I have always wanted to be contented with what I have, but it always seems like I can never be contented with where I am in the present. There is a constant struggle to find my “happy place”, faced with the dilemma of staying or leaving… a never-ending journey to discovering my life’s purpose.
It is through traveling that taught me to appreciate a place, its people, and the kind of life that I’ve been given. Some say that traveling is overrated and that it is a show of status and privilege. But, I say the power of traveling to influence life decisions is underestimated, as it shows one’s effort to step out of the monotony, of the mundane, and of what is comfortable. If only everyone can understand the beauty of it all – how the smell of the sea and grass rejuvenates the soul, how the sight of churches and lighthouses sparks creativity and imagination, how the taste of local delicacies sets off fireworks in the mouth, and how the sensation of touching the earth awakens curiosity about stories of yesteryears, of today, and of what lies ahead – then, people will not hesitate to become bolder and more adventurous.
This struggle makes me feel certain and uncertain at the same time – certain of what I want to do and where I want to go, yet uncertain of what I really want to achieve out of it and where I should get off to reach my destination. It’s these certainties and uncertainties which make life exciting and unpredictable, as they allow you to realize the things truly valuable to you.
I remember during my 25th birthday, my friend asked me to list down the 25 things that I am grateful for in the past year. I was in trouble. I did not know what to say. I realized I was hanging onto a constrained definition of what is worth being thankful for, than actually being grateful for life in general and the ups and downs that go with it. I was focusing on accomplishments instead of savoring the entire experience that went with reaching my goals.
I’ve been told that I am an achiever and a go-getter. I’ve been called competitive and even worse, intimidating. I used to feel great about these words, but I realized that they have all gotten into me. These made me want to push boundaries until I am no longer happy. I used to believe that I am good at what I do but now I feel that these are lies that people made me believe. Could these feelings have stemmed from my being oblivious of the things going on around me just because I kept my eye on the ball?
I realized that I have been ungrateful for what life has been offering me these past few years, and I know it is time for a change. I know that I am capable of changing. Anyone is. I want to be able to say with ease what I am grateful for when I am 30 or 40 or 50. I want to rediscover my love for writing, dance, and theater. I want to fall in love again. I want to be like the little girl I was –happy with the littlest things like chocolates, hugs, and rainbows.
I believe that next year will be my year. It will also be your year. We should claim every year as “the” year to make an impact in other people’s lives, to discover more about ourselves, and to find more reasons to be thankful for. I hope to be the same explorer who is hungry for any adventure, but a better version who acknowledges the good in everything that happens in life. If I could adjust to change of plans while on the road, then why shouldn’t I be able to accept that life’s spontaneity could also be good? I will continue to go on and travel, and find inspiration to write about how it is changing perspectives.
Let us all find an adventure to embark on. It does not have to be labeled “far” or “grand” or “exotic,” as these are all relative. That continuous search for our happiness does not have to stop when we find what is okay or comfortable. When we finally decide to put an end to that search, it should be because we found what we feel is best.