I’ll never forget celebrating my 23rd birthday, and feeling like I was completely starting over and knew nothing.
I certainly wasn’t starting over, as at the time I was living in a great flat, in my first stable salary job, and was working with masters, like SARK, Shakti Gawain & Dan Millman.
And while one can hear 23, and think, “oh, of course you felt like you knew nothing,” I had actually already experience a lot of life: Graduating HS early at 17, and moving away from home to go to art school in Denver. Subsequently dropping out of art school by 18, and living in my own one bedroom apartment in Denver. Moving to Boulder by the end of that summer, where I had a car stolen and stepped boldly onto my entrepreneurial path; starting a business with other crazy free spirits who were also hungry to make a difference in the world.
And by 20, moving by myself to LA with everything I owned packed in my little car, only knowing one person; where I lived for 4 months and worked and hiked and fell deeper into my body issues. Then on the weekend of my 21st birthday, moving to SF, again only knowing one person; staying with her at her parent’s house in San Mateo, until finally moving into my own closet of a room in a Bernal Heights flat for only $292/mo. And after that into a sweet flat on Polk & Union for $400/mo.
So by 22 I felt like I knew a bit. And yet crossing the line over to 23 I’ll never forget how I just felt totally new. Blank slate. Like a baby bird in the vast world. Not claiming to know what’s out there, how to fly, or how to fend for myself. How does anyone know?
Here’s a secret…
I still don’t know. And there are days, somethings weeks I feel totally lost. I get lost in a philosophical loop of what’s it all for? How is there time and money and love and wisdom sprinkled out so randomly a months all the humans?
And how it’s so interesting that around one person I feel so wise and like I’m a masterful communicator and totally on track. And with another I’m faced with the feeling that I’m a baby bird again. That I know nothing, and that I have an almost insurmountable mountain to learn, experience and create until I can even consider saying that I know.
And yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned is there is great wisdom in not knowing.
There is great beauty in the vulnerability and humility of saying “I don’t know. Teach me. I am willing to learn.”
And it’s this that propels us forward.
We keep our eyes open.
Our hearts open.
We regurgitate and feed the hungry baby birds that cross our paths.
We feed and fly and try our best.
And I think in a way, as we get older, and have more responsibility and pressure to keep the flight path on track – to follow the map and have strength to chart new paths and blaze new trails – that it feels great to get lost.
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I wrote this piece during Wild Writing today; a writing group I have been a part of every Monday (minus a few weeks here & there) since September 2012. Every week Laurie reads us a poem, and we get a few lines to jump off from… and then we fast & furiously free-write.
This one was inspired by “The Ticking is the Bomb” by Nick Flynn