I took some time to take a few steps back this Thanksgiving. Well, a lot of steps back because I needed to see the big picture. It’s been incredibly difficult since being back from Korea and my mind and body have gone from incredibly strong to what feels like a display of weakness and failure. I’ve found myself in the place and mindset I had dreaded the most. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed.
So what did I see when I saw the big picture? That I’m way too hard on myself and truly am my own worst enemy. My need to be constantly achieving something is not a strength but my downfall. At the end of the day, I have accomplished a lot in my short time on this earth. I had an upward moving career that I am proud of despite walking away. I was able to live in a foreign country for two years despite the incredible challenges that I didn’t anticipate. I’ve climbed mountains and volcanoes all around the world even though it’s actually really hard for me but alas, one foot in front of the other. I’ve met so many people who have inspired me to live in the moment. I forget these things sometimes. Sometimes it’s so hard to get away from the stagnation of a bad moment in time. I know ‘this too shall pass,’ but it’s hard to be positive. So I remind myself, I encourage others, step back.
When I step back I see the faces of those people who make me smile even though they were in my life for the fraction of a moment. The recently divorced nanny from Brazil at the breakfast nook in Quito, traveling while writing her book. The stranger that showed me around Valparaiso and introduced me to Pablo Neruda’s work. The Spaniards on the back of the truck in Cambodia singing Enrique Iglesia’s ‘Lluvia Cae’ when it began to downpour and we got stuck in a mud road. The crazy Italians that had an all-out battle with our driver in Indonesia when they realized he had no idea where we were going and he couldn’t speak English. The Middle-aged man on a trip to Jeju island that confessed to my boyfriend and I that he had been watching us on the ferry and that he was jealous of us. The Inn owners who nursed me back to health when I showed up with severe food poisoning in Thailand. The elderly woman in San Simeon who cried because I gave her a compliment. The Brit I got drunk with on rice wine and then laughed the whole way through our boat ride down the Tam Coc river. The hospitality of a woman in Texas who struggled with losing her husband to Alzheimer’s. She took me in with open arms.
There are really good people in the world and most of us really are just trying to make the best of it all. I live for these moments and these brief connections. They remind me that I’m alive, breathing and that good or bad, I’m so grateful. I still feel shame, it’s something I will continue to work on, but I have chosen to live my life my own way. Just need to remember to step back when I get in my own way.