In 365 days. I completed another one of those trips yesterday. My 35th turn, in fact. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been around for such a long time already. The distance I have travelled on this planet through space is so much more impressive than the distance in time. What a strange thing to imagine.
I must say, I am enjoying the journey. I still don’t know with any amount of certainty that I chose to undertake it, but I’m glad I am here. There is endless wonder to behold and so much to learn and I am more aware of that now than I was half a life ago.
Many people find an occasion like this reason to reflect on their status quo, their accomplishments and/or failures, perhaps they review their bucket list.
I am not one of them.
As an introvert I am on the reflective side of things anyway. There’s no particular need to indulge even further simply because it happened to be my birthday. I don’t measure my life against that of others. How could I? They live theirs according to a completely different set of criteria. Their desires are not mine.
Had I lived a hundred years ago, I might already be nearing the end of my life after having given birth to six children, only two of whom surviving into adulthood, and having worked since the age of nine. That is, if I had been born into the lower classes.
If you believe in reincarnation, I may very well have done that.
In other words, just as I cannot measure my life against one I may or may not have lived a hundred or a thousand years ago, I cannot measure it against yours.
I am happy in my life. It’s mine. I made it what I wanted it to be. I continue to do so every day. It’s a struggle at times. And when I struggle I figure out why and seek to make a change to the cause of it, because life is too short to be unhappy.
I am about to go on a trip around the world. An elephant has been sitting on my chest and it wouldn’t let me breathe. So I am going to have to leave it behind. It’s not the elephant’s fault. It’s an awesome elephant. It has been good to me and didn’t mean to get so heavy on me. It was much smaller in the beginning, too. But it grew, as all living things do.
My trip has been a long time coming and it is the right thing for me to do. There are many reasons for me to go and many things I want to do. Among other things I want to enable myself to only ever go and visit the elephant for old time’s sake, but never have to live with it again.
I have plenty of people tell me that they envy me. They love the idea of travelling. They love the idea of giving up their jobs that they are not really happy or fulfilled in. They love the idea of independence. Some feel left behind.
Your life is yours and you can’t measure it against mine either. I have grown into someone, who is fiercely independent and loathes the times when I can’t be for whatever reason. I have grown into someone, who cannot live in the same place for an extended period of time before restlessness strikes once more.
I have grown into someone, who can only think of writing as her calling and works every day to get better at it, knowing that I may never make a livelihood of it. And it took me most of my journey thus far to get to this point.
I have grown up travelling around the sun. Hurtling through space at a speed that is inconceivable and, surprisingly, not increasing, though it feels like that subjectively every now and then.
As far as I am concerned, I’ve completed about a third of my journey. I have a long while to go yet. I plan to make the most of it and that means doing what I want (as selfish as this sounds) and not what is expected of me. Because somebody else’s expectations have nothing to do with my life, so I can’t imagine complying with them.
I hope you are able to enjoy your own journey. And if you don’t, change directions.