Becoming who I am

I don’t think living abroad is a universal experience for the average Floridian. Sometimes I myself can hardly believe that I am overseas.

And yet all the foreign people I know here share this singular experience that seems so impossible back home.

I remember at my friend’s wedding that the bride suggested I talk to a guest. He had taught all over the world and was currently stationed in Russia. I felt myself go hot with jealousy.

But hey, look at me now.

This month was my two year Korea anniversary. Can you believe it? It’s not only the anniversary of me moving here but moreso of me finally listening to my gut and casting off the old skin I thought I must wear.

When I think about it, I have made, in my own way, great strides. I moved within a foreign country on my own, I bought a car and do maintenance on it on my own, I set up banking and jobs on my own. There is no fallback. Jumping was the only way to realize what I am fully capable of.

Becoming who I am is not easy. It’s never straightforward and rarely does the modern world give me a pat on the back for the decisions I’ve made– but my cheering squad lends me a hand and pushes me upright when the road feels too steep to keep going.

There’s a quote I read a long time ago that went, “I would make the same mistakes, only sooner.” I didn’t understand until now.

I wonder what kind of person I would be now if I had been braver, then. If I had had the courage and the clarity to follow my instinct.

When I was a kid, I thought as an adult I would have all the answers. Now that I’m well into adulthood, I’m most disappointed to learn that isn’t true– there is no magic age of clarity, no clear answers, very few signs from the universe. Life is in the gray spaces.

I also feel that modern life doesn’t have a space for me, for people like me. We’ve dug ourselves into our own holes then threw the shovel up and over. Like my MO in Sims, we built a pool, removed the exit ladder, then jumped right in. (I did this because I liked the aesthetic of having a graveyard in my Gothic Sim Mega Mansions and also cared little for the Sims themselves, apart from trying to use hacks I found on AOL to look inside the shower while the Sims were bathing).

I thought when I reached 20, 25, 30, a beam of light would descend upon me and all knowledge that I needed to proceed with surety about life would shine upon my being. But existence continues to be gloriously messy.

I know people look at the ups and downs of my life and wonder why I can’t just be still, be satisfied with a steady life, work my way up in corporate. Other people sometimes misunderstand this as dissatisfaction, depression, flightiness.

For me, I’m glad I have that itch. I’m glad I’m awake enough to ask the questions.

To quote someone from a message board who once nearly floated out to sea on an inner-tube in Japan, “I feel like I’ve lived ten lives”.

There is still a small, but luckily getting smaller, part of me that says that I don’t deserve to be comfortable. If I’m not run down and dog tired then I’m not working hard enough. If I’m not changing the world through science then my potential is wasted. If I’m not maxing out my retirement account or buying a house and instead am thinking of when I can surf again or the first country I’ll hop to after the pandemic or what interesting people I’ll meet next, then my real life is simply on pause. There is still that workism-obsessed American piece of me that tries to prove misery is the only authenticity.

But I’m getting better at ignoring her. Misery loves company, after all, and I’d rather throw in my lot for a good time.

Glennon Doyle said “the braver I am, the luckier I get.” I want to keep living bravely even if it’s hard because that’s how I grow and change. That’s how I stumble upon opportunities I could never have imagined. Remember when I modeled for Busan tourism?

Being brave means taking risks, it means following your own path, it means not always fitting in, it means confusing and disappointing others to be honest with yourself.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I am a new butterfly fighting her way out of the cocoon. It’s not a graceful process and we shouldn’t expect it to be.

I can’t change what people want to see, what they have been trained to see, what they have learned to see. For me, feeling stifled is the worst kind of torture.

I want so much that I’m bursting. I know so little that I’m blundering. I am a black hole of want and wonder. I am human in all that I do.

The trick for people with the Campaigner personality type is to take advantage of this quality, this wonder with the magnificent breadth and detail in the world, and to use it to propel themselves further and deeper than others are willing or able to go.

ENFP

Some people are comforted by stability. I am discomfited by routine. Not an easy adjustment in a modern world of 9 to 5.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t have any answers, really, but I am content in the gray spaces. Our time is so incredibly limited and thus I won’t limit myself.

I just want to keep growing and knowing and collecting unbelievable experiences.

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