Another birthday has come and gone as I also commemorate nearly four years of my expatriate existence. I could sit here and reflect on everything that has happened in the past four years, about where I have traveled, about how much I have changed as a person (and as a traveler), about where I see myself in five years (which, for the record, completely draws a blank). But instead, I would rather rest in my recently acquired ability to be still, to stay in one place, and to be content with the status quo.
I still have goals. I still have things that I want to accomplish. But instead of harping on these wants and desires and feeling incomplete until I achieve them, I am choosing to sit down, look around, and appreciate where I am and what I have built. Faced with so many "shoulds" from society, biology, and the God-awful internet, it can be hard to remain balanced and feel OK with a slight lull in life. It constantly feels like we're running out of time, which we essentially are. We're all getting older, losing time, losing abilities. But as someone who is well-versed in the land of loss, I can echo the platitude that with every loss comes a new gain, maybe multiple gains.
Loss has taught me that I can't control everything, that things are going to happen that suck and that hurt and that can take years to recover from, but it doesn't mean that I have lost control. Because the one thing I am still in charge of is my disposition and my ability to take what happens and grow from it.
I don't know where I'll be in five years. I don't know where I'll be in one year. I am doing and I will continue to do what feels right and what feels good. And that is all I wish for the world.
Lead photo: Lough Bunny, County Clare, Ireland.