WanderingUpward is a creation born of my personal journey to find my own happiness. This journey has essentially been going on my entire life, just as it has with all of you, but it has not been until more recently that I developed the courage to consider my highest desires and most far-fetched dreams. But, to tell you about this part of the story, I feel compelled to tell you about what led up to it, although long, it just may change your life, or maybe not. (If you just want to find out the logistics of what this site is about, which I do not recommend, then you can just scroll down to the last paragraph on the page.)
For the past ten years, after graduating high-school in 2003, I have been working a 30hr/week job at UPS and attending classes, in pursuit of a degree in Electrical Engineering, at UCF and a local community college. As far back as I can remember I maintained an almost constant feeling of needing to work harder, be smarter, or do better before could allow myself to relax. Not realizing the detriment of this saddening level of conditionality I was putting on my own personal love and acceptance, I held my happiness out in front of myself like a carrot on a string – life was a chore. I didn’t have passion for the things I was doing, and the prize at the top of the mountain looked more like a dreary snow storm than a sun-touched oasis blooming with friendship, love, and fulfillment. I had two choices at this point – continue drudging, unconsciously forward, as my acquired security served as my only safety blanket, or dare to imagine a new future.
With child-like simplicity I sat down and began to day dream. What would happy Matt’s life look like? Where would he live? Who would he be in relationship with? How would he get money? What would his retirement look like? What would his priorities be? I didn’t negotiate my vision. I didn’t create a future which made best use of my previously acquired skills, and didn’t let it be limited by what I thought society, the economic situation, or the current “system” would allow. I based it off of what my heart desired.
From there, what I did next is…I DIDN’T make a plan. I just held the vision. I took refuge in it and reimagined it daily. Doubts would come into my mind, fear, confusion – I would just refocus on the vision, sometimes sitting for an hour or more trying to re-capture it, or making adjustments or reconsiderations. It seemed, and still seems, to work as a giant affirmation – anytime one imagines a future which is outside of one’s current belief system, the current belief (always negative in this case) will pop up and present its argument, “you can’t do that, you don’t like talking in front of people”, or , “that will never work, you’re too old.” Or it may be devoid of any words at all. It may just respond with a strong gut reaction of fear, which could be interpreted as, “NOOOOOOOOO, RUUUUUN FOR YOUR LIIFFFEEE” (puts head under covers). The way to respond to these arguments is simply by recreating the vision the best you can.
I also want to mention, at this point, that it sounds a lot better on paper (or screen in this case) than it actually was. I screwed this up very often. Many times I forgot all about it and went completely back into negativity and depression, and struggled back and forth, making compromises with my dream (the same dream I just said I made no compromises with). Hey, for all I know I may even give up tomorrow, but I don’t intend to. I also want to mention that the core of this vision is about moving toward happiness and listening to and trusting my inner self and my intuition, so if I fall short, which I have done (possibly more so than not), it is more important for me to love and forgive myself than to “pick myself up by the boot straps.”
I digress, and we should be getting toward the end here. Through dreaming, I realized that I want to be full of life. I want be madly in love with the people around me. I want to be active in the community, living fully in the moment, free of anxiety, free of depression, courageously honest, deeply in love with myself, fully engaged in my passions, and many more things. I want to look back on my life before I die and say, “Wow! That was beyond my wildest dreams.” I want to be a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. I want to be a catalyst for the change that leads us to a better future. Now, I may not achieve all, or any, of these things, but that is not what is important. What is important is the target, the goal. If we’re going to do hard work in this life we need to keep our eye on the prize. The prize is our true purpose in life. All of our prizes look different. If we are working toward our vision then we do not tire from our work – it actually energizes us. We do not dread education – we are thirsty for it. We don’t need to go on vacation – there is no reason to vacate our lives. We don’t need to retire – we are already doing exactly what we want to do.
In this spirit and fashion I have found myself ready to take the next big adventure in my life, on course to leave my job of ten years and take up traveling across the country on my mountain bike, and this is where WanderingUpward.org comes into the picture. What you will find here is a chronicle of my observations and experiences as I travel around the US in search of amazing people doing amazing things. Along the way I will be finding dreamers and doers that are working toward a positive vision of our future – the people that are joyously building the foundation which will transition us into sustainable life on this big blue marble.