A few days ago, I filled my car with gas, realizing that it was the last time that I was feeding this loyal beast. At just under 100,000 miles, she's never let me down. I've cared for her tenderly and fixed her few ailments and she's rewarded me by taking me hither and yon without complaint. Now I'm selling her to Schwern and it almost feels like betrayal.
I just bought my last bag of coffee beans over here. I walk by buildings and wonder if I'll see them again. I don't remember going through this years ago, when I moved to Amsterdam. But then, I wasn't a regular blogger at the time and this pseudo-memory wasn't available to me.
Unlike my rather disastrous adventure in Amsterdam, I've prepared carefully this time. All of the legal "t"s and "i"s are crossed and dotted. I've carefully built a solid resume, continuously improved my craft and blogged relentlessly with the intent of keeping my name out there. I volunteered for the Perl Foundation, wrote articles and, by a curious stroke of luck, have my name on the cover of a book.
It's not blind luck, though. Lady Luck has keen eyes and if you keep working at something, breaks come your way from time to time, so long as you're paying attention. And I have. Years of dreaming and always keeping this possibility in the back of my mind have paid off; I'm moving to the UK. I'm also getting rid of most of my possessions and have already started thinking about how my retirement will work out, decades from now. That will probably be my next big goal.
But what's a goal? Why do we have them? Many folks think that their purpose in life is to achieve their goals. They're wrong. Once you achieve your goals, then what? Is it time to die? No! They have it backwards. Their goal in life should be to follow their purpose and each person's purpose is to understand their driving needs and pursue them with integrity.
My driving needs are adventure, learning, and challenging assumptions (rebellion, if you will). Those are a dangerous combination and if I didn't know what they were, I'd still follow them, but perhaps in an unhealthy manner. How many people, not consciously understanding their driving need for adventure wind up cheating on a spouse? If they consciously knew that adventure was so important to them, there are plenty of ways they could satisfy this need without being dishonest.
Others have different driving needs. Some need security or comfort (and not in the Maslow's Hierarchy sense) and find themselves too timid to take risks. Others have a driving need for justice and that, particularly when combined with a sense of adventure or rebellion, can lead them to do stupid things. Witness the Earth Liberation Front.
So my needs for adventure and learning have led me to pursue moving to Europe with a focus which has surprised me. It took me years to find my brother; it's taken me years to move to Europe. Anyone familiar with me knows that I'm often not a good "long-term project" kind of guy. I have a huge library of partially read computer books. I have tons of unfinished software projects on my computer. I have a screenplay I should rewrite but probably won't. But somehow I've pulled it all together enough to relentlessly pursue Europe.
The beast of my purpose, however, is only temporarily sated. It's gorging itself on the prospect of new adventure and learning but my rebellious streak is a separate creature altogether and it's one I've not entirely tamed. If anything will be my downfall, it's the latter.
I have just over a week left in the US and most of that time will be spent with Sean and Lil, the two people in my life who mean the most to me. They're both brilliant and wonderful people and leaving them is going to be the most difficult part of all of this. I don't mean that to slight the others who are close to me, but without Sean and Lil, gallivanting off to a new life would be much easier.
I'll keep blogging and letting people know what I'm up to. I'll read your blogs and keep track of your lives. I'll miss all of you -- a phone call or a blog entry isn't the same -- but I'll make new friends, too. Life is going to get very interesting soon.