Life often spins us around. Yet like any good dancer, it will signal you before the turn. Stay on your toes and keep up the beat, if you don’t it’s very easy to fall out of step and ruin the song. Lately, I’ve been swept into a waltz that has me crossing the dance floor multiple times. Those of you who follow my blog or talk to me regularly, know that I have had something of whirlwind in the past few months.
Around this time last year, I was preparing to go to Thailand and being interviewed for schools. I did not expect that almost a year later I would ever end up in Japan, nor that a relationship would crumble into open animosity and even less expecting is the fact that I am returning to America. A lot of things were out of my control and I just had to go with the flow. Obviously, there was some stressing out involved in between my transitions, but after six years of living the life of nomad, in one form or another, I’ve learned a few lessons.
Wanderlust is not always wonderful
I’ve seen the world, learned languages, experienced cultures and ways of living that are dusk and dawn to America; it has been beautiful and wonderful. I wouldn’t trade my life for any other. Yet, there are huge swathes of time in which I have been fully alone unable to relate to the lives of others around me. As much as we travel towards a new horizon, we walk away from someone else’s.
There is fine line between being and living
I’ve had many conversations about how important it is to live life, not be a life. To live is to make mistakes and learn. To climb to the highest mountain knowing your next step might send you tumbling down. It is to take a risk solely for the rewards, and then take another risk because you don’t care about the rewards anymore. Living is walking between stability and spontaneity. Those who have lived a life know when it’s time to move on, they do not hold onto bad relationships, will quit unsatisfied jobs and will embrace change like an old friend. Living is like being conscious of breathing. Without thinking about it, we sustain breath and stay alive. Yet, if you are aware of the breath, a calm focus occurs and we can not only direct how we breath, but also where and when we breath.
It’s a pretty simple thing. Smiling. The greatest teachers in life have laugh lines and I challenge you to think of someone that hasn’t inspired you that doesn’t. Let yourself be drawn to people that are quick to smile and even quicker with laughter. These people will laugh on a moments notice, find the humor in all things and support you throughout your journeys. They are not always happy because they have never had horrible things happen to them. They are always happy because the worse has happened to them and they’ve survived. It’s strange to say, but the people that smile the most tend to also have the most scars. They are the ones who are on the frontlines of life and it’s hard to dodge every bullet coming your way. If you find one of these people, pull them into your life. Make them a friend, a lover, a companion and a support. Give them all that they give you and you’ll quickly find that more loyal individuals cannot be found.
Remember lessons in love..then forget them.
Our greatest lessons come from the greatest pain. We gain the most when we feel as if we’ve lost it all. This is nowhere more true then in love. Friends of mine will tell you that I love easily. It’s true. I do. But, there is a reason. I’ve been crushed and disappointed, lied to, manipulated and taken advantage of quite a few times. It’s through these lessons that I know exactly what I want because I know what I don’t want. Take down those walls, give up the key and let someone clean the dust out of your heart. Worse case scenario is things don’t go as planned but the cobwebs are finally out of the corner. Best case scenario? Well...that’s all in what you’re looking for isn’t it?
Learn how to cook.
Put down that pack of ramen and don’t you dare go get fast food instead. Despite our refusal to admit this, cooking really should be the most basic of skills and still is in almost every other country except for first world. I am not saying you need to be a chef, but you should at least be able to go to the grocery store and make a variety of dishes from the local produce or whatever is in season. I’ve always loved cooking, so I admit to being biased, but if you burn everything you touch that is still not an excuse. If you insist on using that for your reason to go to taco bell then start with things that don’t require heat. Plus, cooking is a great stress relief and an even better moment for reflections.
I often have discussions with friends about what i’ve learned in my travels and how I think they apply to my life. I’m never quite sure how to answer them because almost everyday I learn something new. Something that builds upon what was already created. It’s a continually deluge of experiences that, hopefully, I will be able to pass on. Perhaps by better words or a clearer mind...but for now...Wander the world and live your life. Time doesn’t hold meaning and neither does age or circumstance. Despite all the woes and sorrows in the woe, the turmoil that rocks the foundations of our beliefs..smile, love, and when all else fails? Cook something to make it all better.