After a year of adventure, I am home.
When I finally unlocked my suitcases and poured out all the familiar things I’ve lived in all year, I finally saw the pieces of the person I’ve become. Hindsight is a funny thing. It gives us a perfect 20/20 clarity, and with it I saw that I had once left this place intent on finding an escape, a reason, an exploration, and I came back, gaining an education that went farther than books or merely living by myself.
In a year, I’ve been to nine cities, had a cancelled flight, one instance of luggage loss, one extensive security check where I had to unlock my suitcase for them to prong at my stuff, and gone through airport procedures so many times that security check-ins and I have become one with the system. Bag on tray. Laptop out on tray. Scarf, jacket, shoes, and sling bag on other tray. Walk through scanners. No beep. Much pride.
The Biggest lesson 2011 year taught?
Was that I spent way too much time thinking about all that was, all that could be and should be, that I forgot what it was to just be. I forgot what it was to just simply live in the present moment, that I missed out on so many moments spent longing when I could’ve just been happy.
I had become a person so transfixed on the good old days, reminiscing about the person I was, with the friends I had, and all things I had achieved, that I yearned unhealthily to return to a past where I thought I was better. Then I dreamt so much of the future, setting goals and making plans to be this better self, so that I would finally find fulfillment in my existence. I always thought, that if I got all these things I was lacking in my life, I would finally be content, and that all this would finally be enough. SO I strove to be this person I so wanted to be, read all the motivational lines and quotes, and I waited. Waited like that John Mayer song, for the world to change, for my world to change. Until I found myself always waiting. Waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for due dates, waiting for next week, or for my friends to arrive at the restaurant. I was waiting for myself to get thinner, to get smarter, to get better, that all I knew was this shadow of a person that just longs for everything, rather than realizing that I can be happy right where I stand.
If it wasn’t for that someone very dear to me that drew out a line for me, and pointed out the condition I had left myself in. I wouldn’t have realized that my soul had turned to skin and bones, and that I had bled myself dry.
SO this was what I wrote some time ago, on my first few moments of clarity…
“I’m on an adventure to nowhere uncertain and Ea had been my Alberto (The Motorcycle Diaries). This year had been a time of fear, confusion, wrapped in excitement, disappointment and a whole load of doubt. I felt I might just be Ernesto (Che Guevera) scouring, sometimes soaring through the plains and hills of Latin America. I really felt, in many ways, just like him before he became Che Guevera. I was that work in progress, on the way to all things significant. The only thing missing was my very own La Poderosa*, that dilapidated Norton 500 motorcycle to help me maneuver through the craggy foothills of life. They say he went on this journey to find himself, and in many ways through my journey I had found myself under surprising circumstances, conquered personal feats and I remain hopeful and afraid.”
So while I have returned a person changed and travelled, every bone in my body still stands true to what I know, but with a little bit more realism and a stronger head on these shoulders. After these realizations and revelations, I finally was ready to remove the shell and live in the body I was meant to be in. Today I live unafraid, I talk to everyone, and I no longer let happenstance dictate my happiness. Instead I’m letting the kind of joy in that would be there irregardless.
So far this year has exceeded my expectations (though the year remains young). Today, I live with a restlessness and excitement brewing in my veins. An excitement usurped only by anxiety that I’m not living enough. For the first time in my life, I realized what it was to truly be happy, to be content, no matter my circumstances. That my God is bigger than my problems, my weaknesses, my failures, and that joy precedes strength, and joy produces strength. The kind of strength that is needed to fight another day.
* La Poderosa: ‘The Mighty One’