Last Friday, in the middle of the night, my sister and I went outside, lay down on two benches and gazed at the sky. We went onto the streets in thick jumpers and for a minute it reminded me of going camping. That moment when you unzip your tent, walk across the campsite and it’s incredibly quiet apart from the occasional cough or gust of wind. We walked a few streets away from my house, looking for a place with the least street lights so that our view of the sky was as clear as possible. We sat down and as I started to lie down, tilting my head back, I saw a flash of gold in the sky. “Yes, there! I saw one! Did you see it too?” It had been fast, but I was sure I had seen one – a falling star. As we lay down and looked at the sky, the stars became all the clearer. The air around us was soft. The wooden bench beneath my back was not soft in the least but still, I felt extremely relaxed. We talked quietly and, now and again, pointed at the golden specks of light in the sky. Every time we saw another falling star, we would cry out (softly – it was late) and laugh and then discuss whether we thought it had been a real one or just our imagination playing up. When there was another unmistakable flash of light in the sky, my sister said: “Now you can make a wish.”
With all this free time on my hands, away from university, I have had a lot more time to think. My brain has been working overtime, trying to figure out what I want to be doing with my life, what the things are that I enjoy, and what I need to be doing in order to feel better. I realised that …
… I want to be a writer. I love reading. I’ve been feeling happier now that I’ve permitted myself to spend a few hours or even a day reading, without feeling that that day is lost. I figured that if I want to chase that dream of becoming a writer, besides writing more, reading more is a good start. I also love cooking. I love working out. I love how much better I feel when I eat healthily and get in some exercise. I love how, after deciding that this month I’m going to work on my discipline, on many occasions the question is not whether I’m going to do something, but rather when. I love yoga. Nature. Animals. Art. Museums. Learning. Meaningful conversations. Mountains. Thinking. Music. Silence. History. I love watching documentaries that change your awareness and understanding, and I love reading books that to the same. I love that although I’m not yet where I want to be, I know that I’m on the right track. I love that although I don’t know yet who I want to be, I’m learning and moving and creating and thereby getting closer and closer to the real me. In one of my favourite series (Sense8), one of the characters says: “The real violence, the violence I realised was unforgivable, is the violence we do to ourselves when we’re too afraid to be who we really are.” I love that I’m now in a place where I am, although not completely, but at least more accepting of myself, and as a result of that, I have become less afraid to be me. Baby steps. A positive side effect of admitting to myself what I want (writing), is that making decisions has become a lot easier. Sometimes, it’s almost like an automatic response. A while ago, I had a story idea and I thought to myself: “If I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo again, I can work on that idea.” And then, in what felt like an effortless response to myself, I thought: “Not ‘if’ – when! Of course I’m going to do NaNoWriMo again.” For so long I’ve had a little negative voice in my head that kept me from doing things, and finally it feels like the positive voice is getting stronger.
Another thing that I feel like is coming more naturally to me is balance. I have always struggled with this, but with my newfound discipline I have also found some balance. Because I’m more disciplined, writing down all the things I want to do in a day and ticking them off my list one by one, I can also enjoy the times that I’m not doing anything productive. In a day where I’ve read a lot, worked out and tidied my room, I feel completely guilt-free when I spend the evening watching a series. And even if I haven’t done anything productive in a day, I feel less guilty. Take today, for example. I worked out in the morning, and I wanted to watch one episode of Sense8 with my breakfast. The series is so compelling that I couldn’t stop watching. In that moment, lying in bed with my laptop made me happy, so why wouldn’t I do it? What has changed is that previously, this would continue for days. I’d watch episode after episode all the while thinking I shouldn’t be doing that, whereas now I accepted that I would have a fairly unproductive day, knowing that tomorrow will be better. As long as I work on a few things that are important to me (which, for today, was working out and writing), I’m completely happy with this balance.
Yesterday evening, I had drinks with a friend and afterwards, she remarked that she thinks I’m doing well – we talked all night and I told her about what’s going on in my head, and apparently she could see that I was doing well. When I walked home from the station, I realised that I am doing well. I’m feeling better. Sometimes I’m still confused about life and what I want, but like my sad-happy feeling last week, this is a happily-confused – I know I’m on the right track, figuring things out, and it can only get better from here on out. I’m getting closer and I’m enjoying the way to wherever I’m heading. As I was walking and contemplated this, I felt liberated – and at that moment, I heard the following sentence through my headphones: “Breathe, release it all” (Rhodes – Breathe) and the timing was so great that I took a deep breath and threw back my head and smiled.
Lying on the wooden bench, the longer I stared at the vastness of the sky, the more I saw that it’s hard to worry about small things that bother you or stress you out when you’re engulfed by something that’s just so much bigger than that. We, two young people, with all of our daily problems and pointless struggles, looking up – so insignificant compared to nature and its power and the earth, the universe. Another flash in the sky. “A wish! Have you made your wish?” I felt light. I felt happy. I realised in that moment that I didn’t and don’t have much to wish for. And then I decided to make a wish, not for me, but for someone else.