I love the simplicity of that ten word statement comprised totally of two letter words. There is a lot of power in those words. I haven't been able to find the true origin, but the first time I heard it was in the early 80's from Alexandra Armstrong, an accomplished and highly acclaimed Certified Financial Planner and investment professional from Washington, DC.
The ten words are often applied in a motivational context relating to career, professional and business success. However, the words can be applied to any facet of anyone's life. They certainly apply to making changes in your life to realize whatever dreams, goals and missions you have established for yourself including making whatever life changes you need to make to achieve your definition of living free.
A Case In Point
I meet a broad spectrum of people on-line and in person. Meeting people is one of my primary motivations for my particular version of a living free lifestyle. For example, this past weekend I attended the Veteran Speakers Retreat (VSR) in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. VSR is an event I have attended for more than 20 years. It was my privilege to be the coordinator and run the event for the past 12 years. This year was the first year I attended as a "civilian," a plain, old participant, again.
The event was held at the Allenberry Resort, the location of the Bass Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. To make a long story short, I was cutting through the museum to join other members of the VSR group that had gathered in an informal hospitality area. As I passed through the museum, I noticed an attractive, middle-aged woman looking at the exhibits. I passed a pleasantry with her that developed into a conversation and I learned why she was there and about her. I invited her to join the rest of the group and she did. When I returned to base camp from the VSR I received a nice note from Cindy inviting me to visit her when I might make it to State College, Pennsylvania sometime.
Cindy was there to meet a member of the VSR group and ended up meeting a lot of the group. She is looking for something that the statement, "If it is to be, it is up to me," applies. She drove about two hours just to meet up with one of our group and gained more than she anticipated by meeting many more people who inspired her and made her trip more worthwhile.
The Fear Factor and Living Free
I have been communicating via email with another person I'll call Sam to protect his privacy. He has been going through some serious emotional and psychological pain in his life due, primarily, from his description, to an extremely toxic marriage. An experienced RVer, he wanted to downsize his personal life, leave the toxic home environment, get on the road and "live free." We've had numerous interactions over the past month or so. He'd write to me and ask questions about the kind of lifestyle I've been leading, my motivations, the logistics, etc.
So, now he's ready to make the leap. The downsizing is done. The behemoth RV, downsized to a smaller, more efficient unit more conducive to a single nomad. He's packed up, BUT . . . he wrote me:
". . . I feel like a little boy not wanting to leave home. Going out in the big bad world feeling homeless for some reason and scared I won't like the little Chinook as it is so much smaller and wondering where the heck I am going to park. You see with the big motorhome I just dry camped in parking lots on the way to Yuma and then we were always in the RV Parks. I am actually afraid and feel helpless although I have a roof over my head and have a small pension and should be financially OK like you and me talked about. What a S***ty feeling, buddy."
There it is, again - "The Fear Factor." Been there, many times. And, I'll bet you have, too. He's giving up a home. He's leaving the "comfort zone" of a relationship, that while extremely toxic is actually, in his mind, more comfortable than facing the "unknown."
Here was my reply to him . . .
Believe it or not, I just spent time with another Sam. He is an American born in the US to Dutch parents who took him back to the Netherlands when he was two years old and where he lived through the Nazi occupation and some brutal times. After the war the Dutch tried to conscript him into the Dutch Army and send him to Indonesia. But, his parents took him to the American consulate, since he was actually an American citizen, and enlisted him in the US Army. He got to the US, learned English and built several very successful businesses. He's 84 now and lives with his 84 year old wife (a humor writer and humorist/speaker) in Laguna Beach, CA.
So, think about this other Sam and what he went through in his life - almost taken by the Nazis because they thought he was a Jew, left the country he grew up in without knowing a word of English even though he was a US citizen, came to a foreign country - his actual homeland, and learned the language and made a success of himself.
So, Sam - seems to me your situation is a piece of cake compared to this other Sam. Whaddaya think? It was FDR who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And the only way to overcome whatever the fear is, Sam, is to face it head on. None, but a minute percentage, of the things we fear or worry about ever come to pass. When they do, they are usually far less onerous than the scenario we painted in our minds. You can say we are our own worst enemy - or as was stated by Walt Kelly in his Pogo comic strip, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
So, Sam - whatcha gonna do about it. The biggest challenge to making the jump to living free is breaking out of your comfort zone - and those comfort zones are often your own Hell on Earth. However, so many seem to perfer burning in their Hell because of this "fear of the unknown." So, pose yourself this question: Life is about as bad as I could ever imagine it could be, so what could be worse?
If you can actually make a list of things that could be worse than how you're living now - write them down on a piece of paper. Then, take a picture of your wife, current home and the area you live in. Crumple up the photos and the list you just wrote, light a match and burn them.
Then, take a look at your birth certificate and just think - you were born to be free, not to live in a prison of your own making or a Hell that someone else created for you. Realize you are being given a free pass to live life on your own terms. Your sentence of bondage and unhappiness has been commuted. You can pick and choose to live any way, any where and any how you choose. And, if you don't like one way you've chosen, you are free to make another choice and you can do that over and over until you find whatever works for you.
Talk about the greatest gift anyone could ever receive - Your FREEDOM! I know (and so do you) hundreds or even thousands of people who live their lives in self-imposed prisons and a bondage in Hell (toxic relationships) because they fear the greatest gift, the most natural way of living - FREEDOM.
You have a Chinook. They're in demand. They hold their value. If you find the Chinook is not right for you - CHANGE IT! But, give it a chance, first. You may find that living small with a small footprint, small carbon footprint, a certain degree of stealth and the ability to freely go where the 40' behemoths can't go is exactly what you want for your freedom. And, think about all the money you're saving that you can use for all kinds of other things on the "Life List" you need to start creating. A Life List is similar to a "Bucket List" except it's a positive version. It's not about doing stuff before you die, it's about doing stuff to live for.
Remember the Nike slogan - "(Don't Think) Just Do It!" And there is a short sentence made up completely of two letter words - that should be your mantra - "If it is to be, it is up to me."
So, aim the nose of that Chinook in any direction and drive - no matter where you end up, you're going to find interesting people, places, things, etc. And . . . you'll be amazed at how many people are going to tell you they envy you and wish they could do what you're doing. Unfortunately, they can't! The reason is because they'd rather stay in their self-imposed prison and the Hell of a relationship and/or job they are in. They fear the unknown and would rather stay in Hell.
See ya down the road, Sam."