborhood of living a more traditional, stationary lifestyle except they have wheels under them rather than a concrete pad or foundation.

Then there are those who choose to live a little freer and closer to nature. They may transport themselves by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, some kind of motorized vehicle pulling a small trailer or any number of motorized conveyances ranging from cars, SUV's, vans, Class B motorhomes or even small Class A or C motorhomes, converted box trucks, short buses, etc. Some will live in canvas tents while others choose to live in what I call “tin tents” (or perhaps, fiberglass). Still others choose to live on a boat with water under them rather than land. The idea is the same. Living a freer life with the least encumbrances of a complex, stationary lifestyle dictated by all kinds of laws, rules, regulations, codes and covenants is the ultimate motivation.

So, why the anxiety on my part? I believe it's simply a combination of our human conditioning and nature and a force defined by Newton's First Law of Motion. Simply stated. An object (me) will remain stationary unless acted upon by an outside force greater than the force of gravity and friction on the mass. And, conversely an object in motion will tend to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force great enough to counter the motion. Anytime one sets for too long, roots start to grow and anchor the person to wherever they are setting.

This was true of most of the places I've lived during my lifetime. Moving should not be a foreign concept to me. I calculated that I've moved approximately once every three years (24 times) during my lifetime. There were times when I moved more than once during a single year. When I moved to the small (49 acre) ranch I lived on, my last fixed location of residence and business, I only planned to stay there two years. I was there about six years when I finally moved from the stationary lifestyle to my nomadic lifestyle. Like most people, I resist change, even though the change may be something I find extremely desirable.

Why am I here at, what I consider, my Eastern Base Camp for so long? My friend lost her 41 year old son and only child a little less than four months ago and her 93 year old mother a little over a year ago. To say this has been a difficult time for a person would be understating the obvious. Unfortunately, due to these things we call circumstances, she has virtually no family and no close friends in this region any longer. She is, for all intents and purposes, alone for the first time in her life. I have been here to provide support and the loving kindness of a strong friendship. She is now dealing with anxiety as I prepare to leave and that, of course, adds to my own level of anxiety. I don't want her to feel abandoned, yet, I must follow my own destiny.

So, my current anxiety is simply that there is always a certain degree of “unknown” in making a change from one form of lifestyle to another, even though I've been living the nomadic lifestyle for a number of years. Am I going to forget something I need? Will “My McVansion” perform to expectations? Will I encounter unknown challenges or obstacles. Will my finances hold out. These and many other unknowns creep in when one has his or her buttocks in a stationary location (even if not a desirable location) for any length of time and anticipates a significant move or lifestyle change.

Here are some other examples. I sent a piece of electronic equipment out for service. It should have been back at least a week ago. I just got a call from the service facility that it's complete and working to factory specifications. It will be shipped to reach me by Friday. I become a “moving target” after Friday, so it's cutting it very close. The van has just had a relatively minor, but important, and, unfortunately, costly repair done. I'd been putting it off for a few months. I finally bit the bullet. Now, it's past history. Currently, as I write this, the van is at a local body shop having the rust removed from the rain gutter, having the gutter primed and painted. The van drives fine with the rusty rain gutter. It wasn't so much about the appearance, although I like the van to look nice. It was about stopping any further deterioration that will ultimately lead to other issues. Today is Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving Day. I should have the van back by tomorrow end of day.

All these little things add to the level of anxiety. The good thing is, however, once I climb into the “cockpit” of My McVansion and drive past the normal perimeter of this small area I've been setting in for a little longer than three months, the anxiety will give way to the . . .

Anticipation

of what lies ahead of me as I venture out.

I am commencing a new professional project I've been creating and developing over the past several years. My anticipation is that this may become my greatest personal contribution to our society in my lifetime. This excites, inspires and motivates me. It becomes a reason to get up each day.

Additionally, as I look at the roads ahead, there are a lot of old friends anticipating my arrival for long overdue visits. And, as they anticipate me visiting them, I anticipate sharing time with them. Since all of us are getting older, these opportunities to share time together become less and even more important. Some of these people may not be around for me to visit again. One of the great things about reaching this stage of life is I can choose to be freer and not care very much what other people think about me or my chosen lifestyle. One of the crappy things about reaching this stage of life is that one by one and with increasing frequency, people who have been friends for 30, 40, 50 and 60+ years are taking their “final curtain calls.” And, of course, I realize that one day, it is going to be my own final curtain call.

