On January 1st, I left my small hometown of Newport, Rhode Island where I had established career roots, most of my family, and tons of friends, to set out on a year long trip living one month in twelve cities. You can read the blog prior to this one for all the reasons why, but in essence it came down to a gut feeling and a desire to grow.
I’m writing and reflecting from Austin, Texas, my first “home” on the tour. It’s been a really interesting process of moving from a town where you walk into the single health food market in town and you know you’re going to see a handful of people you know, to a big city where you can count the number of people you know on three fingers. To make it a bit more intriguing, I’m here in Austin just a month before I head to the next city - consequently it’s not like I can really take my time to develop deep relationships. (Although, I have made tons of friends here in Austin super quickly. Tips on how to meet people in a new city is a blog for another time! Maybe a book on dating too, who knows. I’ve got some amusing stories already.)
Anyway, I’m so curious to see how this feels down the road. I’m only about three weeks in, but I can share with you my thoughts and feelings about what I’ve noticed so far. Since I let go of SO MANY things that defined me in Rhode Island - my yoga studio, my store on Thames Street, my Tuesday night yoga class, my relationship, my father, my friends, my town - I’m left with this rather fascinating self-study. Without all those things, who the heck am I now?
When I meet people here - they don’t have a preconceived idea about who I am because they know the group of people I hang out with. They aren’t a friend of a friend. They haven’t heard of me. They don’t know all the stupid stuff I did in college. They also don’t know all the incredible things I’ve overcome and accomplished that I’m really proud of, and that I define myself by. While this is pretty intriguing, and sort of exciting, what may be more stimulating is this subtle layer that’s also at play - I don’t have the comfortable, familiar narrative being reinforced back to me everyday. Hmmm.
My friend Alyson (my ONE girlfriend in Austin) and I were talking about this the other day, and she came up with a thought provoking distinction. Rather than, “recreating yourself” in a certain way - which I thought I’d be doing, it’s more a practice of “watching and discovering how your Self unfolds in this new situation”.
There’s something more spiritual about this idea, I guess. Rather than saying “I want to be THIS now” which feels more ego driven - it’s, “let me take a step back, and watch to see how I am and what I want and what I’m drawn to.” It’s more of an interplay between big “S” Self (universal consciousness, higher self, intuition, God, whateveryouwanttocallit) and small “s” self (personality, or ego).
I don’t think everyone needs to pack up their life and hit the road to have this kind of reflection (maybe just I do - haha). But I’ll tell you what, if feels abundantly important to be checking in with who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.