What I got in the mail

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I received a Birthday card in the mail the other day from one of my best friends in the world.

She’s currently living in Brisbane, and what touched me was how every year, without fail, she would send me a card during either Christmas or my birthdays. I know I am a blessed person, because I have more than one of these kinds of people in my life that do this.

What was different this time around was what she wrote in the card. It was so timely to the kind of questions that were running around in my head, that one really couldn’t help but believe in a higher power.

On the front of the card was a painted picture of a woman, and underneath it was titled, “Seeker (of all things brave)”

She wrote, ” …  I saw this card and thought of you because you’re a Seeker. You constantly question the world around you and the way things work. You’re curious and you enjoy learning, which is why it’s always awesome to be around you, because you give me a new perspective on things & life. And you’re also incredibly brave and adventurous.”

Who was this person she was talking about? I hardly recognize her. I didn’t feel brave nor adventurous. Was I ever this person? It felt like I had lost something, and was just only remembering what that was.

I was staring at a very different version of myself. I was staring at myself through someone else’s eyes, someone who loves me, and what that felt like, was something I couldn’t ever put a price on.  It was also then when it hit me. All these questions that I had been grappling with this year, why I wasn’t able to write anymore, why I was feeling frustrated everyday, why I was bored and restless? Why I felt stuck? found an answer.

It was because I’ve settled for the person that was less than what I used to be. I had become like that little metaphorical sailboat that was just sitting “there”, waiting for the wind to change and for the tides to carry me to somewhere good. What happened to that girl I knew so many years ago who had adventures? The one who did many, many things, things she was proud of? The person I actually liked?

I entered writing competitions and didn’t win. Started a band. Made new friends, spoke to different people, some of whom remained best of friends. Chased after boys that didn’t return my love. Ran for Vice-President in college, and won it based on popular vote. I was involved in the editorial board, published our semester books, raised money for the CWF, and Soup Kitchen. Made good art, made movies, wrote stories, read widely. I travelled, went to 8 cities in one year. Got heartbroken, fell in love, made new memories, had many “firsts”. I had exhilarating experiences, and I just felt, alive.

My friend had reminded me about the person I seem to have forgotten to be, and that kinda got to me.

I tried thinking of why this happened, and I think it all started when awhile ago, someone else I loved told me that it seemed like I was always chasing after “something”, and that it seemed like I was never content with just “being”. I thought it was true. And because this person was important to me, what she said mattered and I realized I subconsciously stopped chasing. I tried just “being”  and to just “be happy”, and this lead me to a trap where I just stopped “reaching”.

This of course, would lead to another life lesson, which is what I like to call, “what works for one person, would not necessarily work for another”. This mode of living, although important for a season, didn’t work for me. Little did I know, she would also be one in the many of those that would break my heart in the future, but that’s for another story.

I used to blame “time” as being the factor in all of this. The lack of it, seemed to be all I ever say as to why I wasn’t pursuing my dreams, but if I were truly honest, that wasn’t it. If I were being really honest, I felt like I was in a pond, that suddenly got pushed out to sea. I traversed all the edges of that pond, discovering, leaping, then now in this great vast ocean, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear, and was just content to being comfortable in my own little boat.

But you know what?

I was happiest when I was chasing. Never mind if I never got what I’m looking for, be it, being published on the New York Times Best Sellers list, or my dream book cafe, the thrill of the chase is what kept me alive. I was happiest being full of fear, but just doing it anyway. Never mind the countless fights I had with people over what I thought was important, never mind the failures, never mind the heartache. It was then that I really knew I was alive.

So if you’re reading this, thank you for sending me the card, you know it was the thing that reminded me to continue living and chasing down life with a club and a baseball bat.

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