The Beauty of The Quest
“You did not come to this Earth now to just pay bills, follow rules, watch your body age, and live a random life. You came here to fulfill a purpose, to live your life alive, to view all your changes as sacred meaningful soul passages.”
~Leo at “Perspectives From the Sky”
Walking semi-concious through those same glass double doors every morning, I would say “hey” to the guard, glance at the fading green paint and take in the general shabby condition of the place. “Long in the tooth” is how my husband describes buildings that are past their prime.
Except for the small missing pieces of the parquet wood floor and the dilapidated condition of the grey, two stall bathroom; if you entered from the front – you could be dazzled.
There were more millions of dollars of jewelry in that one thousand square foot foyer, than any showroom on Rodeo Drive.
Maybe all of them combined.
While those shops are sparsely merchandised, a large diamond ring with a spotlight on it for instance, the showcases in the foyer of Antiquarius, were literally crammed with goods.
New people often asked if the jewelry was costume. They couldn’t comprehend that all the emeralds, sapphires, rubies and diamonds were real.
Rooms filled with antiques have a very distinctive smell. A dash of Aunt Barbara’s sickening sweet perfume, mixed with Pledge and silver polish. Add the smell of coffee from the restaurant upstairs and some random cinnamon potpourri and you get the picture. When I walk into an antique mall…it takes me right back.
I loved working there.
I worked inside the Antiquarius building almost every day without fail, except when we were out of town at jewelry shows; for eighteen years. 1988-2006.
About five years in, the diamond dust had cleared from my eyes and I started to ask myself,
‘Is this all there is?‘ Even the “glamour” of the travel had worn thin.
I would feel it the most profoundly walking in those back doors from the parking lot every morning.
‘There’s the guard, say “hi”, don’t get your high heel stuck in the missing pieces of the wood floor, smell the coffee – there MUST be more.’
Even diamonds and being surrounded by beauty can become mundane and mediocre, if there’s no Zah,Zah,Zoo.
As I’ve stated before in this blog: I despise mediocrity, I think I’m allergic to it; and I’m a firm believer that life is too short and we must live with a sense of urgency.
For me that means adventure, life with a bit of an edge.
I tried all those exercises where you drive a different way to work, or order something new for lunch, in order to break out of the rut – that’s all bullshit.
I’m one of those people that needs a quest. What’s a quest you ask?
To me, it’s a challenge or long term pursuit to which you are devoted, and it changes you along the way. I adore travel, so I knew that would play a part in my quest.
I just watched an interview with Chris Guillebeau about his new book “The Happiness of Pursuit” and it very much reminded me of the dissatisfaction I felt all those years ago. The book is a collection of stories about people that are wired like me. People that are compelled to pursue a quest.
A quest can be anything from wanting to complete a triathlon, to, like his story and another in the book, travel to every country in the world or to knit ten thousand hats.
Mine is seeing as many places around the world as I can, on the back of a motorcycle.
“It is more about the emotional awareness of mortality, rather than the intellectual understanding. Life is short.”
In his book Chris talks about the characteristics of a quest: a clear goal, a real challenge and a series of milestones along the way. It should be something you’re REALLY excited about. Check, check, check and big fat check.
Your quest will have stops and starts, born out of practicality; like running out of money, time or steam, and I think the most important component is to chronicle the journey. To me, this is non-negotiable.
It keeps the momentum going when you can’t see the end. You’re able to see how far you’ve come, AND, you can keep track, in writing, of all the changes you’ve gone through along the way.
That was what happened on our Continental Divide Quest last summer. 5000 miles in seventeen days.
I took you with me. I wrote about how I wanted to stop about half way through, how much I cried and how certain circumstances scared me shitless.
“We’re not in the Antiquarius anymore, Toto”
I can’t tell you how many times I have looked up at the sky on the back of that bike and thought to myself ‘I am NOT at a desk, I am NOT sitting in traffic on the 101, I am NOT bored, and I am certainly NOT asking ‘is that all here is?‘
I Am living Life.
Find your quest. It will be the best obsession you’ve ever had.
With lots of love,
Marie Forleo interview with Chris Guillebeau