I recently turned 35, and I wasn’t happy about it. Part of that was it seemed after working most of my life, the only thing I could do to support my family is drive a truck despite being more than qualified to do many other jobs. Part of it is being away from family and friends. I didn’t celebrate my birthday this year – I was alone and just didn’t see the point.
Then I started writing a survival story. Those of you who know me well and who’ve been reading can see parallels between my protagonist and me, I’m sure. It didn’t occur to me until later that I was writing my story in allegorical form. The struggle to survive, the struggle to find what it is I’m looking for, the struggle to find peace and balance and live each day in harmony with the universe.
I’ve made some decisions lately that will prove to be rather disruptive to my fat and complacent life, and I’m proud of myself for doing so. I’m becoming a vegetarian. I’m a Buddhist, and seeing that the Buddha teaches living in peace with all creatures, eating meat goes against that principle. I’m doing this for myself – nobody else. Physically, ethically, spiritually, this is the right decision to make for myself.
I’ve decided to finish the story. I’m currently working on Part XII, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long, but I only work on it in my spare time on the road. I spent much of March at home, so there was no chance to work on it. After I complete this part I will no longer publish it for free on this site. I’m developing the story into a novel and I’m already 1/3 of the way there. I’ve given away the first two chapters, the rest you’ll have to pay for if I find someone willing to publish it.
I’ve made peace with my career path. Driving is what I do. I bring you your soap and cereal and peat moss and onions and potatoes – raw and chips – and so many other commodities you use in your daily lives, and I’m ok with that. I don’t have a boss lurking over my shoulder making sure I’m filling out a TPS report instead of playing Tetris; I don’t have to listen to passengers whine about being hungry or having to pee or asking when will we get there umpteen times; I wake when I wake, sleep when I sleep, and see majestic and magnificent things every day. The dark night sky is my roof at night, the sun and moon my traveling companions. I miss my friends and my family, but frankly this is who I am. I’m a rover, and I’m bound to drive away, but eventually I will return for a short time.
I’m not upset about getting older. I’m 35 years old. I’ve lived to see amazing things, and we truly do live in a fascinating modern age. Age is not something to dread, but to welcome. As a recap, here is what I’ve learned:
Peace can only come from within. Depending on outside circumstances for inner peace will only leave you tossed about like in a whirlwind.
True change will only come about when you truly want it. Only then will you have the strength of will to chase after it regardless of setbacks.
Do what you love. It doesn’t matter if you get paid for it or not.
Find a creative outlet for your emotions. Holding things in does you no good. Channel them into something positive and creative. Learn to paint, play a musical instrument, take up photography. Don’t do it for recognition, do it for yourself.
Be who you are. As the late great Mr. Rogers used to say,
“God loves you just the way you are.”
This is true. Whether you believe in one god or have need of many or even none, you are loved by someone just the way you are. I wish I could hug you all myself.
Money is not the root of all evil. The LOVE of money is. Money is a tool – wielded properly it brings prosperity to all. Wielded improperly – well, we know what happened in 2008. Greed will ultimately destroy everything if left unchecked.
Do not try to impose your morals on another person. We all come from different places, even living next door to someone. If you do not drink alcohol, do not judge others who do. If you do not eat meat, do not judge others who do. It is okay to reach out and tell others your beliefs, and explain why you live this certain lifestyle, but do not try to force your beliefs down someone else’s throat. It will only cause resentment. The best way to reach out to others is to show them love. Now if you see someone has a problem with addictions, it is important to try to help them. If they will not listen, though, there is nothing you can do to help them. They can only change when they are truly ready to change.
If someone asks for help, give it. In doing so you help yourself more than them.
Treat others with love, kindness and respect.
Perception determines your reality. If you choose to perceive nothing but evil intent and negativity in people, your reality will reflect that. You will draw negative people to yourself like moths to a flame and this will only strengthen your bad perception. Choose to see the good; choose to see the positive. It takes time, but you will eventually learn to change your perception of the world and you will see your world change. Then you will learn it is not the world which has changed, only you.
These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned, some more recently than others. Take heart, my friends! We are all on this journey together, for a time. Let’s make the most of it!