2016 went by faster than I could hope; I struggled to keep up with its pace, and spent most of it searching. For directions, happiness, and the self. I was nowhere near what I imagined I would be. Anxious, fearful, lost, and clueless, so much so that I failed to appreciate the best moments of the year.
It’s only in reminiscence do I see the richness and beauty of it all.
I went on the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. Every experience in this part of the world was enriching as it was powerful. I witnessed the magnificence that is the Western Wall, feasted on hummus, floated in the dead sea, and kept my head up for hours in the lost city of Petra. I befriended young men and women who are fearless, happy, and optimistic, and took away wisdom I wouldn’t have otherwise known. In the summer I traveled solo for the first time, and set my foot on a new continent. Between admiring the otherworldly beauty of the Greek islands, and getting a taste of life on water, I contemplated what being on the road really meant, and if that could be a way of life. I also wondered if I had what it takes to fully appreciate the experience, or perhaps that was a realization for later.
As infrequently as I may be posting now, this space is not forgotten; I’ve just been too occupied with the tough job that is adulting. However real the bubble seems, the reality can only be suspended for so long.
This year I’ve gone further than I’d ever been, but struggled more than ever. Behind the jet-setting glamour, and the adventures in the great Middle Eastern deserts (more on that later), was a soul so lost that the search could hardly begin.
With a much calmer heart, I look back on the steps I’ve taken, and it’s finally becoming clear how and why I got here. It’s both where I wish and don’t wish to be. It’s an unexpected turn that took me further, higher, and deeper, but on a road that is dark, windy, and incredibly lonely.
The destination was unknown. Forgotten, rather. Lost in a journey so treacherous that hope was dim. Worse, I came unprepared. I imagined sunshine and butterflies, and an easy dive under the waves. A daydream I’d spent years crafting, and one that was too quickly dashed.
It was chasing a lost dream that brought me thus far, but to go further I have to let it go.
The journey continues, but the search has ended.
I’m not quite ready, frankly speaking. Not ready to leave, nor to stay. It’s been an extended detour that lasted months, for no other reason than to sidetrack the self. I experienced an array of emotions; there were some light hearted moments, occasional clarity, but also, extreme despair.
There’s only so much contemplating one can do, in a state of confusion. The recurring thoughts center around happiness. Happiness which I consistently strived, yet too easily sacrificed. Happiness despite flaws and imperfections. Happiness in failures, and in the best and worst of times. Heartfelt happiness that brings hope, and guides one back to the self. Happiness that teaches one how to accept, and let go.
At the heart of it all, there is only one pursuit.
It’s all up in the air; the story may or may not have a happy ending. But what is there to worry? The best there ever has been, is right in front of my eyes.
Here and now I’m happy, inspired, and at ease. I reminisce the forgotten past, and cherish what is.
Denial was the only escape I knew. To bask in reality was a problem for later, for when everything would be perfect.
But this, here, was the perfection I tirelessly sought. One that I thought I could jump right into, and all else would be history.
Such black and white logic was bound to be a fallacy, but in the pursuit of a distant dream, it seemed infallible.
Ill-equipped as I was, the struggles came hard and unexpected, and translated into anxiety and fear. Although this time, there was no more denying; I was honest with my feelings.
They were heavy. So much so that I couldn’t slow down. Couldn’t bear a moment of silence. Couldn’t breathe, or even look up. I began to throw away away things, give up others, to make room for all that I had to carry. I learned to forgo the false expectations, and self-induced disappointments. Luckily, sanity remained, as I slowly transitioned into a world of hard truths, stripped of all the glory that only existed in my mind.
Summer is half over, but this game of catch-up isn’t ending anytime soon. If true exhaustion is the ultimate destination, I believe I’m not far.
Far are those days where I awoke to the sound of birds chirping, hiked rocky mountains, watched sunsets by the river, and spent hours after hours in blissful silence. When was that, if not a lifetime ago, another world away?
It took much mindless living and doing, to reacquaint with that profound clarity I’d once had but soon lost. I searched many corners of the world for it, only to find it here. A place so close yet unknown to me.
The first glimpse of summer caught me by surprise, and made me wonder where I have been all winter.
Was it denial, or unwilling acceptance?
It’s still all so foreign, yet reminds me of the past.
Nostalgia isn’t a feeling I experience often, or even understand. There has never been consolation in reminiscences, only hope in new pursuits.
Adventure comes at a price. Willing as I was, to take a risk, and make any sacrifice possible, I’m not without fear. It’s never of absolute certainty, if it is a step forward, or around the circle.
But the best lessons have already been taught, the best privileges granted. There’s no reason, not to try.
Friday night. And practice continues. After five years of living free and easy, this life in the fast lane has yet to hit home.
Of course, all is voluntary. Whatever I asked for, I’m getting double the dose of it.
If my dream were to go back in time, and change how the past was written, this would come as close as it could be.
The road that was almost too long to travel, took me here before I gave up altogether. Thankfully.
Not an easy goodbye to wave, to the journey that’s now behind me. Neither do I feel nearly as ready, to face all that’s ahead. Why did no one ever tell me, that a pursuit never ends? It only changes.
In all that wishing for the impossible, I cajoled myself into thinking how far I was, only to miss how close I could’ve been. A very fine line, between dreaming, and living a dream, one that I hesitated long enough to draw.
Stubbornness took me so far as to hold on to my far-fetched, seemingly unrealistic, and slightly absurd ambitions. Then I wandered, doubted, waited, and waited.
Little did I know, I was ready and able.
After living out of a suitcase for about a month or so, I’ve moved on to living out of a couple of suitcases. Who would’ve thought finding shelter would be such hassle?
BUT. Despite being ‘homeless,’ and all other things that are less than satisfactory, or perhaps by that I meant falling short of perfection, I owe a debt of gratitude to all that I have and have been given.
The longest wait has ended. The anxiously repetitive days ended. Worries eased. Changes happened.
Where I would rather be, if not here and now?
No longer is life a dream too far. All the other problems are only minor.