My earliest steps were significant
I knew, instinctively, that I needed to simplify my life. I needed to tear down the structure of Bill Holland, all the way down to the studs, and rebuild myself, and that is what I set out to do, shortly after I sobered up in 2006.
I moved into a tiny, 400-square foot studio apartment, tucked on five acres of wooded land, not even the furniture mine, and I healed.
For two years I taught school, always a healing activity for me, but after two years I found that even teaching full-time, something I loved doing in the past, was something I no longer felt fit into my intentional life. I gave up the sixty-grand of guaranteed income, declared early retirement, and decided I wanted to be a writer, something I had wanted to do for decades.
I met Bev, fell in love, moved in with her, eventually married her, planted vegetable gardens and berries and fruit trees, wrote books, filled up my life with activities which “felt right to me,” and began to hear a tiny voice, again in my subconscious, telling me to go all the way, toss in your chips, bet it all on a life devoted to the wonders of life.
And here we are today.
Starting in March, 2023, Bev and I will be gone from our home, a home we are going to rent out, for two years minimum. I will follow her around, resupply her, as she attempts to hike 2650 miles. Then she and I, and our two dogs, will bicycle tour the United States, something I have wanted to do for probably fifty years, a grand journey of discovery and meeting the country of my birth one handshake at a time, crisscrossing the backroads of this nation, visiting tiny towns in “fly over” country, confirming what I firmly believe, that the vast majority of people are good people, caring people, compassionate people.
And I will write, and record on video, the entire intentional journey.
Am I nervous? Am I afraid of such a huge undertaking?
Not one bit! What I am afraid of is not doing it, of not putting an exclamation point on a life incomplete.
Last week I was emailing a friend, and I asked her if she would please send me some information I needed for a project I was doing. She promised to do so immediately. Four days passed, and no information . . . then five . . . then six. Mind you, we are talking about one email on her part, a matter of two minutes, maybe three. I finally emailed her again, asked her if she had forgotten my request. Her words, in answer, most likely ring true for many reading this. She said to me: “I’m sorry, Bill. I just haven’t found the time to email you this week. My to-do list seems to be getting longer.”
Read that again!
She couldn’t find two minutes out of six days to do a favor for a friend because her life was filled to the brim with a to-do list. I would submit to you, and to her, that she is not living intentionally, unless her intention is to be buried under a list of chores, errands and obligations.
And, it’s so easy to fall into that trap. I do it quite often. I become so focused on something which seems important at the time, something which, in truth, has no importance whatsoever, and consequently lose sight of what is truly important to me.
Back to the fundamental questions
So, who am I, and what is important to me?
I will live out my life trying to be consistent with these facts: I am a good person, I am a friendly person, and I am a person who is willing to help others. I am a creative, I am empathetic, and I am compassionate. My son is important to me, my wife is important to me, my dogs are important to me, and my online friends are important to me. I want to create videos. I want to write interesting and meaningful articles and blogs. And I want to continue to build my legacy.
Whew! I’m tired just listing my intentions.
See you down the Road of Life, meeting America one handshake at a time.
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