So this post is a long one, and it doesn’t have many pictures to break up the words so feel free to leave at any point!
It is just a lot of musings and thoughts that may not even make sense, but here you go, a big few pages of words.
So I was thinking the other day (dangerous I know 😛 ), and I asked myself:
What is time?
Now that is a huge question with many possible answers. There are a multitude of ways to measure time, and to understand yourself and your purpose in life, with relation to time.
It seems (to me), that ‘time’ has come to be synonymous with stress more than anything, with the very thought of ‘it‘ fueling a potentially cynical and pessimistic outlook on life itself.
For some, it is as though we see our lives in the form of an hourglass; sand filtering through, grain by grain, representing the lost past or the dwindling future.
Age and time are two distinct concepts, yet the society we live in enforces the notion that they go hand in hand.
It would seem that there is a certain order through which we feel pressure to organize our lives around as we get older; a generic timeline that in some ways dictates determined ideals:
Finish high school-> travel Europe-> go to university -> find full time job -> find partner (get married, live happily ever after knowing you’ve accomplished all you need to in life by the book)
I will preface this next statement by saying: I know this is not the case for everyone, BUT, as a society, I feel there is a general consensus that anyone who dares to step outside of these “norms”, and pull down the safety barriers that keep us on the most secure and realistic path, is seen to be taking an ‘easier’ road.
I’ve come across so many people that, when they hear about any of my travels, exclaim:
“oh you’re so lucky you can travel! It must cost you so much money…I’m stuck here working… I have to study, if only I could do this or that… I have to buy a house, buy a car etc.”
Now, I will be clear here, I am not arguing the legitimacy of those priorities, I completely agree, respect and accept them, but I have to say, if we are talking about luck-the only luck that I have is that I was born to parents who taught me how to value and respect people, how to work hard and especially how to separate and rationalize the need’s and the wants in life.
I am not lucky that I get to travel. I chose this path and I chose to work my a** off to get to every single place I have been, and will go, in the future.
Everyone has different priorities in life and you shouldn’t be made to feel like any one else’s priorities are worth more or less than your own!
Before I continue, I do want to clarify another important point that I do not want to be ignorant of.
The idea of privilege and luck is a huge topic that I can’t speak about in its entirety in one blog post, so I will speak briefly of it!
There is the obvious fact that there are many divides in society that have the potential to affect the opportunities available to some people based on socio-economic status, race, skin color, religion etc.
To clarify, for my own case, I would say among my peers, I am the pioneer of my own journey and I have given myself that power, but obviously when comparing my situation with others that lack the same security and safety, it could be speculated that I have a greater ability to achieve some of my dreams.
I’m even more so aware of this privilege here in Peru.
There are so many socio-economic divisions here in Lima, with each level forming a distinct sector with distinct opportunities.
For me one of the most rewarding things is that I am working with kids of varying socio-economic levels from the upper class to the so called ‘lower’ class, so I am able to experience the wide range of abilities and potentials from all ages and backgrounds.
Interestingly enough I find it is the least ‘privileged’ kids that have the most drive and potential over here.
My thoughts are quite varied on this topic, there are many ways to look at it and I don’t have enough time to go into a huge debate here.
An integral point for me is that, regardless of situation, economic status, skin color, there is an element of luck in everything we accomplish in life.
It can be down to a chance meeting with someone who has achieved a lot that inspires you to escape your own world.
The world is divided in so many different realities and it is often the pursuit of escape from our own comfortable reality, that allows us to see our potential of what we can achieve.
Sometimes it can be hard to escape the harsh truths of life, but it is possible despite the limitations and restrictions that can arise through lack of money or privilege. It is normally once people overcome these obstacles that the rewards are that much more fulfilling and it is only then does a person becomes a pioneer of their own destiny.
It is about seeing the potentials to break out of your own cycles and the cycles of society. As I have mentioned before, we all need to break out of the bubble of society and realize our own potential regardless of where you come from, because the strength you will use to escape, will be the thing that makes the potential of your being reach for the stars and not the sky.
(ok so my point is addressed, I will continue on my other tangent 😛 )
I think that we make life soooooooo much more complicated than it needs to be, and I know that may sound naive to some people, but everyday we have an opportunity to take ourselves back to square one and reassess what stresses are really necessary.
If we conform to the expectations of society, then we are almost expected to have the answers to everything by the age of 18.
All our schooling years and self worth based on a silly number that doesn’t measure the worth of your self, but rather segregates equal human beings into sub-categories that value the ‘intellectual’ and not the person.
Why should we feel pressure to dedicate years of our life to university before we even know if that it is the passion we wish to pursue?
Now I’m not saying I regret going to university, (I don’t at all), I chose a passion that made me smile and it took me to places I never would have imagined, but that is my path and that doesn’t mean to say it has got me to a point where I have figured my life out.
