As I ended the worst job of my life, a year long internship in a sexist office with the world’s worst communicator as boss, and I left my four year old best friend whom I’d grown attached to in a year of nannying, I sat in an empty room in an empty house and I felt so completely at peace with what lie ahead of me.
Like the blank walls of my now bare living room, the future was, and still is, an empty canvas. With no clue what I want to do for a career, and few certain goals in mind, I planned for the month following the end of my jobs to be a month void of typical adult responsibilities. Yes, I still have bills to pay, a bank account to manage, and jobs to apply for, but in my heart I knew I needed June to be a time of freedom, adventure, and spontaneity. The months leading up to June had me scheduling concerts, parties, and vacations that all just happened to be in June, so it seemed unlikely I’d be able to hold down a brand new job anyway, with such a sentiment, hippie June was born.
I drove the 3-ish hours home with the last remnants of my room piled into my car after one final Sunday service at my church. I already had plans to come back the following week; the Triangle had my heart, without knowing it, I had allowed this place to start becoming my home. Leaving should have seemed more difficult, but I’m operating under the impression that as hippie June ends, I will move back to the Raleigh area; I don’t worry about how I’ll get back, I know I’m meant to be there right now and that is enough. So I watched exit signs for Cary, Durham, and Chapel Hill fade away, and just like that, hippie June began.
I had high hopes for this month. I thought I’d find myself like hippies seem to do. I assumed I’d get up early and do yoga with the sunrise, never mind I have no experience with yoga. I thought I’d read insightful books and write insightful words. I grew up in the mountains and I felt certain the gorgeous landscape and surroundings would inspire me to be like a real hippie. Instead, I spent Monday morning, day one of hippie month, binging hours of Friends, not the best start, but the week as a whole proved productive and wonderful despite it’s lack of quintessential hippie-ness.
I planned, prepared for, and hosted a bridal shower for my brother’s fiancee. I painted shirts in preparation for an upcoming concert. I listened to Disney songs all day and baked a million cupcakes. I pushed my ankle despite a recent injury, running more than previous weeks post injury. I hiked a mountain; I caught up with an old friend. I sat in the same little Mexican restaurant we’d always eaten at in high school and ate the same drowning in cheese arroz con pollo and it was all familiar, but all different. I picked wildflowers on the side of the road and enjoyed the company of my family. I cried listening to music. I spent time with new friends, getting to know them by a bonfire. I had a million thoughts, reflected on countless things. I was tired and alive. It was a good week.
The first week of hippie June was marked with infinitely more planning and preparation that traditionally associated with that of a free spirit, but it still reaped the sort of reward I was hoping to get from my time on unemployment and growth.
Reflecting on it all, I thought of the importance of being present. I thought about the way I’d been able to appreciate so many little things without the preoccupation of job responsibilities looming overhead, and I vowed to focus more on the moment I am in even when hippie June is over. I gained so much from quiet moments painting, from looking at waterfalls while hiking, from listening to strangers that I want to be my friends because I wasn’t thinking ten steps ahead, or even one step ahead.
There’s an unexplainable peace in slowing life down to the speed of just that one moment. There’s something undeniably fulfilling about being only there at that time, knowing that you are absorbing that time for all that it can offer, whether the moment is good or bad, knowing that you’re experiencing it in full. Anxiety and worry fade away; there is a greater appreciation for life in living it that way.
Hippie June week 2 is upon us, and as I’m writing this, it’s already looking like an interesting time. I’ll try to keep you all up to speed. Let me hear your thoughts on life and whatever below.