Hey everyone! It’s been a few more days that I usually like to go without publishing a post… so here is one that I drafted back on November 21st in a coffee shop on a rainy afternoon in Ubud, Bali. I don’t remember what exactly brought this rush of… I guess the appropriate term would be soul searching (well, I do now, but don’t feel like divulging that publicly). I began writing in my journal some thoughts that were going through my head, and they just started pouring out onto paper. And then just at the right time, a good friend of mine messaged me and asked how I was. I asked if she had time because I knew if I got talking, I would want to talk for a while. Thankfully she said yes! This post is pretty personal and I may end up taking it down, depending on the response. We’ll see. But, this blog was supposed to be about my whole traveling experience, and this rainy afternoon and internal processing is definitely part of that!
On a side note, if you didn’t read my last post, I left Bali due to Mount Agung beginning to spew ash on evening of the 21st. I bought a departing flight mid-day on the 22nd which was scheduled to leave Bali at 9:30pm on the 23rd. Due to delays though we left around midnight or 12:30am on the 24th. I flew to Sydney, AU where I caught a connecting flight to Auckland, NZ. WOW am I ever thankful I left. Over the weekend, Mount Agung erupted BIG TIME and now flights are canceled, and everything I feared would happen is now happening! Thank the Lord! 🙂
Also, one more side note: I anticipate some free time within the coming days and so I’ll probably have a longgggg post to share about what has happened since I arrived in New Zealand on the 24th! So PLEASE STAY TUNED!
So, here it is:
Different people know me to varying degrees and so some of you may not know much about my childhood. I had a blessed and happy childhood; I was home-schooled for first through most of tenth grade. Because of that, I had the time and opportunities to travel and see new places (particularly Puerto Rico and Germany) which fueled my love of travel. In these places, I enhanced my knowledge of sewing, cooking, baking, cleaning, childcare, customer service, health foods, and a broad range of other life skills that could never be gained in any public school. I say enhanced because my wonderful mother taught me everything I needed to know. Traveling just broadened and enhanced my perspective on things she taught me growing up.
I don’t even know if I should try to explain these things, but here goes:
– I was religious growing up; my family was. I’m happy I was; it gave me morals and characteristics that I am happy that I have and that I would not have if we weren’t. It has made me the person I am today and that I am generally happy to be. Yes there are always things that could be worked on; I am not perfect.
– I truly believe that being of service to others is the source of real and lasting happiness. That was part of my upbringing and is part of who I am. While working in the engineering consulting field, while I didn’t feel like I was particularly serving anyone in particular (the client) in ways that I thought were directly improving their life or making them happy, I tried to do that with my coworkers. I think that’s part of the reason why baking and bringing the fresh-baked goods to the office gave me such joy. It really did – to see my coworkers faces light up and to hear the ooohhss and aaahhhsss come out of the kitchen area just put a huge smile on my face. I felt just a little bit fulfilled from that.
– Selflessness – another characteristic learned growing up.
– Expectations: I don’t know where or how or what has made me do this, but I put an extremely high value on other people’s expectations of me. I feel like I strive to live to those expectations. I think in the end, they’re expectations of myself and they are sky-high. When I fail to meet those expectations, I am very hard, VERY hard on myself. I am my own worst critic, literally. I’m not kidding or saying that because it’s cliché; I talk down to myself, a lot, and I think it has been impacting my generally positive mindset.
– When in high school and the transition into college, I made a decision to step away from the church I was in. This is tied to the expectations point above and other things. I felt crushing guilt because of this decision. I felt like I had let everyone down; my parents, my church, myself, God. I still feel guilt now and then. I am trying to deal with that.
There are a combination of results from those things listed above:
– I think one reason I am traveling is to remove myself from all the supposed-expectations from family, friends, loved ones, coworkers, supervisors, etc. The pressure from these “expectations” (whether self-imposed or not) has been intense, especially in New York City. I’m not going to lie; the combined pressure of work pace, my own expectations, and my assessment of expectations placed upon me in NYC was very, very intense. However, I feel I must say that I was told that expectations for me were very high because I set my own bar very high in regards to work ethic, performance, management of tasks, quality of work, etc.
Are expectations reasonable? Can they be felt or realized in a healthy way? I don’t know how to manage expectations from myself and others. So, Thing 1 I need to work on; either dealing with/managing expectations in a healthy way or disregarding them; is that even possible or polite?
– If you know me well, you know that I have no significant other but that I am looking forward to meeting that person….perhaps a little bit too much. The result of this is that when someone shows interest in me, I get extremely excited and BAM!! My mind goes wild imagining scenarios that couldn’t possibly play out in real life. Combining characteristics that are part of me and who I am, I am willing to do whatever it takes to spend time with someone… usually though that hasn’t been a two-way street for me so far. I would drop everything in my life to be with that person or at least spend time together, and that’s not realistic. While in Bali, my neighbor downstairs (Deborah) pointed this out so succinctly to me that it hit me pretty hard, but I had to accept it because she hit the nail squarely on the head and I knew it. You know the term “share your life with someone”… I think I’ve realized that what I imagine happening when I enter a relationship is that I will be there 100% for the guy; not 50% (I know and have heard that a relationship should be 50/50 — right — or rather 100% heart from both people). What I mean is, there must be a way to share 100% of my heart, but maintain my life so that I have something to share (50%). I’ve always just been prepared to automatically give 150% of my heart, time, energy, compassion, everything and maybe that’s too intense for some (haha). You have to understand this is a completely new concept to me. Yes, I can give 100% of my heart to the relationship, but not 100% of my life. At the moment, there is a difference (in my mind). I need to have a life to share and I can’t do that if I drop everything. You may laugh, but I’m serious – this is a new way of looking at this. Now to put this into practice when the next “interested” party comes around… hhahaha… That will be the test of this realization. Thing 2 to work on.
– I don’t think I’ve forgiven myself for this life decision of stepping away from a church that was a big part of my childhood. It was extremely hard. Thing 3 to work on: forgiving myself.
It took me a while and a few, or maybe several, deep conversations over a generally short (or long?) period of time to come to these realizations, but I am extremely thankful for them. Hopefully this helps you understand me and who I am a bit more… so, take it or leave it. 🙂