There is also the anticipation of rolling down the highways and byways of my own country. You may have a similar anticipation whether it's in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or any other place in the world (wherever you may live). As I traverse these roads, I witness the changes that have occurred in places I may recall from as long ago as my childhood. I also anticipate the opportunity to explore and discover places I've planned to see and places that are completely serendipitous.

Then there is the anticipation of meeting a variety of new, interesting and unique people along the way. While seeing all kinds of sights, reveling in history and natural wonders is exciting, satisfying and fulfilling, I'm not sure that meeting and interfacing with the broad tapestry of people who cross my path isn't more exciting, satisfying and fulfilling. You can take photos of places and things. But, you can build relationships with people that remain with you and become part of your own tapestry of life.

My anticipation is to live as free as I can and be as happy as one can ever hope to be as I fulfill my own destiny as a nomad, trekking this country (and perhaps some other countries, certainly Canada). We don't know where we came from other than what science can tell us. We don't know what is after this life. So, the only time we have that we can count on is the brief period between the point of taking our first breath at birth and taking our last breath when we reach the other end of our individual life journeys. Many, who have strong faiths in some form of religious belief system, claim to know this answer. Even though I was brought up in a pretty mainstream, traditional Baptist church, and, while I won't give into considering myself an atheist, I'd have to admit to being more agnostic. The only thing I know and accept is that we have the time from birth until death to fulfill whatever destiny we choose to, even if it's simply being stationary and living life in one location.

It's not my position to judge anyone else's belief systems or choices in how they have chosen to live their lives. That's what “free will” is all about. I respect everyone else's choices and beliefs and only expect the same in return. There is no debate here as far as I'm concerned. I only anticipate the best I can realize from this life and my choices. I also accept that I am a flawed human and have made and can continue to make some choices that may not turn out positive. I also anticipate, but don't dwell on, the fact that some things I may not be pleased with may happen by simple circumstance, wrong place, wrong time.

Live Free and Be Happy

That is my motto and closing. Just as Mr. Spock, from the iconic Star Trek TV series and movie franchise, wished people to “live long and prosper” (as do I, also), I want people to live as free as they choose to and be as happy as possible. After all is said and done, being free, happy and enjoying loving and being loved are really the only things that make life truly fulfilling and worth living. So, as I overcome my anxiety of departing this location and overcoming the inertia that's held me here, I anticipate, what I hope will be, the best to come, yet, in my life. Perhaps, we'll cross paths along my travels and we can share some priceless time together.

Live free and be happy. EH    

8 comments:

vtwinkicker said...

Well said Ed. Now you have me thinking about getting back on the road.(Not that I ever stop thinking about it when at my home base)

Richard Rosen said...

I believe the urge to explore, voyage, and discover is innate. But the venue changes better serve the person we are becoming. In this vein, I have metamorphosed my travels of youth to the inner exploration and mastery of mind and attunement with spirit. Beam me up Scotty!

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Thanks! So, I look forward to our paths crossing.

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Aye, Sir! Thanks Richard, interesting point. Travel can be however we choose it. Some may be physical, some may be mental, some may be spiritual . . . as long as we are enjoying it and gaining the fulfillment we seek.

John Spoden said...

Some brilliant nomad said, The road Provides....it does provide different things at different times, eventually providing what each of us needs, at specific times, and in the end providing all things we needed for growth on our individual journey's, yet collectively in an undefinable way. We come and go, here and there, in and out of the lives of many, sometimes for a short time....sometimes for an eternity, sometmes like ships passing silently in the dark. In the end, the road provides, its all out there, thats why we go, ...to grow.

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Thanks for that, John. That speaks tons about our individual "Roads Less Traveled." I guess none of us know what beckons us. It might be likened to the songs of the Sirens of Greek mythology who lured sailor's to their dooms. Although, Jason and his Argonauts and Odysseus both managed to escape the lure of the Sirens. There is something that challenges us to see what's over the next hill and around the next bend...the road provides.

Sally Strackbein said...

Ed, Safe travels. You will connect with friends no matter where you go. You are a good friend to your current friends and you make new ones wherever you go. Have a wonderful journey and tell us when you will be back in town. I'd love to cook dinner for you.

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Thank you, Sally. My wealth is my friends. And, I just keep getting wealthier as I travel. I look forward to taking you up on that dinner next time I'm in your area. Best of the holiday season to you and Ray.
Ed