What’s Your Wish?

Waking Up

“Every morning I wake up is a good morning.” Grumbled an old-timer as he shuffled up to the door of the Quartzsite Gem and Mineral Club.

“As long as I wake up on the green side of the grass, I’m happy.” Agreed his fellow lapidary artist. The men were enjoying their coffee on a bench outside the workshop, waiting patiently for the doors to open. They continued to tell these little parodies about waking up each morning in relation to their age.

“Youth is wasted on the young, or something like that.” Commented one woman. “No offense.” And the group turned slowly to look at me and they chuckled.

As their eyes turned to me, I saw the fleeting glance of “what exactly are you doing here” cross their faces, so I walked over to the circle and joined in the conversation. We talked briefly about the lapidary and the projects we were working on and one man said, “we’re retired, this is what we do.”

Well, my reply was, “I’m not retired and this is what I do.” I just decided to skip the need for retirement and take the whole show on the road. “I started photography when I was 15 and this lapidary and silver-smithing now, when I’m 34. I figure by the time I’m your age I’ll be a master of two art forms.” He laughed, but its true. I’ll have a 30 year head start on my peers who wait until their 60s to pick up this art form.

Several hours later, I was filing away the edges of my pendant in my silver-smithing class and talking with my instructor, who, oddly enough, is a Buddhist. Not that being a Buddhist is odd, I just don’t run into too many Buddhists in this community. We were conversing about being a “full-timer” at a young age and by-passing the normal routes in life. He was a self-proclaimed “long-haired hippy” in a former life and studied art at University before starting a business and entering what he termed the “20 year sentence.” He did the traditional route, a mortgage, a business and a family, and while he loves his family and enjoyed his business, he just woke up one day and realized he’d journeyed far from his former life.


A Month

“I believe you need at least a month to really unwind and find yourself. To look back at your life and reflect on your current path,” observed my instructor. He and his wife were on vacation in their early 40s and they realized they were burnt out and had traveled too far from their former “long-haired hippy” days. They felt enslaved by the life they had built and felt it was time to make an exit.

So they did. They traveled home from the vacation, sold his business and they decided to travel the world. For a long time.

We read about these stories occasionally on the internet or we may bump into someone doing some fabulous adventurous endeavor after hitting the F*** It Switch and putting a stop to their own enslavement. These renegade souls stop their dissatisfying lives and do a complete 180- they head out on the road, they start a completely unique and satisfying small business or they merely return to a simpler way of life.

These souls don’t wait until their best years are behind them. They hear that little voice calling them to a different destiny and they listen. Without regrets. Without remorse. They listen. And they seek.

And some people choose never to enter the circus in the first place. After leaving my lesson, I wandered over to the rock gardens where a few gemstone dealers are still selling stones and rough cuts for lapidary. I was seeking some more gorgeous stones to turn into something fabulous while embracing my new trade.

Finding a Treasure

“Are you finding some treasures?” A young man asked me after I found some amazing Chrysocolla to work cut and polish. Yes, I met a young person in the land of the old-timers.

We talked for a bit and he showed me his artwork. This young artist carves stones for a living and was so excited to show me his creations. He lives on the road in an RV with his dog and his artwork and has by-passed the normal route all together. He said he likes to wander and look for treasures. After explaining my new found lapidary trade, he asked me, “what’s your wish?” I had to pause for a second before my response. No one’s really asked me that question in relation to learning an art form. The traditional question is, “what will you do with that?”

An interesting way to ask the “what do you do question.” I may start using that question myself. I’m curious to hear more about his story, I’m sure its not a “normal” one.

In opening my life up to the Universe in this unorthodox manner, it seems the Universe is continuing to place people in my path for chance encounters that reaffirm the beliefs that I seem to be focused on in my writings. And hopefully you’re finding them interesting as well. I find these people fascinating and reaffirming to the different perspectives on a life well led.

And, while on the topic of chance encounters, Luca the Italian Cyclist mentioned recently on this blog, has written an entry in English, for my mom! How amazingly wonderful of him- check it out if you have a second. And wish him well!


  1. Pat says

    This free spirited adventurous lifestyle with no tie downs to speak of allows one freedoms they often didn’t know even existed. You are The Storyteller, Crystal. Like the great writers from Biblical times, you are keeping it within a simple lifestyle. Not easy, but simple and uncluttered.

    Just think of the determination back then to get their message scratched into a tablet, with prabably what?…a stone crystal maybe? What about those scrolls they found, dating back thousands of years, placed neatly in the corner of a cave? Just think what it took to make the parchment, then to make the ink. Berry juice mixed with charcoal remnants perhaps? Efforts put forth are not even considered by many this day and age. Authors were passionate about documenting their messages, much like someone we all know… or are coming to know.

    We ARE reading and we ARE liking what we read! Totally unique and encouraging for those of us contemplating a strategy towards more freedom from the mundane.

    The log cabin off the grid visual from last week? Some say, “yeah right.” To them I say, “Contraire Pierre!” Maybe not totally off the grid…..maybe waterfront/roadfront so those sales of artwork can flow. But that off the grid spot is a mere boat ride or float plane flight away. To be dropped off at a remote location for a few days of peace and tranquility does wonders for the soul.

    How many places come to mind when you consider a subsistence lifestyle? Allowing healthy sustainability, supplimented by contributions of artwork to bring funds in for certain requirements? The words of the great Jim Morrison seem to lean toward that very question… “Who among you will run with the hunt?”