A New Perspective
Here I am, sitting at my new office watching the sun start its day just like I am starting mine. As I look out through this dirty window, I see all the things I want to achieve, create, think, eat and explore, just on the other side of this smudged pane of glass. It’s been ten years since my family took an around the world trip, seven years since I spent a month in rural Nicaragua, five years since I graduated high school and fled to Scotland, three years since I spent time with my family in Europe and just over two years since I decided to spend all my money and travel around Turkey for a month. A lot of time has passed, a lot of me has changed, but the core of my being feels almost exactly as it did in 2005: curious, timid, excited, scared, strong, happy, lost but never, ever alone.
I let the sun warm my face as I look around. To my left are cards and pictures I’ve collected throughout my travels; every time I look at one of them I am reminded of that exact moment in time. I cherish that moment then try to let go and move on. I’ve surrounded myself with things that are jam packed full of memories, every little thing has a story, a story that comes rushing back to me every time I look at it, whether I like it or not. Memories are a delicate thing. They can motivate you and push you to work harder towards something, or they can weigh you down and barricade your mind, preventing you from going anywhere.
A trip back to Seattle means that I will have to face the world I left behind, just shy of a year ago. I get a knot in my stomach as we approach the ferry; the sun is shining (something very rare and precious in the Northwest) and I start to remember the beauty of this place. For a moment the knot in my stomach subsides and I enjoy the stunning magnificence of my old home: Mount Rainier so close I can almost touch it as it sits just beyond the calm, sparkling Puget Sound water. As soon as the ferry reaches the shore of Vashon Island, I feel safe and comforted as we begin winding our way on shaded backroads towards my parents house. I even start to look forward to the days ahead, where I get to spend time with those I love in the coziest of homes; it's just what lies on the other side of this Island that scares me. With two appointments and a concert to go to in Seattle, I will have to spend at least two full days in the city...Yikes! Just thinking about it sends my whole body into a state of panic, requiring me to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, remembering that it will all be okay.
"Three more months," Dr. Ross says very matter-of-factly. I immediately shrink back into my chair, afraid of what he might say next. However, to my surprise; that is pretty much it. I am to check in again a month later, but for now all I have to do is was let the reality of three more months with my joyous double day medicine routine soak into my being, while a million other thoughts whirl around in head, desperately trying to break free. The door clinks behind us as my mom and I walk to the car in silence. Earlier, on our way to the city I had a panic attack of sorts. The knot once again began to appear in my stomach as the ferry jolted to a stop at the West Seattle dock. At that very moment my mom decided to ask me a few questions about my future (school mostly). It was a completely reasonable thing to talk about, but for some reason as soon as the words left her mouth my whole body tightened; I found it impossible to think. It was as if a dark cloud had suspended itself just above my head. So here's the thing, I am terrified of going back to school. The combination of being in Seattle (the very place that I dropped out of school) and this conversation sent me over the edge. Looking back, I so wish I could have kept my cool and talked through my anxiety about the subject, but in that very moment a breakdown was the only way I could see an out.
It is very easy for me to compare myself to the world around me. I see all the people scurrying around with their degrees and hard-earned jobs. A part of me so wishes that I already had those same experiences under my belt, that I had somehow stuck with school and a job even when my world was crumbling down around me. The thing is, deep down inside I know that at that time I didn't want that; otherwise I too would have a place amongst the sea of degrees. If that was the path I had taken, sure I wouldn't feel so lost right now, but I also wouldn't have the same perspective on this world that I do now. Thanks to my past, I have seen and done some pretty amazing things-- so why do I still have such a hard time seeing that? All those trips, places and people I met these past years would not be a part of my life if I had gone a different direction. Yet somehow, all I see are the mistakes I've made, and all the things I haven't done; and believe me, I so desperately want to change that perspective. I was not born to live the same life as the person next to me. It is supposed to be, and is, wildly different! A life that takes me twisting through small roads in India and bustling cities in Europe, full of memories and experiences that are uniquely my own.
I have the power to hold on to or let go of the memories I have made, to look at each one with an open heart, knowing that no matter how much I may fear or regret it, it has brought me here to this person I am today. Yes I did drop out of school; does that mean I can't go back and work even harder towards to become the person I wish to be? No, it does not. I can't let how I feel towards the experiences I've had in the past stop what I what to get out of my future. Nothing ahead is certain; nor will it ever be. There is no one charging in front of me to clear a path, to show me right from wrong. I must learn to take chances, to trust in myself--to know that I am not my thoughts, I am not my memories. I am curious, timid, excited, scared, strong, happy and lost in this crazy world, but I am by no means alone. I was born surrounded by people who know I can succeed; all I need to do now is to convince myself that I have the power to say yes and complete anything I set my mind too, ultimately creating contentment within myself. I need to replenish my mind with the memories that help me to grow and become my strongest self, instead of those memories that hold me back. It's time I focus on all the amazing things I have done with my life, instead of what I have yet to do.
Until Next Time, Keep On Keepin' On...