It’s true – I roll my eyes when I am not in the mood to see another “I am so blessed….” status on facebook. But I think part of that is because I also believe we have a choice in our lives that bring upon us these “blessings” and because I think ALL of life is a blessing. It sure as heck might not feel like it sometimes, but if we take a step back for a moment, I think you can really see how you have possibly learned the most valuable lessons in those not so pretty times of your life, or that you really were holding yourself back from your passion and that is why everything around you felt miserable (just as a couple of examples). I am not going so far to say that you can control every facet of your life (i.e. illness, who your family is, etc), but I definitely think that if you are miserable and not getting what you want out of life, you can’t exactly expect to have an abundance of positive fun loving friends, for example. And at the very least, we are the only ones who can control how we perceive any given situation. I don’t know, maybe I am wrong, but I just got to thinking about this because I have been reflecting on my own life situation at the moment. I don’t claim to know what other people have experienced so maybe I am way off the mark.
I just find it interesting because people often say about my travels, “oh you are so lucky – I wish I could do that.” And I just think, “you can.” Maybe not at this particular moment, but if you really wanted to, you could make it happen. If I could I would win the lottery, not so I didn’t have to work, but to fund all the things I am already on track to do. Maybe speed up the process with less debt and a greater impact. But it doesn’t mean I want to check out from the world and never look back. For me, travelling is part of my passion – as is dancing and helping people heal, and since I have had that realization (actually even before) I have pushed to make my own opportunities. I don’t magically have a lot of money, I never had weeks of “vacation time”, I often haven’t had travel partners, but it is important to me so in exchange I work that much extra and don’t buy designer clothes or go out drinking in expensive cities (I even ask for Christmas gifts to include credit card payments), I find ways to fit travel into an activity like a semester abroad, and I just go. Actually more often than not, it is almost feels reckless because it is not how everyone else would act, but then I just wouldn’t do it (and maybe have a better retirement fund – but I am working on that). And I know I am not THAT old yet – even though my joints feel old – but I have had enough chance to look back and say that yes, I am doing exactly what I want to do and if I wasn’t doing this I would be miserable. And don’t think I haven’t been.
New York City is a city of dreams, it’s the land of the starving artist, and if you make it there you can make it anywhere….and on and on…..right? That is not why I lived in NYC per say, but it was a natural transition to move there after college and I am definitely happy I did. But is it the end all? I can’t say that it was – for me at least. A little over a year ago, I left not being able to handle another second. I think it is an amazing city, I wish I had that much opportunity and choice and awesomeness everywhere I went, but I need to turn it off too and that just wasn’t a reality while I was there. I was having a lousy time, exhausted to the bone, not dancing, worried about bills, and always trying to get to the next day and never ahead or any closer to what I wanted to accomplish in life. Bottom line, it just wasn’t my city, and I need to press the restart button.
I did – I moved back home, for a little while which was the opposite feeling of being a failure and having no where else to go. I realized I hadn’t lived at home in 10 years (moved away at 14) and this gave me a chance to be with the family more and spend time differently than a 4 day weekend. I also had space to think and reevaluate what I wanted. I had time to do my GRE’s and apply for grad schools. And I had the opportunity to come to Norway and look after things while my Uncle was away having heart surgery. Coincidence, maybe, but now I am living with the fam in Norway, dancing, teaching, creating, travelling, slowly learning a bit of a new language, I could go hiking every day if I wanted to, I have performed here, I get to spend more time with a part of my family I didn’t see quite as often growing up, and my uncle is doing really well after the surgery 🙂 And yeah, there are people who would just complain about the rain here, or think Stavanger is a lame small city with nothing on NYC, or that the houses are never going to be as big as in Houston. And sure, I fully take up opportunities to have people bring me stuff from home, but I love it here and I love what I am doing and all the amazing people I am surrounded with daily. Of course I miss the people I love at home too, but they are amazing for supporting my decision to be here. Plus it is way cool when we can rendezvous in “exotic” destinations 🙂
I guess bottom line is take a look and try to see what you want out of life. Make a list, vision board, journal, talk to a friend…whatever it is that helps you and if you really wish you could be doing something, then make it a reality. For some it will happen faster than others, but at least you will be able to seize the opportunity when it comes. And it is a heck of a lot more exciting to put it out there as something you will accomplish one day over emptily saying “I wish I could do that.”
Just try it.