Just a quick note before you start reading: My journey took me to the extremes of living an alternative life-style. I learned a lot about myself, the state of the ‘world out there’, and the ‘world here at home’. Much of my post-journey musings may seem to be quite harsh, and may sound as though I regret the journey. I certainly do not regret the journey however, and musings like the following represent a new journey to that truely exciting prospect of a ‘balanced life’.
A wee gem of insight for you and me:
When I lived (3 years in Japan) and travelled (2.5 years around the world) on my own, I was always right.
I made decisions, and made decisions based on those decisions…every day.
That is, every day I solved problems.
On my own.
Problems were solved, on my own terms.
And the solutions to those problems worked. The fact that I am alive right now has much to do with my ability to solve problems, and the effectiveness of those solutions.
On my own.
I took risks based on the only perception of reality I knew: my own.
I took risks based on the only perception of danger I knew: my own.
Here’s the problem.
Now I’m not on my own.
I am surrounded by and am growing close to people that think in different ways.
Who solve problems in different ways.
Who see risk in different ways.
Living on my own, living with my correctness (I am alone, therefore I am right), it’s easy to become proud.
With all my supposedly open-mindedness and openness due to travel, part of me has become closed-minded and proud.
Ignorance is bliss, because there’s less tendency to become cocky and proud in one’s percieved state of knowing more about the world than others.
How do I know that I am proud?
Because I get frustrated when others have different ideas and view life differently.
To accept others’ fears, comfort zones, opinions, and ways of life is to live harmoniously in community.
And I think that that is an art.
Community is an art.
Whether it’s a community of two or more than two.
Community is an art.
An art that my solo journey bereaved me of, slowly but surely.
'To accept others comfort zones' is a sentence to remember.
In her book 'Conflict Free Living,Joyce Meyer points out that in order for any community of people to get along, we each have to be prepared to give up the 'right to be right'! God lives in community – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – so it's no wonder he made is to live in community as well, since he created us to be like him. As God says in Genesis 2:18:'It's not good for the human to live alone' Not that you were 'alone' on your journey round the world. Whether you were conscious of it or not, God was there with you.
rock on man – very impressed with your efforts.
Thanks Rob. I'm writing all this down in my head. Community is a big thing for me, though I do feel the need to break out and be on my own every now and again.
Community is an art…yes, I wholeheartedly agree, and will take this forward in my ideas and activities, Rob.
@ Keith – Yes indeed. Everyone is wired different ways; as extrovert as many people think I may be, I still need my time alone!
This is really neat discussion. I can find myself on both sides of the 'community' or 'solitary' axis. That is to say, I really enjoy community living, but knowing that there is also time to myself and time to recharge and process the events.
Overall, my preference is for solitary pursuits, but I often wonder if this is somehow unbiblical or prideful to prefer to be by oneself. This kind of issue bothers me a lot actually. That is to say, if God truly intends for us to live in community, and I know he does, then why would he also create people to have introverted tendencies and to enjoy solving problems solo style?
There is definitely some balance and wisdom needed here. For the most part I do things in community, but take the occasional break during holidays to do the kinds of trips you do. Not nearly as long as 2-3 years, but enough weeks to make it rather satisfying.
Another thing I just thought of was, did you really solve problems all by yourself during your trip? If I recall from the blogs, you ran into tons of helpful strangers and great people who solved problems with you together.
It has been similar with my experiences, the problems I thought I did all by myself could simply not have been accomplished without the help of others and other examples of God's provision.
But I do know what you're getting at here, there is a need to be humble and allow God to shape us within the context of a community