I want a simple life.
I want a car that runs, a dog that comes to me when I get home, a home filled with things I need, and people I love.
I don’t have a home now. The only belongings I carry fit inside of a backpack I can easily tuck away out of sight. I might only have a toothbrush and a clean shirt in there, but, I may need the rest of the space in the backpack for something I come across on my journey.
I picked this path, specifically, to see what I was made of, what I was truly made of. I’ve been labeled a nice guy, a sweetheart, a mama’s boy, a talent, a dreamer, gifted. Yet, I had never really taken a punch, or slept on the street, or said something obnoxious to a woman to see how she’d react. I was 25, a published author, and still at a loss for words.
I dropped out of school because the institution, the environment, couldn’t offer me the experience that the streets could. My weekly drives back home to run through my story with the editor turned into a permanent vacation from the life I was headed for.
I saw the future—wife, kids, modest home, college degree hung up on the wall next to my wife’s, a symbol of success and tradition. I was never a good student. Graduation seemed so final to me anyway. I didn’t want to graduate yet. I wasn’t ready to grow up. I realized growing up wasn’t necessary, for me, to be happy.
Happiness is fleeting. To be happy all the time meant the same as being dead. I needed the struggle, I needed the heartache, the frustration, the stress, the anxiety, the depression, in order to appreciate the happiness, in order to feel the good. I used to meditate so that I could live a life with less stress. It may have been helpful, but I’m not a passive animal. I get angry, I get confused, I get impatient, I get abused, I feel sadness, not just my own, but the sadness of others. I’m afraid to turn that part of me off. What would become of me?
I like to think I was responsible, but in retrospect, I am lucky to be alive. Just a little more of this that night, or a little more of that, and I would have been out like a light, forever. It wasn’t my sister that saved me. I made a choice to sleep on their couch for six months. I sobered up there. I hated myself probably more than ever. Although, I loved my sister more than I ever had and finally came to appreciate all that she’s worth. When someone’s so good at something, it’s easy to take it for granted. You’ll notice when it’s gone. If anything, that six months taught me to pay attention.
The universe isn’t done with me. I have a lot to learn, a lot of ground to cover. I sometimes wonder why am I so special to not have ended up with the wrong one by now. Why hasn’t it worked out with the ones that have come and gone? I don’t know. I’ve chosen to forget about that and focus on what really matters.
I made my life a livable hell so that I could be okay with sitting down here now to write about it.