I’m working in Cincinati, Ohio, this week and guess what, I was hungry and went for a walk with the goal of finding someplace to eat. Not wanting to order takeout nor delivery to eat in the hotel room, I decided to wander up Short Vine and discover what this little hilltop community offered. And guess what?
Wandering without agenda opens you to discovery.
At first glance, I am sure I’m guilty of thinking what most people probably think as they walk past this wall; that it’s covered in graffiti. The fact that this tired area is going through gentrification, construction clogs the streets and almost every building is being worked on, it’s actually quite impressive for an area with obviously so much deeply rooted history. The street, Short Vine, is the border between Cincinnati’s Clifton and Coryville neighborhoods. Both, to me, are old neighborhoods that have seen many, many generations start dreams, live life and pass their torches on to their progenies. It the type of place that one grows up in…then try to escape before the roots start to work their way too deep into the family tree’s familiar earth; something that I don’t know of first hand as I bolted from my “hometown” and never looked back.
Look closely for a minute at that picture and finish this sentence, “Before I die I want to ___________________________.”
The answers are being graded! Some get an A like, “Live Love, Laugh’s” did, while others get a failing score. Really, do you honestly think, “Be Rich” is an honest answer?
How did you answer? Could you answer it? And if you did, how long did it take?
For me, it took zero time — I knew the answer in my heart before I even finished reading the question. Before I die…I want to sail the Pacific. Or, to put it another way,
I want to live before I die.
I am a selfish person. I know that. I have no children, I’m single for the third time and my destiny is in my own hands. My dreams pull at me as surely as the sun, wind and water warms my soul; as surely as distant horizons and mountain ranges tug at my heart; as certain as a mother’s love and as solid as the earth feels under my bare feet. Thus, I boldly answer the open-ended question of our time, “Before I die I
Thank you, University of Cincinnati, for all of the effort that you put into this wall. It made me stop and deeply get back in touch with my goals instead of simply discarding all of your efforts as graffiti. What a nice surprise, to rediscover myself on a pleasant eve’s wondering.
A final thought…maybe I should redefine this website and cast it in the light of being a Sailabout…
The term Walkabout comes from the Australian Aboriginal. The idea is that a person can get so caught up in one’s work, obligations and duties that the truly important parts of one’s self become lost. From there it is a downward spiral as one gets farther and farther from the true self. A crisis situation usually develops that awakens the wayward to the absent true self. It is at this time that one must go on walkabout. All possessions are left behind (except for essential items) and one starts walking. Metaphorically speaking, the journey goes on until you meet yourself. Once you find yourself, you sit down and have a long talk about what one has learned, felt and done in each other’s absence. One talks until there is nothing left to say — the truly important things cannot be said. If one is lucky, after everything has been said and unsaid, one looks up and sees only one person instead of the previous two.