The evening of my law school convocation, I found myself in a university bar chatting with a woman from my graduating class. At one point during our conversation, she commented on how much more at peace I seemed to be. I laughed and remarked that the last time we had seen each other we were both in the throes of final exams. Everyone at the bar from our graduating class was feeling more relaxed and at peace. She shook her head and said it was more than that; I seemed more centered than I had ever been. I cocked my head to the side and looked at this woman very deeply for the first time since I had known her. I was intrigued. Here was a person with whom I had very little interaction during my three years of legal study, and yet she had somehow picked up on the difference that I had felt in my core. I thought that the ‘awakening’ that I had experienced during my journey across Canada and the States was something much more personal and discrete. Sure, I felt more at ease with myself and in my surroundings, but I didn’t think that it was something noticeable to other people. It never felt so good to be wrong!
I told my friend about the journey I had taken and the profound sense of self-enlightenment that I had felt as I approached the Rockies (See track 5). I then quoted a line from “City Slickers” and told her that during my pilgrimage across the prairies, I had somehow stumbled upon the ‘one thing’ that brought peace and meaning to my life.
It was simple. But very true. Balance.
My friend looked at me for a moment, nodded and smiled. We began to talk about something else.
Had she allowed me to continue, I would have told her that as my soul screamed to the towering peaks before me, the pressures, pain, anxieties and self doubt that I had allowed to consume me were being released. I simply let go of the personal baggage I was carrying – relationships, education, employment, feelings of failure, worries about disapproval and disappointment , everything– and allowed myself the possibility of a do over.
You see, for much of my life I tried to play every role that I lived to perfection – brother, son, student, friend, companion, lover, or worker. I dove into every character hoping to be and do what others expected of me. Unfortunately I never gave recognition to what I wanted. And thus, I rarely felt excited with or enthralled about whatever I was doing.
As I drove into the mountains, in an epiphany that changed my life, I realized that what I wanted was of the utmost importance and it alone had to rest on one scale while the needs of everyone else sat crowded on the other. For the first time since starting my road trip, I had felt that I wasn’t running away from my life, but rather racing towards it. The Rockies symbolized a fresh start where nothing was known, determined, or arranged. I could take off the weights of friends, family and my interpretation of their expectations and set my scales to zero. I finally felt in charge of my life and the only baggage I had left was packed with clothing and cosmetics. I felt and continue to feel balance.
I have come to realize, however, that balance is very difficult to maintain. As roles change and responsibilities become bigger different facets of me take on increasingly more weight. One way of maintaining a sense of equilibrium is through an understanding and acceptance of my own limitations.
It is for this reason that I must take a step back from my goal. I need to balance the journey on which I find myself with the needs of my family, friends and self. As I have said before, there are not enough hours in my day. I need to live life and enjoy the people I am priviliged to have in mine in order to write my reflections.I will still try to write three or four posts a week, but alas the publish button will not be hit every day.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, is one of my favorite U2 songs. It takes me back to a party where three friends and I stood together and acted out every word to every song on the ‘Joshua Tree’ album. I also remember standing outside a friend’s house and quoting the title to a very dear friend of mine as I revealed the deep seeded sense of unsettled, discontentedness that haunted my soul.
Although I often stumble and still fall prey to the pressures of everyday life, and anxieties related to family, friends and work, I can honestly say that I have found what I was looking for many years ago. I have a better understanding of who I am and strive to maintain the sense of self that I found hiding in the mountains of Western Canada.
Everyone has that ‘one thing’, strive to find your own!
I Still Haven’t Found What I’mLooking For youtube link