“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
~ Howard Thurman
A few weekends ago, Richard and I were invited to a meetup with Warren and Betsy Talbot – from Married with Luggage. They have a fascinating story – a few years ago Betsy’s brother had a heart attack at 35 and a friend of theirs had a brain aneurysm at 34. These wake up calls caused them to ask themselves what they would do differently if they knew they wouldn’t make it to see their 40thbirthdays. They agreed on one thing – world travel. And then they made it happen. They sold everything they owned and in October 2010 set off on their journey.
Listening to Warren and Betsy speak is magical – they are certainly people who have “come alive.” They are perfect for this adventure. They are engaging, interesting and most of all… interested. They listen to you speak with their full focus, instead of being preoccupied by electronics, a bad day at work, or any of the thousands of things that worry most people. They are fully present in each moment.
As I got to know Warren and Betsy, part of me wanted to want to do what they’re doing. (If that makes any sense!) As a Professional Organizer who sees the toll that clutter takes on peoples’ lives, it was so appealing to think about. Sell all my possessions and hop on a plane, bus, or train, unencumbered and bound for adventure.
But the more I thought about it, the less appealing it seemed and the more I realized that I really love the life I have right now. After meeting my husband in India in 2006, living with him in New Jersey, and then moving to England and living in a tent, with relatives and in a rental in Reading and then the Lake District, we moved to Colorado in 2009. Three addresses later, we are kind of settled. And I like it. Sure…we want to move again, but within the same town to a house with a bigger yard for the dog.
As much as I love to travel, meet new people and experience new cultures, I also love to have a home base. I like the fact that both of my parents have moved from NJ to Colorado and live 15 minutes away. I love to cook and now I own enough cooking supplies to make fresh pasta, or a decent Indian meal, or pizza from scratch. This summer I grew fresh herbs in my garden. I like having lived someplace long enough that I’m starting to make deeper friend connections – not just passing acquaintances. Of course, part of this desire to be “home” is certainly driven by the baby in my belly – due in 5 days. (!) At this moment in my life, I don’t mind having some baggage – all of my baggage is joyful!
So, the lessons I take from Warren and Betsy? Figure out what you love to do and then do it. That’s what brought me to organizing as a career. I love helping my clients to make sense of their “stuff.” I love the peace that comes with an organized environment. And just in case I find a client who dreams of selling it all and traveling the world, I’m reading Warren and Betsy’s book – Getting Rid of It.