So, here I am living overseas. Definitely not what or where I dreamed I’d be 10 years ago in college, or even after grad school, okay a 9 months ago…but here I am. Admiring Singlutionary’s perspective on such matters, I solicted her insight here…what/why/how do we live the life we desire?
I admire Special K and am honored to be writing a post for her site. I admire her for her her 101 things in 1001 days, for being a satisfied single, for writing, for traveling her own path, for living this joyful healthy life and constantly stretching herself. And I really admire her for up and moving to a different country all on her own.
There was a time when I wouldn’t think that moving to another country across the ocean was such an accomplishment.
A couple days ago I was looking through archived emails from the early days of hotmail. I had only saved my favorites but I still found what I wanted: an email from my best friend placing the month and year in which I decided to move to Utah after college. I forwarded the email to her and she replied “We were so idealistic and had big dreams”. I had felt the same way in reading that email: Our dreams had seemed so simple and easy to achieve.
And then I began to wonder. What happened to that simplicity? Why does the thought of moving to another country intimidate me NOW when it most likely didn’t intimidate me then?
There were a couple things that nobody had warned me about when I was 19. Nobody prepared me for going alone in the world. I thought I’d always have the full support of my family, the admiration of my peers, the companionship of my friends. But sometimes the money runs out, family member’s get old, peers follow different paths or disappear into drugs and friends experience their own griefs and joys which sometimes can not be shared.
For a long long time, my best companion was my Utah friend. I moved to Utah so that we could forge a path to a land where we forever made midnight deliveries of matzo balls wrapped in xmas paper and other random wonders, all while saving the world from poverty and racism and hate.
But shortly after I moved to Utah she met her husband and shortly after I left, they married. And I found myself going solo, first in Wyoming and then back in California and finally in Texas. And I never stopped wanting a companion to shine a light through the confusion, to partner with me against the basics of life.
In those intensely lonely and frightening moments when I found myself to be the only traveler on my journey with only my gut to guide me, I always wanted a boyfriend. Even now, to comfort myself, I sometimes imagine my high school sweetheart. I try to think of what he would say and try to hear him saying it, gentle and calm and capable and comforting.
What I didn’t know when I was 19 is that even folks who have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a husband or a wife or a partner or sex-in-the-city type friends, still have personal moments of deep deep loneliness and confusion. Even the most ambitious and successful and dreaming-scheming-over-achievers go their darkest moments feeling entirely alone. I always thought that if I had a companion I would never feel misunderstood or alone.
In choosing to pursue my dreams, I have again and again found myself in a new place or with new interests which created a gulf of experience between me and those who knew me best. In order to live the life I’ve dreamed of, I have learned to be my own kindred spirit, my own confidant and my own inspiration. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have the support of kindred spirits or that I don’t confide in my mom or that other folks don’t inspire me. Nor does it mean that I wouldn’t welcome new companionship.
I think that my Utah friend, who is married and has two babies might agree. In order to pursue your dreams, you have to know yourself. And nobody else can do that for you, no matter how long you’ve known each other or how close you’ve become.
So, I guess I find K’s move abroad to be so spectacular because I know that it is not my dream at this moment. I can’t comprehend having the energy and guts and passion to forge my way in a foreign land. That might be because my dream right now is about putting down roots and staying put (something I had a hard time with when I was younger). But I still admire it and can’t wait to read more about her adventures.
What are your adventures, your dreams?