As you may already know, I am from Montreal, Canada but I live in London, England now. It is a new change that I waited several years to be able to make. Before settling in properly, however, I decided to travel the world for a few months, which is what I am currently doing. As it always does, travel has allowed me to do a lot of thinking. Sometimes this thinking is bad, because I stay stuck in my thoughts and I simply analyse to the point of paralysis; never a good thing. However, for the most part, it has proven to be quite essential and necessary. It has done a lot of good in fact. Equally, I have gained some much needed perspective on things.
My life back in Montreal had been a crazy one; never a dull moment really. Even the seemingly dull moments were taken over by my constant thoughts of the past and what I wanted my life to be. It never felt quite right. Momentarily, maybe. In the right circumstances, perhaps. But never really, truly. I suppose that is also a part of being in one place from birth to much later. You don’t know anything else. You take things for granted, you let moments pass you by, and you are not always mindful of your everyday. Similarly, we can take our relationships for granted in that way can’t we? The way we take our parents for granted sometimes, or our friends who have been around for ever; so do we with our home town, I reckon. I tried my hardest not to. Especially after I started travelling more, because I made the distinction between THE world and MY world. I had a world in Montreal; a life I had been creating since I was born essentially. It was important to me and it was all that I was. The people in it were important, even the ones who are gone. Every little instance was a building block to the 23 years I had in Montreal. All the sadness, the pain, the happiness, the joy, the memories, the events, the birthdays, the holidays, the people, every single mental pictures; they were all my world. My world in the world.
Then why did I leave? If Montreal meant to much to me, and still does.
I left because I don’t think it was ever home. It housed me, yes. The people in it mattered to me, yes. It just never felt like “it”. Every part of my life in Montreal felt like a warm up. The more time I spend away from it, the more I feel that way. It felt like a warm up, a practice round, a trial and error of sorts. All of it always felt temporary. I remember before I moved out, everything I did was for the goal of moving out. The latter was also a crucial step toward moving away. Ever since I was little I dreamed of living on my own, in my happy world, surrounded by beautiful things and feelings. It was my dream. I had that feeling in mind. I did not know exactly where it was or how I would get there, but I knew what I wanted. Everything I did was for that. The desire became stronger and stronger; the urge more and more powerful. Then, one day, I moved out. In less than 3 years after that, I moved away. And now, I am here, writing, and feeling tantalizingly close to that “it” feeling.
The first reason for that, I think, is because I am making less of a distinction between “my” world and “the” world. I feel like I am one with it now. Travelling often does that doesn’t it? I feel like I am part of something bigger, brighter, happier, fuller. It really does feel like one big, huge, continuous dream from which I am not waking; and I don’t want to, just yet. Equally, however, I feel a stronger sense of self. The idea of “my world” is something different. It is no longer a life I am creating from the outside in order to make sure I do not lose focus. Nor is it a world meant to make or keep myself happy. It is not a world that stems from a place of survival. It does not exist to make me feel closer to an ideal, or protected from a fear. Most of all, it is not a place resulting from attachment or loss. I am not living in it as a result of attachment to or loss of any given idea, expectation, need, or even a person. This world IS me. It comes from within. It exists even when I don’t realise it does. When I lose touch with myself, it does not go away. When I lose focus, it remains rational. When I lose my balance, or my ground, it is the anchor. When I lose my way, it stays in line. When I feel too much, it keeps me calm. When I can’t feel anything, it helps me breath. It is everything and it is within me.
The second reason for why I feel closer to that feeling, is because I genuinely believe that sometimes we belong somewhere else. We don’t always get to choose where we will live or how our lives will play out. However, for some things, we can take some initiative, make certain choices, and take certain decisions into our own hands. I find it extremely important, in my life, to find what makes me happy. I find there is no point living if I am not surrounded by good, kind people, practicing a fulfilling job, partaking in activities and sports that are meaningful to me, as well as living a healthy and balanced life. I refuse to let my life pass me by and turn into a series of mishaps and regrets. The way I see it is that there will be a myriad of different ways in which my life can go terribly wrong. Things will happen that I cannot control; and they have. Bad things happen. Regrets exist. No life is perfect. BUT, you can choose HOW you want to live your life. You can DECIDE of what your life will be made up. Will you define yourself by the things that happened to you, over which you had little to no control, be they good or bad? Or will you define yourself by the things you DID, be they good or bad?
I choose the latter. When bad things “just happen” to me, I feel annoyed, upset, angry, and confused because I wonder: “why me?”. Then, when good things “just happen” to me, I wonder…: “why me?” just the same. This is because I genuinely do not understand how or why it happened. I did not earn it or deserve it. But then, when I do something bad, or make a poor decision, I do not ask why. I simply realise: “yeah, I deserved that. I was not being responsible.” or whatever the case may be. I also tell myself: “yeah, I deserve this. I deserve the chance to learn form this. I deserve this lesson in life. Most importantly, I will earn my way to calling it a lesson, or a step closer to success, rather than a failure”. Then, when something good comes of my efforts, or my work, or my own doing, I don’t ask why either. Though I am able to recognise my part in it, and acknowledge that I earned it, I am always grateful for having been able to get there. I do not take it for granted, and I do my best to remain humble, because I am blessed enough to have been able to achieve said goal, or be in said place. Life has allowed me that privilege.
As soon as I got to London, I felt that “it” feeling. It was not the novelty, I know that, because I had travelled a lot, and even spent a lot of time in certain places either for school or for holiday. I felt that feeling for a couple reasons. The first being that it embodied everything I had worked for so far. I had finally made it to England, and to a fresh start, on my own, that would forever be a new book (never mind a new chapter) in my life. Secondly, I really do feel that it is where I belong; at least for now.
I swear, for the first time in my life, I felt so settled, so at home, so calm, so comfortable, so confident, so energised, and most of all, ready. I felt so at peace, grounded, and balanced, that I felt ready to take on the world. If nothing else, my time is London gave me a basket of feelings I had not felt before, certainly not all at once, in a perfectly succinct and harmonious unison. I do not know what will come of tomorrow or my life in London, but for me, the safety and protection I felt in London, along with the confidence and determination it brought about, allowed me to experience my every moment with such mindfulness and contentment.
Remember the inner world I mentioned before? Well, yeah. I had felt it before in Montreal. It is something you must nourish and discover forever. There is no end to the discovery of the self. There is no end to the knowledge, the understanding, and the realisation of our innermost selves. However, in London, I had reached it in the most pure, effortless, and deep way. It happened so naturally. It was not even induced by a deliberate meditation or conscious state of mindfulness, per se. It just occurred in the moment I was living. It was as though I shed all my walls, my fears, my insecurities, my cognitive patterns, and even my brain activity. It was just my mind, my heart, and my soul; living in this moment, so fully and really. I feel hints of that when I travel all the time, which is one of the main reason I love travel so much. This time, though, in London, it just took over. All of a sudden, I wasn’t just “one with the world”. I just was. I don’t know if it is “with”, or “in”. It did not matter. I was alive. I was me.
They say home is where the heart is. That can carry several meanings. To me, the heart is the ultimate source for the answers to our deepest questions. Thus, home can be where the answers are, because when you find that place, that feeling, you unlock the innermost part of yourself, and you are at home. But what if home is not a place but a state? Or maybe just something that isn’t anything? We cannot define it; we can only feel it.
The only thing better than finding happiness in places, is finding happiness between places, because then, you are part of something bigger, more real, and more true. It’s a place that is your own, where you can be content and peaceful; and it will keep you safe everywhere you are.
Write you soon,