As time begins to wind down to my departure for Europe, I have been enjoying connecting with family and friends before I leave on my sabbatical. Much great food, drink and laughter have been shared…and maybe even a few tears. The wonderful people in my life have been so amazing and supportive of my somewhat bold decision to thrown in the towel at my fairly well paying but high stress job, wipe the slate clean, and head off to a great unknown adventure in Europe.
With good intentions and best wishes in check, the same questions always (understandably) arise. What do I have planned to do and accomplish during this great span of time that I have in Europe? What do I want to see, learn and achieve? All of the people who are close to me know how I typically like to try to control, shape and organize all aspects of my life into submission, so understandably find it hard to believe that I don’t have timetables, schedules, itineraries and a to do list as long as my arm ready. Surely good old Robert wants to hit the ground running in Europe and never stop, right? Wrong. “Good old” Robert is riding in the back seat on this journey.
All of these valid questions boil down to one general word, why? Why Europe, why for so long, why give up my job, why now…Why? And for the first time in my life, it feels liberating and marvelous to say, I have no idea. Just because. Just because I feel viscerally like it is what I need to do at this time, with every fiber of my being. Just because I want to. It is something that has been percolating under the surface for many years, and I have decided to no longer postpone taking risks to do the things that I am truly most passionate about. As an individual who has always tried to have sound, solid, logical answers to everything, it is freeing to finally say “Just because”.
The more I think about it, “just because” should be a fine, perfectly acceptable response to such questions. Aren’t we all entitled to do things large or small just because it feels good, or brings us some measure of fulfillment or joy? More importantly, just because we know that it feels right at a deeper, unspoken level. It doesn’t need to be an epic gesture, why can’t we just have that second glass of wine or piece of cake…just because. Pick up that camera, pen, paint brush or saucepan and try a creative outlet that we have always been called to, just because. Who cares if what is created is a masterpiece or something that we will never share with anyone else? Do it just because you want to. Begin to break the stranglehold of conformity and express your best, creative, wild self. Do it free of judgement, or owing an explanation to anyone…as long as what you are doing comes from a place of light and love.
I want to share a few quotes from a book that I am currently reading that summarize my thoughts on the time I will be spending in Europe perfectly. In Seasons in Basilicata, author David Yeadon breaks down the concept of “computational irreductibility” from Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science in layman’s terms as “the only way to know what systems will do is just to turn them on, let them run, and then try to make sense of their unexpected and unpredictable patterns and outcomes.” That certainly sounds a lot like letting go of control in order to give way to destiny and possibility to me. At another point in the book he says “GO SOUTH, a voice insisted. TODAY. NOW! This was my favorite inner voice – the impulsive, occasionally intrepid, explorer voice, and the one I invariably follow. He always seems to know intuitively what I want to do, no matter how much I might try to propose or rationalize other perfectly reasonable options.” I too know that voice well.
And there you have it friends. My favorite inner voice has spoken, GO TO EUROPE. NOW! Go to Europe and let the systems run. See where the road leads you and life takes you. Embrace the unexpected and unpredictable outcomes. Be totally present in the moment now more then ever before. Go to Europe Robert, Just because.
A few best moments from my travels…looking forward to the continuing journey.