Suffering for the Hell of It

I return to the page after a long hiatus…

It’s been a while.

A lot has changed in my life since I last wrote here. I may still be trying to live out my life in a Bourdain-like fashion—I suspect that may never change — but I’m a new man. I’m a jobless man. A free man. A traveling, hash-taging, instant coffee brewing while hunched over in a cramped van kind of man.

For those that have not followed along on Instagram, I had a crisis of self in early 2021 that led me to change practically every aspect of my life. I left my job, my apartment, my friends, and my city behind to chase a dream. Not your average dream, either. In fact, my dream was far from dreamy.

My dream wasn’t to build a budding t-shirt screen printing business into an Etsy empire or sail around the south of France in a tattered, sun-bleached crewneck sweater.

No, my dream was to simply suffer — and suffer I have.

It started with a phone call with my Dad. He called me as I was driving home to my apartment one evening to talk about something insignificant when he noticed that I seemed a little “off”. That night, my voice was level, hollow, and solemn — a raspy representation of my emotional state.

I was treading water and I knew it. He knew it too. I had tried for a little too long to suppress some pretty important things and they were now all bubbling up to the top.

I spilled the beans and told him about how unhappy I was. About how stagnant I felt in my job, in my career, and in my creative pursuits. I knew it was time to make the changes that I had neglected to make in my life, but it was daunting. Making those changes would require me to make some of the biggest sacrifices that I would ever make. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I knew I had to try. He gave me the pep talk that I needed and that night, I set things in motion and ripped off the handbrake for good measure.

In my life and in my travels, I’ve come to appreciate suffering. Maybe I’ve even come to enjoy it. There’s no doubt that I seek it.

Suffering, in this context, is not suffering the devastating loss of life or limb (though I did come close to that last one). It’s challenging yourself in very uncomfortable ways. Stretching your sense of identity in attempt to deepen your understanding of self. It can be as mild as eating SpaghettiOs for 4 days straight out of a pot that hasn’t been properly washed, or as difficult and complex as critically injuring your body at the worst possible time and begging God to help you make sense of the timing because well, it has to mean something, right??

I was ready to suffer. I’d give up the sleek, stylish 750 square feet studio apartment for 50 square feet of moving metal. Give up the high salary, prominent title, and shiny desk placard for freedom. I was willing to give up the entire life that I had built for myself in exchange for suffering because I knew the value in it. I slid all my chips to the end of the table, placed my bet on black, and spun the wheel.

And so I suffered in the best way that I knew how to: I hit the road.

I shoved 90% of my shiny things into a storage unit, put in my two weeks, went home and built out a van with my Dad, and let the suffering begin.

After being out here for over a month now and covering over 5000 miles in my home on wheels, I can say this: chose how you’ll suffer and suffer often.

I hope to share more of myself with you in the future. I’m learning to step up to the plate when my knees feel most shaky.

As always, thanks for reading. If you’re like me and like to suffer, please share in the comments below :)

-MT

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Person, Writer, Photographer, Adventurer, & Pursuer of Things Unknown.

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Mason Thurman

Mason Thurman

Person, Writer, Photographer, Adventurer, & Pursuer of Things Unknown.

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