I know most of the population of the World is in the middle of the chaos of Christmas day. I however, choose to not participate. I used to love Christmas, the decorations, the music, the chaos, but about 6 years ago I lost my love for it. The idea of a “War on Christmas” is so ludicrous. Christmas has proclaimed war on every other holiday. The decorations go up earlier and earlier every year. The clerks wishing me a happy holiday happens so much sooner.
I choose to spend my day with good friends and merrily eating and drinking great food and great wines. I also choose to watch endless episodes of bad movies. Maybe I could incorporate a game session in there as well. I have not spent the holidays with family, other than my children since 1998. I have avoided family and going home. What I realized at that time was that family stressed me out. People trying to create the perfect holiday were not celebrating, but rather being slaved by ideology. The year that I finally said no more Christmas was the best year of my life. There was no stress, no money issues, just spending time together, doing fun things.
As I head into the next year, it is a time of reflection. I look back on the last year, and look for improvement in the coming year. Last year was a whirlwind of chaos and change for me. I finally got my settlement, this gave me the freedom to not worry about money so much. I quit my job, I biked across the continent, I gave up most of my worldly possessions and I found strength I never knew I had. On New Years day of 2013, I did something I had never tried before, I made a big batch of Hopping Johns and had friends over for a meal. We looked up why this was a traditional meal on the First of the New Year. We discussed the meaning and we spent time together.
So, if you have never done so, I highly suggest you do this. Here are two recipes, Thug Kitchen and the Post Punk Kitchen, both have great recipes. Remember the idea is to share and by sharing you prosper. BTW, liquid smoke is amazing, and if you get the right brand it is literally just liquid smoke. No funny business, no preservatives, just smoke liquified. This is done with a condenser, similar to that found in a still, for those that were curious.
If you have been a follower, you are aware of the major changes about to happen in my life again. I have been accepted into the Peace Corps and am just waiting for my assignment. This is the year I get off this land mass and explore more of the World. I am excited and scared at the same time. I am a bit sad to leave Richard, but since I left this summer, our relationship was so much stronger.
I look forward to learning about another culture, another way of life and about myself as well. I hope to have some power and some internet so I can blog about my adventure, but if not, when I get back, there will be a massive blog series to be published. Leaving behind my best year so far, I embrace the future, but not for myself. I embrace the future for humanity. I look forward to a greater understanding of other cultures.
I admit this last year has been full of new challenges for me. The challenge to live small, to let go, and to embrace change. I gave up my job of 9 years last June. All the stability was gone in an instant. What I realized was that I needed that change. I needed to understand the lifestyle of a gypsy. You see that is what I truly am. Not so much as heritage, but as learning to embrace the moment and to be fluid with one’s surroundings. I want to experience life, not watch it go by. I have wasted 40 years of my life adhering to a lifestyle that is not my first love. Once I realized it, there was no turning back.
My ultimate dream is to live on a sailboat off the coast of the Mediterranean. I want to wake up to the water lapping at my doorstep, the smell of seawater, the amazing cultural diversity and the carefree spirit that living upon the sea provides. I want the struggles and challenges of life to be meaningful, not just about money and possessions. I want to be free, free to live life to the fullest. Currently I am reading the book: “How to Be Free”, by Tom Hodgkinson. It is amazing the things I already knew and how easy it is to escape the struggle of a life enslaved to banks.
I yearn for a society that was based on barter and trade to fulfill needs, not working 40+ hours a week just to survive. Too exhausted when you get home to spend time with your family, too stressed about money to enjoy the simpler things in life, yes these are the ideas that I have given up. I am fortunate enough to have money to allow me the freedom to give up those things, but in reality, you do not need money to do that. You need friends and you need the ability to give up life as you know it. If you let go of everything but what you can carry on a bike, you suddenly realize that working a few hours a week just to get by seems so much more realistic.