One year since I landed.
One year since I stepped back onto my home soil.
One year since I was reunited with my family.
One year since I walked back to a life that was same same but different.
An entire year has passed since I returned back home from traveling many countries for a year in 2016. I have realized today that this probably means that I can no longer say “I’ve just returned from a year abroad” – and yet, it still feels like I am finding my feet and navigating my way through adulthood and responsibility. Perhaps this is something that most people are feeling at this age – I am approaching the eve of my 25th birthday – and this feeling is simply compounded by having left ‘home’ and returned with a mind coloured with experiences that this planet has to offer us.
Be what it may, a year has passed. December is always a time of reflection for me, and this year it is no different. Since returning home, I have been flung around in many situations that were beyond my control. Many of you know that my car was stolen a few weeks ago (and subsequently my rental car broken into too). Many of you don’t know that this has been one of the more trivial of my worries this year. But. I am not complaining.
2017 has brought its challenges, and many of these would have happened whether or not I was in Cape Town. I must say that at times I was tempted to flee “back to my life in Vietnam” which was a space of total stability and freedom during the months I spent there last year. But that does not solve anything. Running away from your issues is a temporary solution to a persisting problem, which will eventually come back to bite you in the ass when you least expect it.
At the same time, you don’t need to skip to the other side of the globe to run away from your issues. You can go through the motions of your daily living, right here in your ‘normal’ life, and STILL be escaping your problems. Just because you are present does not necessarily mean that you are present – understand? This is one lesson that I’ve had to learn the hard way recently. If you ignore it long enough, it’ll find a way to enter your life in a way that makes you stare it in the face and deal with it.
And yet, as somber as the picture I am painting might sound, I am in the best space I’ve been in for a while. My skin is healing, my family members are intentional about their own journeys and well-being, and I have reached an awesome level of happiness and growth in my 9-5 (read: 7-5) job, in an industry that continues to challenge and fascinate me. Life is difficult. But it’s bloody fantastic too. And at the end of the day, I’ve realised that what makes up our minds about this thing we call ‘life’ is 100% based on the evaluations we make in our minds.
You will ALWAYS fall somewhere on the spectrum – trust me. Today was the best day of some person’s life. Today was also the worst day of another’s. Further, some people were happier than you are today with less than you have. Other people who have more than you were less happy. Find and own your position on that spectrum. If it’s not where you want it to be, know that you can improve at any point by taking a step back and simply acknowledging the absolute beauty and absurdity that you even exist and can have these thoughts in the first place!
I know it is so difficult. And you have more on your plate than anyone else and “if only they knew” they’d cut me some slack blah blah blah. But this is your life and your deck of cards, and you can do it. Happy to connect with anybody thinking similar thoughts… 🙂