“Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out. Breathing in, I am grateful for this moment. Breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I am aware of the preciousness of this day. Breathing out, I vow to live deeply in this day.” – Nhat Hanh
Breathing in, I admire the view in front of me as I write this. I am at Bondi Junction, sitting on the terrace of the top floor of the Bondi Westfield Mall. Breathing out, I listen to the murmur of cars passing on the street below me. Breathing in, I look out at the view. The Darling Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are seen in the distance and trees blooming with purple leaves are scattered across the landscape of homes leading to the harbour. The sun shines on my skin and I soak in heat dressed in my black cardigan and high waisted jeans. I should be studying for my Marketing 101 Final tomorrow, but instead I am compelled to write about the thoughts consuming my brain the past few days.
“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
The above quote is pretty morbid, I know, but since my reading of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, that particularly quote has stuck in my head and has followed me around everyday I’ve lived since I read it two years ago. There is no doubt that I am fearful of oblivion, but it is inevitable and I’ve grown to except that. It has forced me to breath in and out with the gratefulness to be alive.
As I see it, life is an effort to grip before they slip through one’s fingers and slide into oblivion, the startling, the ghastly or the blindingly exquisite fish of the imagination before they whip away on the endless current and are lost forever in oblivion’s black ocean.” – Mervyn Peake
In the past four months, I’ve experienced so much. I’ve traveled to Australia and New Zealand, and I’ve met so many extraordinary people. I’ve had multiple moments of indescribable contentness, in which I was so mindful and aware of what was happening without wishing it were different. I felt fully alive and fully aware. I sat with the dead at Waverley Cemetary on the top of the cliffs in Bronte and soaked in the lack of animosity, violence and fear that consumes our world right now. I touched the shinning turquoise blue water at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand and starred at Mount Cook’s peaks across the water. I pranced through Eglington Valley, laid in the grace and watched the clouds cross the sky. I fell from the sky and watched the ground come closer and closer before I was jolted back to reality with the tug of the parachute. I sat in Hobart’s Botanical Gardens and let a lady bug crawl over my knuckles before it flew out of my sight forever. I walked the streets of Queenstown, New Zealand, felt the warmth of the sun shinning on my face during golden hour and had no doubt that I’d be back to that magical city.
“You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.” – Azar Nafash
But what about the places and people you’ll never see again? The places you know you’ll never go back to and the exact moments you’ll never get to experience again? I’ll go to a place I’ve never been before, and then I’ll probably never go to it again for the sake of fitting in the chance to visit more places I’ve never been before. Life is short. This bothers me. I don’t want to know that such moments of contentness may never experienced again.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – girlgi.com
A good friend of mine recently said to me, “Riley the thing you’ve always let happen is you’ve always been affected so deeply by things you don’t have control over, and letting them ruin your time. Relax and deal with these issues later at a better time. I believe in and love the young woman you are, but you have to be strong. There’s no other way.” If I did let the seemingly ridiculous and uncontrollable things that happen in life ruin every moment, how would I get by? Well, I probably wouldn’t and I’d probably end up in a psych ward. And I don’t want that because I want to continue traveling the world; I want to be a mother one day; I want to be able to provide for my parents and the family members who’ve given me more than I believe I deserve. I want a lot of things, and collapsing with the inevitabilities of life won’t get me any of those things.
“It feels good to be lost in the right direction.”
So now what? I leave Australia and may never come back, although I sure do hope that isn’t the case. Australia will always have a special place in my heart. This experience of being away from home, of being forced to leave the comfort of friends and family, to form new relationships and constantly leave my comfort zone, to form a new comfort zone, has caused me to grow so much. I knew I would change, but I didn’t think I’d change this much. What if I don’t feel comfortable in the home that once was my security blanket? What if I can’t relate to friends and family? What if I feel alone again? What if the “what-ifs” and “should-haves” eat my brain? How do I cope? How do I live with my overthinking and sometimes crippling anxiety?
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself with it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
That’s what I’ve done. I’ve armoured myself with my emotions. I will use these emotions and these thoughts to make me special; to make me money; and be remembered by everyone I come across. I’ll be fighting against the inevitabilities of oblivion and win. I will live life so full, and I will leave this Earth no longer scared of the darkness that comes after.