Two weeks in and my shoes have already broken.
There’s a verse that reads: That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been (Ecc 3:15). It’s probably safe to say, then, that our lives have been pre-planned and our journeys all carry a certain element of purpose. The first time I traveled to Italy, I was running away. I was desperately running from despair and unfulfilment, and surprisingly, all the plans for that trip fell right into place without me really having had to try. It seemed as if I was pursuing the trip for a reason approved of by the universe, and that there was real purpose in this running away. It would only be 3 months in when I would realize why it all had to happen. What I was meant to learn. Who I was meant to meet. The things I needed to see to grow into the person I have become.
The trip I planned this time had more obstacles to it. This time, it was encouraged by my need to run towards something. Something better than I would ever have if I stayed in my comfort. And along the way, these obstacles kept hitting me full-on in the face and it took genuine will-power to keep believing it was the right thing to do. There had to be a reason for it being so hard to pull the plans together. Maybe it was never meant to happen.
Or maybe these were just little setbacks to remind me that if you really want something, and you are truly eager to pursue an ideal, you would be willing to do anything to make it happen. You would be willing to use the bathrooms in Qatar… Because not giving up leads to your treasures. Trying, believing and persevering brings you to that idyllic little waterhole in the middle of the desert. And that makes it all worth it. Because the more troubled the path, the more rewarding the end-result. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy before. Even without the stability and definite plans, I can honestly say that I have never felt as at home, as comfortable, and as content.
I spent my Saturday at Lake Como, reading the genius that is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Munching on cheese curls and sipping on a Moretti in the sun, I came across a passage that startled me to the point of sitting upright and looking around me to see if anyone had heard me gasp like a drama queen. The passage lit a warmth in my soul and I must have read it almost seven times before it dawned on me that I truly was on the path of fulfilling my purpose. I knew that I was where I was meant to be, and that I was meant to take Frankenstein with me to the lake.
To understand the weight of this passage, you have to put together the pieces of my life first. See, exactly 5 years ago, in June of 2008, I had made the decision to quit my studies in Engineering, and instead follow a much less secure path, studying something I really wanted to instead of something that would afford me a stable income. I chose what my parents would call the irresponsible life, and pursued my studies in Psychology, Philosophy, English Literature and French. I like to believe that this choice granted me a life with more widely-set horizons. A deeper and more meaningful look into existence. An insightful understanding of people and life in general. And I have been calling this choice my re-awakening.
“When I was about five years old, while making an excursion beyond the frontiers of Italy, [I] passed a week on the shores of the Lake of Como” (Shelley, Frankenstein).
Were I an engineer now, I would have been in my second year of work. I would’ve been earning enough money to rent an apartment and join a medical aid plan. I would’ve been comfortably sitting at a desk, calculating and designing and building. Instead, I am sitting in the garden of a beautiful house in Cantù, northern Italy, telling you the story of how my life turned to adventure, and how that adventure brought me to the ultimate discovery of the purpose of life. That this single choice would lead me here, I could never have anticipated. But where the choices I am making now will lead me, I am all too eager to run towards.
“… Quit making excuses, putting it off, complaining about it, dreaming about it, whining about it, crying about it, believing you can’t, worrying if you can, waiting until you’re older, skinnier, richer, braver, or all around better. Suck it up, hold on tight, say a prayer, make a plan, and JUST DO IT….” (Thank you, Nike!)