Personally I don’t know where the next few years are going to take me, for the moment I’m in Lima, but honestly I have no idea what is going to happen next.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to university, neither am I saying you should give up everything and go traveling (although for me that is an exciting prospect 😉 .
All i’m saying is you should never ever feel like you need to have all the answers.
You should never feel like you are running out of time to figure out your life, because every day is a chance for renewal of body, self and mind, and, despite many claiming it to be otherwise, life IS a lot simpler than we make it out to be.
I’ve said this to so many people, but I honestly can’t say it enough: write a list of everything that genuinely makes you smile and happy, whether it be people, hobbies, nature… anything!
Only after reviewing this list should you have any idea what you want to do with your life.
So many of our hopes and desires are fueled by a need to be successful or be able to support yourself financially when ultimately, as cliche as it sounds, you will live a more worthwhile life doing what makes you smile, and if that ends up involving money, then good on you! But it shouldn’t be a driving force; there are more important things in life.
Obviously any pursuit that you follow will have its challenges, and you will always have to work hard to get to where you want to be, but just make sure you are working hard doing what you love for the right reasons.
For me, coming over to a foreign country is the most exciting thrilling experience. I love learning about new cultures, speaking new languages and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. This is what makes me smile, but despite what some may think is a seemingly idyllic lifestyle living it up in a far away land, everyday presents new challenges and it is a constant learning process; it can be bloody hard at times.
You always hear about the amazing moments of traveling but as I said in my previous entry, it is the most challenging moments that define your trip.
It has only been a month and a half, but I’ve already gone through a roller coaster of emotions.
There are those days when I just can’t communicate what I need to the little kids in Spanish, when I get my words muddled up or when the kids just decide not to participate or decide that i’m not worth listening to.
Try speaking to 4 classes of 30 kids per day trying to maintain their attention whilst speaking a second language that you are still working to perfect yourself, it is hard.
So far I’ve only had one breakdown early on where I had to put my sunglasses, tip my hat and walk away, overwhelmed by tears waiting to burst through the floodgates as I walked away leaving my assistant to deal with one particularly rebellious group of kids.
I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t even think, all I felt was my heart and head bursting, and all I wanted was for someone to give me a big hug so I could cry uncontrollably. I wanted someone to ask, ‘are you ok?‘and give me permission to lose myself in upset.
I’m not saying this to get any sort of sympathy, i’m just stating the fact that not everything is perfect all the time.
Yes, i’m doing what I love, I’m surrounded by Spanish each and every day, (which is an absolute dream for me), yet i still have moments of upset and frustration, but that is all a part of it.
Now that particularly shitty day, I was feeling exhausted, mentally and physically; truthfully I was broken emotionally by a bunch of bratty 10 year old kids (ha ha).
BUT in spite of this, something amazing also happened on that day: after the day had finished, one of my favorite young girls from another class came over and asked me to practice with her, she was so excited by cricket and was asking me all the techniques on how to hold the bat, how to bowl the ball, and this is a 9 year old girl who has never played cricket before this summer academy!
Her passion and enthusiasm to learn made me realize the reasons why I came here and gave me purpose again.
That day was a huge turning point for me. I look back on it and feel quite silly that I got so upset, but then again, that day put everything into perspective for me. And now every day since, I get a little more confident and I deal with those troublesome kids better (I even get firm/angry in Spanish now (when necessary!))
(Imagine an sassy, angry Sam speaking Spanish! 😛 )
I know that I needed that breakdown to show myself that it was OK to be overwhelmed, that it was OK to cry; but then I had to get over it and figure out ways to deal with it all.
Anyway back to the main point:
Life isn’t perfect, but if you choose to shatter that metaphorical hourglass, and pursue what you love you will be a lot happier.
Don’t put yourself under these constraints that make you believe you are running out of time.
If something ends, then it was meant to, and something even more exciting will come as a result of it.
I know I’m always coming across as this over the top positive person,and i’m sure a lot of people are probably sick of me saying this, but I really see no other way to look at life, you have to see positives out of every negative that comes, because the biggest positives in your life will often come from when you are at your lowest points.
There is a lesson to be learned with every life experience and sometimes things aren’t meant to last forever, in fact I would say 80% of the time, everything is meant to end.
This may seem a bit cynical but ultimately the termination of something often makes room for newer, fresher things that will benefit you, whether it be new friendships, relationships, careers, anything!
And this is a really important point: the end of a chapter does not have to end negatively! It is OK to understand when something has run its course, and at this point the best thing you can do is let it go peacefully.
The biggest issue we all have is that we feel the need to dramatize every negative situation when in fact if we reflect on them positively, we can find a more positive path to follow.
Anyway I will wrap it up there, if you’ve managed to make it to the end of this post, congratulations! I hope it was worth it 😛 .
Also, today I will finish this post by saying RIP Grandad 🙂 (7/02/2005)
I cherish your memory today and every day that passes. I hope you would have been proud. ❤
Much love to all.