Things we have learned along the way
As we are taking time out of our world tour to spend time with a family member who is approaching the end of his life, we also have time to reflect on the things we have learned over the past two years. The act of sharing a home with a loved one in hospice, being available to care for and provide what comfort we are able, cannot help but make us reflect on what we think we know.
Now, I have long had a closely held belief that there are no facts, only perspective; no truth, only opinion. Whether you take this as philosophy from Marcus Aurelius, Gustave Flaubert, or the Boomtown Rats, it’s a thought with deep roots. So, when I talk about what we’ve learned, I am talking about my own truth. Sometimes, we have the ability to change personal truths.
The first “biggie” lesson we picked up was the power of “Acting As If.” We had been talking about traveling the world, and even imagined ourselves living overseas or taking an extended trip. It was an abstract idea that seemed somewhat unlikely, but there was no reason we could find to prevent us from trying.
I’d heard the idea I am calling “Acting As If” from a writer who said that when she started her first novel, the best advice she was given was to call herself an author and to tell people she was writing a book. With conviction; just a fact. She now has several published books to her name, and passes this thought on to would-be writers. Present yourself to others as what you want to be, and you will begin believing it yourself. In believing, you can become.
There was a day when we decided to begin to act as if our big adventure would actually happen. Instead of thinking of a trip like this as a dream, a someday thing, we began to pretend that it was our future reality. When people asked what we were going to do with ourselves after the sale of Rock Springs Ranch, we started to tell them we were going to take the girls out of school and travel around the world.
It felt a little dishonest at first. We had no idea if we could actually put it together, and talking about plans when they might not come through seemed a bit like we were getting ahead of ourselves. But, we also figured if we did not act committed, we wouldn’t be. Over time, we began to believe what we were saying, at least most of the time.
As a part of acting as if our wandering would happen, we began to build a list. Those things we would need to accomplish or put in place to be able be gone and to travel for an extended period. Still somewhat unsure, we knew that if we did not work on our list, things would most certainly not come together. And so, again, we began to “Act As If.”
Gradually, acting as if it would happen moved us closer and closer to making this trip a reality, both in our to-do list and in our own minds. What had felt like pretence became our truth.