Last New Year's Eve, my best friend asked me what I wanted from this year, and with a sparkle in my eye, I winked at her saying, I wanted adventure.
That's been me, the adventure girl, the can't-be-tied-down girl. Not by my relationship, not by my career, not by my friends. I always wanted more, I wanted the impossible, I had the biggest dreams dreamt with the biggest eyes. I was always looking for my next adventure, never content, never at peace with where I was. I thirsted for a world that probably only ever existed in my fantasy, but I fervently desired it, and dedicatedly worked towards it.
This desperation, that I promptly romanticized to the point of beauty, had come to become a core part of my identity.
I only truly ever lived inside my head, in the future, and I was beautiful only then. I neglected everything I was in the present, the life I lived, the people around me. I didn't bother making an effort to build meaningful connections, because I felt like I would leave anyway, so why invest and hurt us both. This made it excruciatingly difficult when I fell in love, several times, because I was a stupid romantic, and always will be. I used to fall in love, but be terrified of how I could take them to this magical life I was building in the future, and how would they fit into it, would they be happy? I knew I couldn't be happy in the here and now, so I never even tried. I refused to be happy in the present. It was almost like it didn't matter to me. It was immaterial to me. I was lost in my own imagination, and my present reality was neglected, and suffering. Any issue that propped up in the relationship, I would always postpone it to the day we start our actual lives, in my perfect future, a world, to me, that was of real consequence. I was problem-solving for the future. To me, the here and now was merely a pitstop, a layover, to my kingdom of adventure. I was constantly distracted by how much work I had to do to even get to this new, magical, adventurous place. And I was constantly worried about how I would ever bring all the people I care into this world. My naïve solution was... to not care about too many people... I saw it as temporary. I thought I could care later, when everything was perfect. But then, the not caring became a habit, a terrible, crazy, stupid habit.
It never occurred to me that I could simply be happy now. All that effort I was putting into my future, I could put it into my present and make it beautiful. It was even with simple things like taking a dance class. I would postpone it to when I actually would hypothetically have a banging body, living in this perfect city, instead of now, when there was a perfectly good dance class I could go to. And then it was also with big things like choosing not to date anyone, for years and years, because this just isn't the city I want to settle in. I actively ran away from the dating world, because I knew I couldn't afford to care about someone. And I spend several several lonely nights with nothing but my dream to comfort me.
Why did I choose this misery? After hours and hours of self-reflection, and maybe several years too late, I realized that my entire self-worth was stored in a box called someday. I didn't let myself be happy now, and today, because I felt like I didn't deserve to be happy now and today. I felt like I had to earn it. And in my head, I would earn it the day I had a size 4 figure, and an overachieving top 1% career.
The answer is really as simple as love.
Self-love. The hardest yet easiest of all the loves. I had to love myself through every single inch of my insecurities. For that, I had to do the extremely difficult work of even realizing what they are. I had to lose my dreams, my dreams practically abandoned me, in the middle of a godforsaken pandemic, and I was left with nothing but the here and now, and a million insecurities. And I had to do the hard work of untangling them, understanding them, and unwinding them. I had to comb through them and make sense of them. I had to simply throw a lot of them away. But I also had to nurture a few of them and turn it into growth.
I had to be okay when I had nothing but myself, when the future was uncertain, and all I had was... now.
And to do that, all I really needed was love. And deep, deep compassion for myself while I sort through this need, this toxic need for adventure.
Stability used to be a bad word for me.
The word stability stung like acid when it sat on my tongue, corroding everything I stood for. I used to stand for adventure, magic, and all that other stuff I was convinced used to breathe life into me. So, I refused to settle down, it felt like I was settling on my dreams. Settling is a bad word for people like me, who thrive on their visions, their dreams, their futures.
I used to run, I was constantly used to running. What's my next job? My next goal? My next conquest? I felt like if I was standing still, I was failing, I was not worthy. I had to chase, I had to play this game, I had to prove that I was worthy.
Even love, I had to prove that I was worthy for love. Even when love stood right in my face, and offered my a world where time stood still, I still ran away from love. Even when love offered itself to me, I wasn't ready to accept love. I felt like I didn't deserve it.
Now, for the past 10 months, I've been working very hard on my current life. My present. My here and now. The only thing that's real. The only thing that I can truly control.
And it took me a long ass time to get here, but I finally think stability has become one of the most attractive words to me.
Stability to me, now, is to build a beautiful life wherever I am, with whatever I have.
I'll never stop being adventure girl.
I can't give up on adventure, it just isn't in my blood. I need to wake up everyday with a thumping heartbeat, to be my compass, as I continue to navigate through the adventure that is my life. I need to feel the rush in my veins. I need a skip in my step. Life's not worth it for me, if not.
I finally dropped the pretense of having to be perfect before I receive blessings and good things in my life. I started accepting that I deserve good things even now. I am not afraid to land my feet on the ground. And for the first time, that's actually feeling adventurous to me.
Now, I find adventure in picking out a brand new bookshelf. I find adventure in making lasting friends and hosting board game nights. I find adventure in becoming a regular at my favorite café. I find adventure in figuring out sensible personal finance. I find adventure in knowing a city so well I uncover all its hidden gems. I find adventure in journeying to the center of me, in calm, in peace, and I finally stopped running away from myself.
Welcome to my new adventure.