Op-Ed
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Op-Ed

Eddy Out

It is so difficult to get into routine away from home.

Even though I love being away from home very much and I love mixing up my routine, I miss my journaling chats. I miss having the freedom to be creative with the lulls in my day. I even miss begrudgingly dragging myself into the house to listen to my grandpa tell the same stories again. I knew I would. I told myself that I would in moments that seemed to be worth nothing more than passing by without a second thought. I would stop and think, “God, I’m going to miss this.” I’m going to miss being bored when my life gets chaotic. I’m going to miss not having anything that I have to do. I’m going to miss my mom telling me my cat wanted out at an ungodly hour. I’m going to miss my dad telling me about his unreasonable plans for the day. I’m going to miss my little sanctuary in my grandparents’ backyard.

Its not easy to balance the desire to explore with the attachment I have to my routines. When I’m on an adventure I try to experience life ‘in the moment’. I forget my agenda and allow the signs and symbols to guide me. I pour myself into the world and become part of it, rather than participating in the meta-observation. But today, while I was walking the dog, I realized I just do it differently. I still meditate, it’s just a different type of meditation. I’m constantly reflecting, but I don’t formally write it down. Which is somewhat of a tragedy for me because I like to look back at my journals and embody the girl that wrote them. I change so often that the things I wrote only a few month ago seem like a lifetime ago.

Today I feel content. I’m currently being paid to exist. I’m doing the things I normally do at home for my grandparents like: taking out the garbage, loading the dishwasher, and any simple tasks that require . The difference is, I don’t have my family. I have to remind myself of their unconditional love. It isn’t very difficult to do because I’ve been away for only two weeks and I’ve talked to my mom on the phone almost everyday. That is part of my meditation practice. My anchor is still here in the physical realm. I am so grateful to have this support so late into my life.

Growing up in the era of social media seems to be incredibly detrimental to the mental health of young people. It may even be worse than being born to parents that seek out validation from a partner rather than finding it within themselves. As we reduce ourselves to nothing more than a single individual against the world, we begin to feel lonely. No one can understand us because we are so unique. Our villages reduced to neighbors, neighbors reduced to an extended family, extended family reduced to the nuclear family, nuclear family reduced to an only child. What have we got left? An island of misfit toys. The lonely children find sanctuary in other abandoned and lonely children. Maybe they develop resilience, but most will have to experience life from a lack-mentality before they finally look within for answers. They will break each others trust out of conditioning. Only the strong will survive the absolute betrayal and rise like a phoenix from the ashes. They will have to overcome trials and tribulations to achieve any sense self-worth. It is through adversity that they will become great.

If I said, “I don’t care what people think of me”, I would, of course, be lying. I don’t even think that’s the mentality I want to have anyway. I just want to be able to say what I’m thinking and that not be taken offensively. I want people to be forgiving with their interpretations of my intent. I want to have permission to be curious. I live my life in such a way that allows for that. I don’t work for a corporation, despite being qualified to do so, because I don’t want to be stifled in my speech. Still, I have trouble with the idea of a public life. There was a time I’d have relished in the thought of having a plethora of people that wanted to hang out. Now, I’d much rather get to know people over a long period of time and have them get to know me. I have learned there is no way to express my entire self in an instagram post. There isn’t a way to fully express myself in a blog post either. But if you read about this journey over time, you’ll have a better idea of why that is the case.

I am a dynamic character. I have values but I rarely hold tight to my own opinions. There’ve been times when I’ve had a good laugh at myself for becoming indoctrinated into an ideology. I think it stems from the absolute shock of moving from the United States to Kuwait. I was a practicing Christian, but my devotion was no match for prayer-call five times a day. This was the first time I remember questioning my philosophy. More recently, it happened again when I was considering repeating an absurd squat challenge. This time around I took a day to think about why I was doing it. The answer I kept coming to was that it was shocking. Eventually I realized it was also kind of selfish. At the time when I completed this challenge, I wasn’t even aware of the spectacle I was trying to create.

“I can do this on my own. I don’t need anyone. Look what I can do.”

I was projecting out an independent persona. To the universe, I was saying “Is that all you got?”

She sure showed me…

I was fighting the current trying to paddle upstream, vigorously struggling to catch all the plans I’d made that were quickly passing me by. After days of feeling the tension and pressure build, I gave up. I surrendered. I took my position in the natural order and fell into a state of flow. The chaotic eddy delivered me into a calm and peaceful pool. I’ve opened myself to whatever may come and today that allowed for some journaling.

Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa

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