When I think about how I used to look at the world, with such curiosity and love, I sometimes feel like I’ve forgotten who I used to be. I used to grab at the world endlessly, with no fear and no reserves. I sometimes miss that person that so loved the world, chasing dreams endlessly, no matter the cost, emotionally, mentally, or financially.
I miss the bliss of being sure of my passions and my desires: to travel to get to know the world and its people, to make the world a better place, and to write about all of it, detailing on every nook and cranny of this digital journal the step-by-steps of my global citizenship journey.
But somewhere along the line those passions and desires were taken from me, or at the very least, they’ve gone completely dormant, almost as though have been taken from me.
Through bad relationships, the demands of graduate school, and the constant need to be perfect 100% of the time driven by my anxious ridden psyche, my creativity, my desire for lifelong learning, and pure bliss of enjoying life were somehow hidden from me, pulled from me, stripped from me.
The void became the next door neighbor that I greeted daily when I finally mustered the strength to push my failing limbs out of the depths of my gnawing bed sheets, begging me to hide from the demands of the adult world.
I stopped writing. I stopped feeling love, for the world, for others, for myself. I gave up on trying to kick depression and anxiety out, instead accepting them as just permanent fixtures on my mind’s sofa, eating all my energy and sucking all my joy. I pushed through the end of grad school, having anxiety attacks weekly, wishing it would all stop but knowing that I would regret giving up.
So, pushed through I did, and here I am. I still feel the void. I still, on the occasion, greet anxiety and depression when I first wake up. I still struggle to feel joy, but I finally have started pulling my energy out of anxiety and depression’s reach, fighting to push them off my mind’s sofa and out of my front door.
And it’s all because I realized that though I miss that spontaneous part of me that had such passions and took every opportunity thrown my way, I never fully and truly learned how to take care of myself and to put myself first through the chaos of life, most especially when it comes to failing relationships and demands of work/school.
So, here I sit, pouring myself out to the internet because I’m putting myself first. I decided to put myself first once I graduated in August, and though it is a very slow journey, with some setbacks, it is a journey forward nonetheless.
I’ve realized that the void that I was feeling is because I’ve been chasing trying to be “that person that I used to be” as well as the idea of who and what I should be at 27 years old as laid out by society.
I’ve been chasing an old version of myself that I will never see again because I’ve changed. I’ve experienced so much and have dealt with a lot of difficult things over the past four years since I’ve started this blog that I must just face the truth: I am no longer that person that I was when I first started this blog. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I’m no longer spontaneous 100% of the time. I no longer just throw myself at experiences because I believe that I will regret it if I don’t. I no longer book trips or buy things without thinking about the financial consequences because I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve realized that constantly throwing myself at experiences, whether it’s traveling, buying something new, or trying to like a certain thing, has only left me feeling empty and lost.
I have to redefine myself, and as a result, I have to redefine my global citizenship journey and efforts.
Don’t get me wrong.
I still love to travel.
I still love expatriate living (even if I’m not currently an expatriate) and all the challenges, experiences, and opportunities it brings.
I still love writing.
I still love the world and its people (even if right now it is deep down under a lot of hurt and frustration).
I still have a desire to help others and to help make this world a better place.
I still have a desire to constantly be learning.
I still have a desire to become a better global citizen every day.
And I will continue to write about those things.
But, now I’m realizing that after years of throwing myself endlessly at doing anything and everything just to experience life at its fullest is no longer going to cut it, and it has made me feel massively outside of myself.
So, I have to redefine myself. I have to redefine who I am, and redefine how I relate to the world, including how I travel, how I relate to and learn about other cultures, and how I plan to help make this world a better place.
I have to redefine and learn again how to be my best self before I can turn towards opening myself up towards my global citizenship journey again.
So, that’s what I plan to do. My new goal, at least for the time being, is focusing on self-care and defining what I want in life.
And at first I wasn’t sure that I was going to write about any of this because it’s difficult to be so vulnerable, but I’m coming to accept two things about myself: 1) writing has always been one of my major sources of healing and 2) creativity in general and my creativity specifically have always been massively important to me.
So, I decided to document this journey, amongst the other things that I love to write about (travel and expatriation, most notably) on this blog.
Some things that I’m focusing on to redefine myself and to focus on self-care are:
- not drinking alcohol for a month
- writing more often
- reconfiguring my wardrobe (because I believe that if you feel dreary in your clothes then you are going to feel dreary in other aspects of your life as well. Besides, I feel like through redefining my personal clothing style, I’m figuring out again who I am as a person)
- exercising more consistently
- reading more for pleasure
So, no I’m not, unfortunately, going on a spontaneous trip to redefine myself and to turn my focus back to my self-care and then writing about it (though I will willing admit that that sounds quite appealing. Yes, I’ve read Wild and Eat Pray Love and feel no shame in saying that I was inspired by these women’s journeys). I’m just trying to live a stable, normal adult life (at least for a little while) and writing about it. Maybe it will be interesting. Maybe it won’t be. Maybe it will turn into something more later. Maybe it won’t.
At this point, all I know is that I must write.
I’ve been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I feel like she expresses the creation of art and the release of creativity so well. She expresses the reality that the creation of art and creativity are for the creator. Yes, of course, my creations will be judged, but at the end of the day, my creation, my writing is for me and my perception of the world, regardless of whether or not people like or accept it.
So, come along with me if you’d like or not. Either way, I’ll be here, trying to make the most of this creative space.