I thought I needed a place to feel a certain way. I thought I needed to escape my reality and find a new one. I thought I needed to start over, far far away.
There is nothing wrong with these thoughts. But, there isn’t too much right with them either. The problem is that they are too easy. They don’t take into account, well, me.
Moving across the world has taught me a few things. Thank God. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am not the first person to feel that way. In fact, moving should teach you things. If not, what’s the goddamn point? Oh yes, full disclaimer: it is currently 6am and I have been up for 3hrs, wrecked from jet lag. Apologies for the confusion and aggression. It’s not me, it’s this silly jet lag monster. Anyway, with a tiny bit of ‘what has my year abroad taught me?’ reflection under my belt, I have realised that moving has reminded me of a few simple things. Simple and important.
First, rather than craving a place, I was craving a sense of self. I feel like my satisfaction with that sense of self is now on the way. In contrast, pre-Paris Lexie wasn’t full. She was fine, but not really living in the present. She wanted something, but didn’t know why. That is, I was kinda consumed by an image of myself that wasn’t serving anyone and was pretty much unnecessary. Shame! I wanted to ‘be perfect’. Obviously an unattainable, unrealistic and frankly dumb thing to be aiming for, this just left me with a great deal of sadness. I was trapped and I did that to myself. What moving to France did was force me to scrap that stupid thing and build a sense of character. She is a work in progress of course, but at least she is heading in the right direction.
How did this happen? Well, it isn’t something that I set out with the intention of building. I thought I was just moving to France to be ‘young, wild and free’. I did that, but along the way, I started to allow myself to value things that I had originally given much time. After all, little old ‘perfect me’ didn’t care so much about these things, she just wanted that golden perfection. I am talking about things like stopping and smelling the roses, like realising that life is full of seasons and the unexpected moments are the best moments. The people that I stuck close to, the places that have filled me up and the random little activities that I have achieved, they have all helped to build on the foundation that is me. Another disclaimer: I am not saying that Pre-Paris Lexie sucked, she just wasn’t really real. She was more like a shell with no tasty centre. The centre is the best part. That is, letting go of old expectations and being forced to trust my instincts in a foreign land has begun to shape a centre, my centre.
It is almost as though I didn’t know exactly what I needed to help me. I was searching for excitement, grand challenges and all the things that Hollywood tells you you need to be “complete”. However, the truth is that maybe I just need to listen to what fills me up and go with that. Life is for leaning in. I am here for it.