Merrill Foto News: Tracy Stayton brings ‘4tunate Movement’ to MerrillNovember 16, 2023
“Your Quit Your Job?”
Followed by “Are you nuts?” or “Good for you!”
It is amazing the polarized opinions people have of leaving the mainstream path and creating your own, but let me tell you, taking that leap into living your version of a powerful life is invigorating.
It’s invigorating like jumping into a cold lake on a hot summer day. There is a bit of an initial shock and it takes your breath away while you adjust. However, after you resurface and take that first inhale, letting the reality and coolness wash over you, it is refreshing and freeing!
How do I know? Because I did just that. In November of 2014, I left my good, stable, government job to travel the world for a year doing 34 acts of service, around the world in my 34th year of life. I called the project 34tunate (pronounced: Thirtyfourtunate) and set out to learn about the world, myself, and others while doing some good along the way. I wanted to remember why I am 4tunate and why each of us is, no matter our circumstances.
Since returning, and not to that stable, government job, I have begun to reflect on the journey and project my next steps. With that reflection, has come quite a bit of learning. Keeping with the theme of my 34tunate journey, here are 4 things I feel 4tunate to have learned along the way…
- Rolex and Timex: They both tell time! – For the 5 years prior to my journey, I called Southern California home. Orange County to be specific. Ok, let’s get this out of the way…Yes, there are wealthy people here. No, I have not met any of the cast of The Hills. Yes, I saw Teslas and Bentleys and Ferraris almost every day. No, I am not rich (by American standards). Yes, I started to buy into the idea that I “needed” some of these things. The reality however is that while we have been convinced that somehow Rolex is better than Timex, they both tell time! One does not somehow do it better, faster, more accurately. One does not cause time to slow down nor speed up. Both exist in time to do the same thing: tell it. One will not make you a better person or more valuable member of society. Anyone that tells you so is a liar. Don’t get wrapped up in the label. Place value in each moment that you have, not the device that shows it ticking away…one…second…at…a…time…
- Life: It’s not that complicated – Ok, I over simplified it with that sentence, but the truth is that life is simply a series of decisions. You check the facts. You make a decision. You evaluate the outcome. If it is the wrong decision, you recheck the facts and make another one. And you keep doing that until you make the right decision. This little token of knowledge that my Dad shared with me, probably sometime in my teenage years when everything seemed like a HUGE DEAL, got me through some seriously stressful situations this last year. Being in a foreign place, where you may not speak the language, is not the time or place you want to melt down. Take a deep breath. Check the facts. Make a decision. Repeat.
- If you can’t control it, roll with it! – I hit a few hiccups while traveling. Like the time I was illegal in Paraguay for a week or when I got stuck in Taiwan during the largest typhoon they had had in years. How about the time my transportation never came to get me and I had to “flee” Bolivia in a private taxi because of strikes and road closures? Or when I was supposed to go to Liberia, and then, well, Ebola. None of these things were in my control. All of them could have sent me into a tailspin. Some of them almost did. When you travel solo long term, you have two options…1. freak out, which is closely followed by packing up your bags and heading back home. 2. begin to let go of those things you can’t control and then reference #2 (above) for next steps!
No one has nothing – This is two-fold…The first meaning is that we all have an important place in our space in the world. No one has nothing to contribute. We all have something we can do for the betterment of others. Large or small, do something! You are important and are valuable. The second meaning is that you always have something to feel 4tunate for in this world…while you may not have car, you have a bike or tennis shoes or two feet or someone to carry you or breath in your lungs. Every day on this Earth is a blessing. Some of the happiest people I met in this this world have the smallest amount of worldly possessions and very often, even those they did have, they tried to give to me. Why? Because our human interaction and friendship, forever to be held in their hearts and minds, is more valuable than anything they could ever physically hold in their hands.