I chose a life many consider unconventional. I tried to conform but it didn't work. End of story. I wouldn't say I chose my life. Most of the time I was running. Everything was an accident. But then one day, things started to work out.
I don't have some glorious Cinderella story where everything turned out perfect. Nor would I pretend otherwise because, I, myself, have a low tolerance for bullshit. By things beginning to work out, I mean I started to enjoy and appreciate my life. I have shit days, average days, and great days. I'm content. And that may never have happened if I didn't decide to run. That's one of the beautiful things about anxiety—it kicks you so hard in the hole that eventually you'll grow exhausted and feel compelled to do something about it, because if not, you'll continue to pay a hefty price.
Running isn't for everyone. There are decisions I could have made that would ensure I was content living a different reality back home in Ireland. But I didn't. The decisions I made might be someone else's nightmare. And what works for someone else might be my nightmare. None of us operate the same mind. A lot is trial and error. But not doing anything for many years was hands down the worst decision I've ever made.
I've lived and settled and moved to different countries across the globe. From the mountains to the tropics and cities in between. I have family and friends I miss at home and many friends I miss from all of my travels. And because of this and the choices I made, sometimes I get smacked in the jaw with a serving of nostalgia. But not the good nostalgia I get reminiscing with friends about all the stupid shit we did in our youth. It's an isolating nostalgia that isn't shared and exists only in the constraints of my mind. I miss something specific about somewhere I've been. I miss my family. I miss cheap good wine, chicken wings, Frank's Hot Sauce and Heinz Tomato Ketchup. I miss my friends. I question if where I am is where I should be.
It often pops up out of nowhere like a jack in the box momentarily making me question the quality of my decisions on this journey we call life. It can be a real pain in the ass. The paradox of choice is real. I've lived so many lives I now know I can always change. I can always move. I can always do something else. That's the ammunition in my arsenal and sometimes it's as much a curse as it is a blessing. I know I can move to Colombia, Portugal or Canada tomorrow if I want to. But that would mean making friends again and I'm tired of that shit. I've enough of the bastards as is. I wish I could bring the best of them together but fairytales don't exist.
The other day I was in the ocean surfing with a friend discussing how real the paradox of choice is while dreaming of the mountains. It's all a construct of the mind which has become a reality thanks to technology. A mind that can so often be out to fuck you. Then I had to pull my head out my ass and realise how great I have it. And I could go on about that, but it's not the point. Even though I write about this shit and practice this shit—I often forget about this shit. Because my life is not a personal development checklist. I want to live. I want to live so much more than I want to consume everything that will tell me how I'm supposed to live my life or how I should behave.
Gratitude is the only antidote I know for this spoilt fucking complaint. Even starting out when you think you have zip to be grateful for, in time, you can turn it all around.
The truth is I'll never know. I don't think anyone will. There will always be days when you question your decisions. I know I'll experience nostalgia in just a few short years for today. And how shit would life be if we didn't get a reminder from time to time of how great it can be because we've forgotten to remind ourselves of all we have?
And after all that, if shit ain't working out, exercise your right to choose differently.
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