August (adjective): "inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic"
About three weeks ago, I publicly revealed my big plans for the upcoming year. It hasn't been surprising that some of the reactions were also pretty large. It's a lot for most people to comprehend - leaving a job I love, selling most everything I own, and headed out to... well, I am not quite certain just yet.
People are often quick to say they "don't care what other people think." While this can sometimes be a useful trait, it is also easier said than done. A couple of years ago, I came to embrace the reality that I actually do care what other people think of me, and the usefulness of this sentiment. Without considering the respect, feelings, or wishes of others, I believe we would live in a pretty cold and disconnected world. Let's face it - caring what others think is vital to empathy, a trait I value immensely for what I hope are obvious reasons. Because of this, I understandably had some apprehension about the reactions others might have to my plans.
In response to my news, I have had to contend with many questions, comments, and reactions, most of which were incredibly and surprisingly positive. However, I was also asked if I was sick on a few occasions. I would like to answer that once and for all by sharing that I am, in fact, dying - but only in the same boring manner that most of us are - a teeny, tiny bit each day. I don't say this to be morbid or to make light of a serious matter, but to help people understand that there is something very motivating about understanding and embracing the mortality that is true for all of us. We shouldn't have to be on an accelerated timeline to do what our heart calls us to do.
Along that same subject, I have had the opportunity to say and have things said to me that would have never happened had I not made this decision. I value those exchanges more than anyone could know. It has been humbling, heartwarming, and amazing to be able to connect with so many people in such a meaningful and authentic way. I almost feel like I have been given the gift of going to my own funeral (but I do promise that if I have anything to do with it, I won't be having a funeral for another 50 or so years).
I don't know that my plans deserve to be described as "august" as defined above, but I have certainly experienced a great deal of love and support. I have been called "brave" more times than I could count. My response to that is usually "or stupid" because I refuse to take myself or life too seriously, and because it's uncomfortable to have the weight of a word like that placed upon your life. I hope I can live up to the hopes everyone has for me, and those that I have for myself. I will certainly try my best, armed with the lovely sentiments of such a great community.