As a little girl, I remember the excitement I felt on the Fourth of July. Unlike most children who would stare awestruck at the bright and loud blazes of light dancing across the night sky I remember the feeling in my chest when I watched the American flag waving in the summer breeze, when I heard the star spangled banner streaming from the radio and my head swirled with the images of freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I was taught that these intangible ideals were a gift, an opportunity for someone like me, a young Puertorican girl in Brooklyn, New York, United States of America. My mother was the first generation of main-lander… in other words all Puertoricans are born US citizens but my mother’s generation was the first actually born here in the States. So, for my family, the ability to go to school and pursue career, home and all the fancy things in life was the way out, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In the years to follow, I adopted this American dream as my own and set out on a journey to pursue that dream of a college education, career, family with a husband, two children, home and dog… in other words I wanted it all.
It wasn’t long before my dreams and goals began to come into fruition, I attended college, climbed the ladder in my field of choice, found a mate and even contrary to medical knowledge bore a son. Yet, something was wrong. Despite my ability to set goals and achieve, to face adversity and conquer, to work and grow, I felt stifled and unfulfilled. As a spiritual person, I thought maybe I wasn’t spiritually strong enough, or connected enough in my relationship with my creator, or maybe needed work or growth. I found myself battling depression because despite what I did, it seemed the more I achieved my dreams, the more troubled my mind was. Did Biggie really get this one right? No…surely that couldn’t be.
So, in a bit of denial, I set out on a journey, one of spirit, prayer, learning and discovery. I searched for the source of my distress and a solution. I began to read and study, I found myself in prayer and meditating to evaluate myself inward. I was not wholly surprised by what I found, rather surprised that I had strayed so far from where and who I needed to be. While I attained the understanding of where I needed to be, the challenge was how to get there and where to find the courage to begin the journey. In addition to fear, surprise and uncertainty, I also felt the slightest elation, for at least I now had direction. To start working on the solution, I first had to address the problem: my dreams were never my own, at least not truly.
When I began the journey into adulthood, majority of my motivation was to please my family, I wanted more than anything for them to be proud of my accomplishments. But as I aged, instead of adding myself to the list, I added others to that list. By mid-twenties, I wanted to please my mate, amaze my employers, impress friends, be a good citizen, friendly neighbor and be the envy of acquaintances (and after a while even strangers). I found myself engrossed and obsessed with what others thought and felt about me. I found myself sleepless at night, my mind dizzy from dancing endless circles wondering about the things I could have done better and ways to get things I wanted. I worried if the ever mounting pressure continued, my once resilient self would buckle and I’d get a one way ticket to the cuckoos closet. I found that I could hide the disruption of myself only so long, despite my hidden talent of putting on happy face. Soon people began to notice that the once happy, outgoing and fun person I once was had gone missing. I had been replaced with a socially avoidant, stressed shell of a person who was a stranger to the same family and friends whom I had once adored. The next step did not restore any kind of relief either. In fact it was far from relief, it was worry and concern expressed in phrases like, are you for real…no seriously for real for real?
From the reactions, you would think that I hit rock bottom, or was in need of a doctor’s supervision. Quite the contrary, for the first time in my life I found a new dream. A dream all my own, outside of what others wanted or society deemed proper. I dug into my own soul and found the core of what made me happy and discarded anything and everything else. I decided that I wanted to change my life completely… that my life of living for family and myself would begin and my slavery to pleasing the world was over.
This transition was not overnight. In fact it is still in progress now. But at least the search is over. I know what I want for my life, the anxiety of impressions and appearance is over, the importance of objects and materialism no longer imprison me and I am finally free to be happy with myself, my mate and my son, what ever and where ever life brings us. The best part is that I found that the attachment to all of these things actually kept me distracted from real life. Now, I am free to see, experience and live all the beauty created by God without the haze of greed, desire and vanity.
I invite you to begin your own search for what makes you truly happy and to find the courage to pursue it. As for my family and I, we are beginning our own journey. Our next step is to secure our new dream home, a motor home, then begin the purge of our materialism. Follow us as we find our home, liquidate 80-90% of our wordly goods, and strip down to the actual essentials in life before we start out in our new dream life.
Stay posted for the story of our life as The Golden Gypsies as it unfolds...
Below are some quotes I found that were inspiration to us on our Search:
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly." –Henry David Thoreau
"Any so called material thing that you want is not for itself but because it will content your spirit for the moment." -Mark Twain
“Cure yourself of the affliction of caring how you appear to others. Concern yourself only with how you appear before God, concern yourself only with the idea that God may have of you.”
- Miguel de Unamuno quotes
"Much of our activity these days is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life."–Unknown
"There is something perverse about more than enough. When we have more, it is never enough. It is always somewhere out there, just out of reach. The more we acquire, the more elusive enough becomes." –Unknown
"Lust is all get. Love is all give." –Unknown
"Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss." –Doug Horton
"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." -Morrie Schwartz
"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life and the labors of life reduce themselves."-Edwin Way Teale
"Do not think me mad. It is not to make money that I believe a Christian should live. The noblest thing a man can do is, just humbly to receive and then go amongst others and give." –David Livingstone
The following quotes were taken from Present Day Nomads @ www.presentdaynomads.com---->