I’m writing like a maniac, for one. Maybe you’ve noticed? 🙂
For two, the arrival of spring is making me itchy to walk. I just want to walk and walk and walk and walk not come home for 7 weeks. And this is just not like me! I’m a homebody, a couch potato, a weekend hiker (but nothing more strenuous than 4 miles on flat terrain). Seriously!
If you are thinking about doing the Camino, beware. You might not be able to stuff back in the urge to just be out there walking, ever again.
I keep trying to be a serious grown-up and do the work I’ve cultivated over the years, but all I want to do is walk. I especially want to be walking with people who feel this same desire to be out living life! Sharing stories. Sharing meals. Sharing the adventure of being alive.
So I’m doing something with that. I’m planning a walk this spring, in honor of the 1st anniversary of my Camino. It will take about 4 days to complete, and I’ll be inviting friends to join me. I’m not sure if that will quench the need, but I’m giving it a shot.
Aside from the maniacal urge to walk, I’m giving serious thought to my livelihood. I don’t just mean what I do for pay. I mean, what am I here to do? What is my calling? I’d be lying if I said that the Camino didn’t change my perspective. It has.
I’ve become acutely aware that there’s no such thing as destiny. You get just one life and you can decide to make it an adventure — or you can stay on the couch. It may not matter in the end what you do, so you might as well do what you love while you’re here.
This isn’t cynical or hedonistic as it sounds, I just mean: get off my duff and start living, for God’s sake. Stop thinking. Stop trying to make it perfect before you take action. Stop doing the “shoulds” and start doing the “want tos.” Stop caring what everyone else thinks and do what you want.
It’s a terrible, wonderful place to be in. I love it/hate it. A lot. I blame it on just turning 41. At this stage of life, some people go and buy a Maserati or a (insert trendy sports car here). Not me.
What’s that mean for me?
Walking through Castilla y Leon, I encountered huge gardens (or were they small farms?) that were the stuff of my dreams. Neat rows of potatoes, onions, and greens stretching back to the hedgerows. An occasional hive of bees. I would have happily moved right in and become a farm hand.
I want this to be my life. I want it yesterday. The garden, the orchard, the ADHD chickens, I want all of it. And given the realities of my financial life, bringing this dream to fruition could be a decade away, or more. This pains me, frustrates me, depresses me in one fell swoop. At the moment, I have no idea how to accelerate the process. Stuck. That’s where I am with this. (If you’ve got a million laying around, let me know.) The stuckness could shift, it may shift, I just don’t know how yet.
I want it so bad, I can taste it.
I knew about my garden dreams when I was ON the Camino, but the other Big Thing I’m working on, related to livelihood, is a book.
I’m about 16,000 words into the process of writing this non-fiction piece. It’s too soon to report here what it’s about or when it will be released, but I never dreamed I’d aspire to writing a book. Now I am. I’m actually writing it. In fact, when I’m not dreaming about the orchard and honeybees, I’m working on the book — or writing here on my blog.
The fact that I’m sneaking in all this writing around my normal work, without it feeling like work to me, is a very interesting (even stunning) phenomenon. Because if I think I’m sneaking in work under the guise of fun, oh no. I won’t fall for that one. All this writing just because makes me think I’m going in a good direction.
I’ll eventually fill you in, if you’re curious. Just follow the blog here and you’ll get the updates.
Other post-Camino insights
I like my life lessons in tidy little packages – comprehensible, digestible, and connected to the other things I’ve learned. But the Camino gives you what you need, not what’s comfortable. Even a year later, I’m still working out the meaning of circumstances and events that don’t fit elegantly into my perception of myself or the path I’m on.
The Camino shook me. I don’t like it, but I’m glad it did. That’s why I went. More on this as the writing unfolds this year.
I get to see Scott and Gary this month (haven’t written much about them yet, but they featured *significantly* on my Camino). I’ve heard from The Girls (Muriel, Marisela, and Katrin) several times over the last year — as well as my distinguished Kiwi friend, Don. What a blessing they are to me!
Thanks to Facebook, I’ve “friended” a half-dozen other pilgrims I met on the Way and love being connected to them to see how their paths unfold.
So that’s the update
Life, livelihood, fun, meaning and, I hope, a lot more of all of these yet to come – for me and for you!