“I don’t know when we’ll meet again or what’ll happen in the future, but Desolation, Desolation, I owe so much to Desolation, thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned all. Now comes the sadness of coming back to cities and I’ve grown two months older and there’s all that humanity of bars and burlesque shows and gritty love, all upsidedown in the void…”
I finally finished reading The Dharma Bums, by that wonderful, illuminating man Jack Kerouac. We experience the world through Ray Smith, in his journey through life as a Buddhist, just searching for truth and how to exist. The last ten pages are the saddest and most peaceful. After spending the summer in complete solitude, atop a mountain, overlooking the rest of the world for miles around, the book ends with the end of summer and thus the end to this solitude. He’s found complete happiness, yet he cannot continue it. Instead he has to go back to this world, full of “bars and burlesque shows and gritty love.”
I was upset for him, but he wasn’t. He was simply moving on to his next adventure, whatever that was.
There is no way to move forward by merely existing in your own happiness. Life only begins at the end of your comfort zone, and happiness is only created through new experiences. Anything less becomes stagnant and stale.
At the end of last year, I was terrified. I was allowing my life to become stale in the name of love. I told myself that I could be happy where I was, that my life could be what I wanted if I stayed. I knew it wasn’t true though, simply because it wasn’t what I wanted.
I still haven’t addressed exactly why I moved to California. The best reason I’ve given was “why not?” That’s somewhat adequate, but no longer sufficient. The reason that I decided to move across the country is simple: I needed to do something big. I needed to prove to myself that I could. I needed a change, and the most appealing one was the biggest thing that I could think of. It was in pursuit of a new career, sure, but that wasn’t the entire reason, nor was the nice weather, nor was the fact that it was so far away. It’s because it wasn’t easy. It’s because for so long, I’d just been coasting through life, letting things come to me. That was working pretty well, honestly. Somehow my entire life had consisted of good things just finding their way to me.
And then it didn’t work, anymore. Then I was dealing with the most difficult ten or so months of my life. It was the first time I had truly understood that life was not easy, that it wasn’t supposed to be. That my life may had been comfy for a while, but enough was enough. It was time for more.
Everything in this blog has been so much more than merely recounting the events that led me to this point. That was never the intention, as difficult as that’s been for some to comprehend. It’s been a difficult, fantastic, emotional journey. Simple events have no impact on a person’s life, not mine nor anyone else’s. People do not learn or change simply from things happening to them, or even from their own actions. What matters is how we interpret those events, those actions, how we react to them on an emotional level, and what we take away from them.
I may not have chosen to leave my comfort zone, but I’m glad that it happened. I needed it. I didn’t know what I wanted with my life, but I did know I didn’t like the direction that it was going. As hard as that time was for me, it’s a period that I’ll always remember fondly, because without those people and what they did, I don’t know where my life would be, and it’s currently going in a fantastic direction.
So I told the internet what I had gone through, only to convey a true sense of just how detrimental it all was to my emotional state. It was devastating. It was difficult. It made me realize just how much more there is to life. Everything that happened during that year was important, but what matters is how much I learned and changed from it all.
In short, I moved to California to learn how to live.
And hey, with less than two months in my internship, I’m now getting paid and have the title of head writer, so that’s pretty cool, too.