Okay, so I’m really struggling to keep up with this blog and I can’t figure out why. I love to write and I want to continue it. But why can’t I make it come together as easily as it did, say, 6 months ago? Every time I sit down to write, I find myself remembering to do things like pay for my storage space or worse…I dedicated an hour yesterday to skype Sallie Mae about my student loan payments….not to mention relentlessly checking the latest Facebook posts and finding new things to like. Still, I am insistent on getting one more blog post in by June (and that leaves only one more day!).
I guess without being self critical (as I could call myself lazy)…I like to think that my circumstances have changed a lot from when I began writing on here. Last year I suspect I used it more as a source of expressing my frustration and uncertainty about many things, while this year, I feel….more….at peace.
And to what do I attribute this peace? Maybe I have just resigned myself to the fact that I am here…that I live here now. In a strange way, even though I am far from completing all that I want in my life, I like to think I have begun to resolve a certain sense of incompleteness that I have always felt (of course I am speaking about that part of me that has always felt unsatisfied with my life as it is in the present moment) and I find myself with much fewer “troubles,” feeling more balanced and hence more content maybe more than I have ever felt in my life.
I still feel ambition for all the things I would like to achieve, but I’ve also broken away from insisting on the grand objectives and becoming disappointed. I think I’m a little more open to the random things that life sort of suggests for me and so I find myself more and more enjoying the moments I have to paint, travel and experience my relationship or the new friendships I have made, rather than anticipating the next big life change or dwelling on how to preserve some sort of stability or better yet, why, I have not attained it.
I realize it’s possible that this could be my greatest accomplishment in coming here.
Plus, its winter now, and I was able to walk home today in the rain (wearing wet socks because my boots no longer withstand the water on the street) and not feel like I was counting down the days….
I’m pretty sure this is good news.
But what does that leave me to write about when I cannot complain? This is my new problem!
In any case, I’m determined to keep up with this thing. After all, if not for this blog, I would never have met my newest best friend, who first wrote me in response to one of my posts that she too was a “vegetarian,” who “loved the desert” and was also “thoroughly defeated by the puna in San Pedro de Atacama.” Both of us being from very small towns in the same geographic area of the East Coast of the United States, we also moved West at the same age, and we practically arrived in Santiago on the same day in March of 2011. We swear that for sure we must have been completely linked in our past lives…and we are continuously assessing what those lives may have been. When we last left off and after some wine drinking, we had convinced ourselves that we had without a doubt existed in some era of the old American west as to account for our love of the desert…most certainly outlaws of some sort. (Well, it sounded reasonable at the time). But here we are in Valparaiso, in this lifetime, pretending to proudly represent our country in what looks like some kind of US summit meeting, secret agreement, take over of Chile photo:
(Somehow, like Waldo, the US flag always shows up in unexpected places, like here in front of this Chilean war memorial for a war fought against Peru…that to my knowledge had absolutely nothing to do with the United States. Maybe we assume we won that war too?
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went on a long drive through the mountains. This was the day of May 21 when supposedly it was predicted by some Brazilian scientists that there would be a mega earthquake (and possibly also the end of the world – as the day drew nearer, I was hearing more of that). Naturally, “the end of the world” worked itself into this date as well, as did its cousins, the Mayan Calendar and the year 2012.
Obviously, I survived and none of those things happened. (Although, I admit it. I took 10 cans of tuna fish and a bag of almonds as food rations, just in case!) Here are some photos of the drive…
There is something to the whole end of the world phenomenon as well as all of the catastrophic news that is reported daily, even if it conjures up feelings of fear and dread, that remind us that we are totally vulnerable to whatever might happen. I am not totally at ease with this feeling, although at the same time I like to think that only through vulnerability and only through giving up a little control and adopting a faith in the unexpected, have I gotten this far. It has allowed me to travel, meet new people and have certain experiences both abroad as well as in the States. Ironically, choosing the non-secure lifestyle is what has led me to the harmony I am discovering now.
So, I appreciate my days here even more, knowing it’s not something that will last forever…and maybe none of what we know now will exist one day. Places, friendships, relationships all have the potential to change or dissolve. This doesn’t have to signify failure or defeat or destruction…it doesn’t even have to imply an “end,” but perhaps a transformation.
This makes me remember a story of a friend of a friend who had worked in a remote area somewhere in the South of Chile as a person who shaved sheep. There he met an older woman whom, when she was a pre-teenager, had been kidnapped, kept in a basement, tortured and raped for years. Today this woman has a husband and five children and would appear to live relatively normal. I guess one could judge this woman without knowing her past and assume she hadn’t done that much with her life…a simple house wife with kids. But, in reality, considering all that she had experienced…just to live relatively normal, to raise kids and to be married is a huge accomplishment. This makes me wonder if maybe the greatest thing we can hope for…is just to feel joy….I mean despite anything negative we have all experienced…maybe this is the greatest achievement in life…and since the energy we possess we inadvertently offer to one another, the greatest thing we can offer to the world is just to be a content person who works with life instead of against it, a joyful person who has gratitude for all that they have in this moment.