Monday, July 26, 2010

Semi-Charmed Kinda Life

A lot can happen in a year.

That's probably obvious - but of course I'm going to blab on and tell you all about how 'I know this from experience'.

One year I packed my life into two rather large suitcases and moved to a foreign country. Wherein I was far too often treated like dirt, wherein I learned a lot of things about myself and wherein I traveled so much that my soul soared with happiness.

And one year ago TODAY...I returned to my life as I knew it.

Overall, I learned a lot - about people, about life, about the world and most importantly for me...ABOUT me, the person who I am..and more importantly...the person who I wanted to be.

The year following that crazy year abroad has turned out to be a rollercoaster filled with high high's and low low's. With changes, twists, turns, and extreme variations of exhiliration, saddness, anticipation, excitment and terror of the unknown. Sprinkle in with a bit of insanity, a warm dose of love and a hefty side of hibernation - and you have my year.

I've made a lot of changes in the last year. I've stood up for myself in a lot of different ways. I've purged some things and I've indulged in others. I've smiled, cried and laughed more times than I can count. In a lot of ways, I feel as though the last year has been a little bit of that 'one step forward, two steps back' mentality. I've done things that I wanted to do, need to do..for me...for the first time in a long time. For the first time in maybe FOREVER....But at other times, I've slipped back into that old comfortable routine, or I've questioned everything and wondered if I'm doing the right thing or not.

In a lot of ways, it was easier to be the person who I wanted to be in Switzerland. Not that I'm not the same was just...different. I've written about it before - this weird phenomenon where when I left, I left a lot of emotional baggage behind, or rather, the airport seemed to have lost it. Unfortuantly though - when I returned, it was right back there...waiting for me when I got back. Things that bothered me, upset me and hurt me were right there, even though it felt like eons since I had last let those things plague my mind. It was as if there I was able to reinvent myself and my brain just cut out the things that I didn't need to hold on to anymore..and I could ME. I was free to be the person I wanted to be...without any restrictions or emotional baggage.

I had worried of course when thinking about coming home. That things would be different, that things would change...but no one I talked to about this seemed to take these worries seriously. This is no fault of anyones, and I think that this probably happened because they saw me in the same light they always had - how were they supposed to know that some unmeasurable quality was different? Especially when so many other things were exactly the same....

Alas, it really was as if I were staring at one of those 'spot the differences' puzzles - and I was the only one that could see the differences in myself. So blantantly obvious to me, but impossible to spot for everyone else. The longer I was home, the more some of the differences faded and the more I fell into old routines...with this of course came some old bad habits, things that I thought I had left behind. I felt this tremendous urge, this just fall back into old habits and old routines...and the more that happened, the more that scared me. I had changed, grown and become so different - even if it wasn't necessarily measureable or observable to most...I had...and watching that slip through my fingers was frustrating beyond belief. I had made a promise to myself that it was okay for certain things to be the same, to go back...but that there were some things that I couldn't let change. That I had to stand up for myself, things I believed in and things that I wanted. I promised myself that I wouldn't let my own integrity or the things that I wanted out of life be held hostage, simply because they had been in the past. I wanted more, and even worse..I'd had more...and felt it slipping out of my reach. After a while back, I felt as though I'd lost a lot of those things - when that was the biggest thing that I had promised msyelf I wouldn't do.

This is the hardest thing to put into words, because there are simply none. How do you describe an overwhelming peace, happiness and general feeling of acceptance of oneself? And worse yet, how do you try to describe fear of losing that? The act of being physically able to feel the loss? How do you describe the feelings of those things disappeared and your frantic attempts to retrive them? All the while trying to explain that those things have gotten all muddled up and you can't figure out why or how and can't even come close to pinpointing what made life so intrinsically DIFFERENT - or explain how or why you want those feelings back...or even what is now different.

Thus, there has been a lot of reflection of all of the positive things that have happened this year...and of all of the things that I still sit and wonder about. All of the things that have changed because that's the way that life was going, because the pieces of the puzzle just didn't fit anymore, and because that piece that didn't seem like it would ever fit...seemed to just fall into place without any problem at all.

I always wonder though - am I making the right decisions? Am I being true to myself? What if's are bound to always plague my mind....and when I finally accept (or old..) sources remind me of them and make me re-think it all...over and over and over again.

Thankfully, I have some very understanding (and wise) friends, family and confidants that believe in me, that understand, or are at least accepting of these changes and are okay with what is going through my head and (thankfully) remind me to really examine what I'm doing and whether or not I'm doing it for the right reasons..even if they have no idea that they're doing that.

If knowledge is power - then one would assume that I can only go foward from here...

But dude. Ignorance really is bliss...because this knowledge's a lot of work and thinking and sleepless nights filled with questions, worry and endless thoughts.

There has been a lot of wondering what comes next...where will this next year lead me? How will I change, grow and differ from the last? Will I travel, make new friends, or fall backwards - and land flat on my face? There are so many things I want to do, to be, to have...and I feel like it's taken me the better part of this year to get my head on straight and adjust back to this life and all of the things that come with it. To decipher between all of the things that surround me, and to be selfish and make decisions because that's what I want, what's best for me...all the while attempting to keep some sort of integrity and my own concept of self.

I still can't help but wonder though..what the future has in store for me...

But for now, all I know is that a year ago...I stepped off of a plane...and I walked back into my north american life and left a life of europe behind me. When I returned, I loved a lot of things, yet was scared of others. I kept some promises to myself, and broke a few more than I've kept...but I'm working on it. I've made some changes, but still need to make some more. This year has been an interesting filled with lots of thinking, lots of growth and lots of's a little bit scary, this whole 'growing up' business...but I'm a little bit excited (in the 'holy cow I might pee myself' kinda way..) to see how it all turns out...

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