I think I have understood and operated by the idea of 'with or without' for a long time. When given the choice to make something work as is or get something new, I always go with 'if its not broke don't fix it.' As far as I can remember, I have always been quite frugal. That said, I recognize I've had the privilege of choosing to be so. I've never been in a position where I didn't have a support system to help me through if something got bad, which I feel has helped me choose less.
My developing interest in simple living/ minimalism/ intentionality/ mindfulness/ life design/ whatever you want to call it has caused me to think a bit about this, both consciously and subconsciously. Also leading me to write today is the London and Greece trip Kris and I just had the pleasure of taking. I find I always end up pondering and researching cultural differences when I travel to far off lands, and 'with or without' was quite a constant consideration on this trip. We landed in London at a time where they are digging more practically into what 'Brexit' is actually going to look like. We landed in Greece in the midst of more political upheaval over their debt and austerity measures. These travels next to one another did a lot to illuminate 'with and without,' 'have and have not.'
Britain wants out of an alliance created in homage of 'all over one,' and Greece is demonstrating how, despite good intentions, 'all over one' can be very difficult to execute. It was very interesting to have conversations with people from both places IN both places. Part of this is because it made me feel proud that Kris and I work to keep ourselves informed and empathetic and it shows. Most of it was because it gave me an even clearer sense of how nothing is universal, yet there are many ties that bind. More and more so.
My train of thought on this is not sure which station to pull into, so I may let it hang in the air for a bit. Back to the pull-together idea of 'with and without.' A major thing I noticed, particularly in Greece, was space use. Space in aged major metropolitan areas is really at a premium. I again realized, over and over, how truly young the United States is in the grand scope of 'history as we know it.' Standing among remnants of 7000+ year-old civilizations did that to me, even though it was really hard to completely comprehend how ancient the things I was seeing really are. Back to space. Though I have indeed thought about it before, I was struck by how tiny the streets were. No parking lots. More people on the streets. Coming home to big streets and parking lots was both shocking and completely unsurprising.
There is plain surprise for me in how much I actually did crave open space after being in Athens for the last three days of our trip. I really do (and I'm sure I'm not alone) take for granted not only the amount of space we have here, even in the midst of our metro area, but also how clean it is. How our public spaces are in general so well taken-care-of. I found myself realizing that as much as I love travel and adventure in general, I do crave home. Routine/ rhythm. Place.
I wish to think of myself as a constant adventure-seeker. In this, I was sort of disappointed in myself when, four days out from the end of the trip, I started to feel antsy to come home. To get back to work. The more I thought about it, I also realized that the later of those two statements was a large part of why I was ready to 'get back to it.' I love my work. I am fortunate to spend almost all of my time doing things I truly enjoy, and that goes not only for my work, but all components of my life.
Adventure-seeking comes in more forms than just travel. As the result of a lot of personal work in learning to be mindful, I am coming to believe more and more that all the things we choose to experience, should we choose to see them this way, can be adventure. So here's to the adventure of owning a home. Of building my own work in something I care deeply for. In loving my people. In tasting my food.
With/out space. With/out time. With/out energy. Onward.