Even though I grew up in the lovely burbs near north Denver, I still get creeped out and lost when I get into the neighborhoods, the off-grid streets, the winding drives and huge houses occupying massive lots. The trash that is lined up at the end of every driveway on the exact same day of every week.
It’s strange. I should feel comfortable there, but the more I’m there, the more I feel I don’t belong. But where do I belong?
Now that I’m back in the USA, I’m often asked to watch people’s house and pets when they go away. I get to spend time feeling what it’s like to own a house, have more than one day’s food in my pantry, how it is to own something. It’s a fun and strange experience. It makes me wonder if I’ve missed out on something, if I would be somebody different if I spent time accumulating things instead of relationships and experiences. Sometimes it makes me jealous. I don’t have much of anything, especially not a savings account. I’m so far from buying a house or a car that it’s not even an option. Sometimes it’s funny. Other times I feel like I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I’m lucky to know a lot of writers, artists and entrepreneurs in the same position as I am. We struggle and hustle and sometimes wonder what the hell we are doing it for. We hope that it’s for the right reason and maybe someday we’ll get recognized and be able to buy our own ‘stuff.’ But often, that’s not the path. Being away from your own place gives you time to reflect and recommit to the lifestyle you’ve chosen. It gives you the chance to remember why you are where you are and how you can make it better.
It also shows you that there are lots of different paths to take, but you have to commit eventually to one. Throwing all of your energy into what you do best makes you focus on who you are and what your purpose is. It shows you that there’s no need to be comparing yourself to others because so far, you’re pretty fucking amazing.
It’s hard to not compare yourself to others, especially when it seems that you are without. There are certain societal expectations of what you should have or who you should be, but most of the time, we put them on ourselves. Nobody really cares that I don’t own anything, or that I’m not on the path to buying something big. I’m the one comparing myself to other people. In fact, a lot of those people are the ones who love me and push me to keep on doing what I’m doing.
So why do we compare ourselves at all?
I actually think its OK to do, as long as we don’t obsess. Just for a few days, it’s kind of fun to try on a different life and realize that you’re doing all right…in fact, you might even like where you are and what you don’t have…you might even be on the path to amazing. If not, you always have the chance to re-envision where you want to be and move towards it.
All I know is that after stepping out of other people’s places, I’m excited to be back in my own space again. I don’t want to get stuck in the trap of seeing what I am without, because there is so much that I have that has no price tag.
I’ve created something that I can carry with me anywhere I go.