I lost count how many times I’ve said I wanted a “reset”. Most of which were blurted out of mere ignorance, perhaps part of that sense of entitlement you feel as a juvenile, back when you knew less but thought you knew better, back when you had the audacity to think that the world owes you something.
It’s easy to say that “the world messed me up” when bad things happen. It’s convenient to find faults in others, find flaws in the past and blame it all in the present. It’s our escape; perhaps to some, it’s an excuse to keep going, it’s something that pats you on the back to say that whatever mess you’re in now is not just due to your own blunder.
There’s this line in one of my absolute favorite movies, “Before Sunset”:
“We have these innate set points and nothing much changes our disposition.” – Jesse
It is something I’ve always believed in. Sure, I never have cleverly worded it the way the scriptwriter has, but that’s the context anyway. It is something I strongly believe, and yet somehow, it is something I wish I could escape from. Because it makes me wonder, what if there really are people like me who finds it impossible to answer the question, “When was your happiest?”, because my answer would probably be, “I don’t know, perhaps never?” What if I’m forever stuck in my impassiveness, my lack of drive to even figure out what happiness really means. After all, it’s an impossible quest – happiness.
I envy those people who have braved the uncertainties of this often cruel world and took a leap to find what happiness means for them. It’s almost embarrassing when I think about the times when I dared and talked big, like I want to travel the world, make a difference, blah blah, when I cannot even point out a single step I’ve taken at my own will and expense to come closer to “the dream”. Cause really, what exactly is my dream? Maybe that’s the problem. I don’t have one.
At some point, I did. Maybe. I was too close to it, and when I can almost taste it, it was snapped away from me. Just like that. And then suddenly, all the grand “dreams” I thought of fulfilling faded away. The good thing about that (if there’s one), is that my disappointment actually fueled me up. For the first time, I felt like I can really summon up the strength and courage to go for what I want. The crucial mistake I’ve made was I allowed myself a pause. And during my pause, it happened. He happened.
And of course we all know how these stories go. It was happy, I was happy, until it wasn’t happy anymore, until I wasn’t happy anymore. And next thing we know, it’s over. The end.
Why did I have to insert that? No, this is not a story about him. I will need a whole new blank canvas for that. But you see, when I granted myself the pleasure (or the agony) to think things through, what I came to realize is somehow unnerving. Though nothing about that “episode” is something I’ll ever regret, I’ve somehow discerned that I used my short time with him to prolong my pause. I walled myself up in my make-believe happily ever after, so I don’t need to move and face the shatters I’ve left, those that I promised to pick up after my pause. Ours was that kind of story where the end is inevitable. But I hang on to it until I can, not just because I know we can never go back to where it started, but also because deep down, I probably have always known, that I will be left with no choice but to hit my play button as soon as it’s over. I will be forced to pick up my pieces, and again, channel my inner diva who wants to change her life and make a difference. I was scared of going back to “finding happiness”, because maybe, I never really knew where to begin.
And so here I am, contemplating that maybe I need a reset, waiting for my trigger, finding my drive to wake up and start my journey. But most times, I’m stuck with nothing but my deepest thoughts, like a pendulum, constantly moving but never reaching where I need to be. I read a quote somewhere of how absurd it is that most of us live our lives as if we have a second one. And I wish I can glue that on my head to always remind me of that obvious fact. I hate it that I even have to constantly remind myself of that to shake me up, because truth is, it is something we always need to live by.
While some people are happily content to accept whatever life offers them, and there are a few who are blindly willing to go with what the society calls for, I believe that many have the natural instinct to live their lives to the fullest, so to speak. I want to be part of the latter. No, I don’t think I’ve got the natural instinct. It will likely take a lot of self-shaking and self-nagging before I can finally embrace the fate I want to live. It may take me slower than others, but I want to believe that I will not give up until I finally find that light. I don’t want to answer “it’s fine” when someone asks how my life is. Because life, with all its wonders and shimmers, should never be “just fine”. We owe it all to ourselves to make it as spectacular as we can. After all, we don’t get a second chance to redo all this.
I didn’t exactly put a pause on the “travel the world” part of my big talk, thank goodness. I still got to do some, nothing grand, but I’m slowly trying to fulfill that dream. Maybe one day I can gather up my thoughts again and start writing about those adventures. Strangely enough, as I was drafting this and waiting for my connecting flight, I found this photo in a cafe’s toilet:
And well, I hope by this day next year, my answer will be, “I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do!” And if it isn’t, I sure hope I won’t stop trying.
Feature photo taken by me in Sydney (October 2016) when I was starting to have all these thoughts in my head.