Red Leather and Cappuccino
The actual process of upending your secure existence to start anew is both easier and more difficult than one might imagine. I was quite surprised at how simple it was to quit my career and sell my home, while simultaneously gut-wrenching to part with the pair of four dollar red leather pants I found in a thrift store, only worn thrice, but which brought me so much disturbing joy.
Now, I imagine that every person who has elected to take a more cavalier approach to life and go into an elective mid-life crisis on their own terms has different results, as well as a few regrets (for example: red leather pantless Halloweens). But for most of the people I meet, it remains one of the greatest decisions of their lives.
One oddly incomprehensible part of the process after deciding to sell most of your accumulated stuff comes when you are forced to realize that the rest of the world has not been coveting all your possessions. Virtually no one has spent countless hours scheming how to lay hands on your collection of 1970s disco memorabilia or the pair of gloves you were wearing when you met and shook hands with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. And, believe it or not, your neighbors aren't jealous that you have an original acrylic on barn wood painting of the phrase "I'd rather be fish'n" hanging in your living room. And, inconceivably, fist fights don't break out at your garage sale because you decided to offer the highest bidder a crack at the replica of Stonehenge you made out of dominos. After decades of treasuring these assorted bits of matter and making difficult decisions based on "but what will become of my attic full of beanie babies if I take this new job and relocate?" it turns out that no longer being the proud owner of an attic full of beanie babies hasn't diminished your life at all. Once this epiphany hits you others are quick to follow. Perhaps I could live without my Great Aunt Myrtle's rooster tea kettle and my surviving half set of Lorenzo Lamas coasters.
The crazy part is, the less time, money, energy, and well, . . . life you spend on these things, the more you have for people. When you don't have to re-alphabetize your beanie babies and polish Aunt Myrtle's tea kettle you have the opportunity to go to the assisted living and actually visit Aunt Myrtle. Just don't bring up the tea kettle.
Vacations, as a general rule, are mostly about having fun - unless you go on vacation with or tend to be an uptight control freak - and, barring some unusual and extreme packing habits, all those knick knacks you can't live without are nowhere to be seen. You are basking in the beauty around you. Taking in nature. Chatting with old friends and making new ones. Unless you just really suck at traveling, the number of times you wish you were at home with your treasured complete works of Neal Diamond is negligible. So the question becomes: If I could sell my Neal Diamond collection for enough money to spend another week in Bora Bora would I do so. Only you can determine that. I made enough to buy an entire extra cappuccino in Positano, Italy, but occasionally I still have second thoughts. Sometimes I am not sure I made the right choice. Usually when I am getting dressed on Halloween.