Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Meaning of Life: Screw Stability


I really do not want to write about the age-old search for meaning in life, but it has been on my mind a lot these days. Not because I’m distraught about it, or feel the need to figure it out or find an answer, but because at the moment, the daily tasks that take up my time seem almost… shallow… and pointless. And, being the over-analytical, introspective young woman I am, I can’t help but wonder if there is really a point to any of it. Is it all just about the experience?

One of the many lovely aspects of traveling and working overseas is that you are able to dismiss any social pressure regarding the life you live. No one ever says anything bad about choosing to travel. And you can always justify your irresponsible actions by telling yourself that once you get home you can address all the mistakes you made, thus pretending your traveling lifestyle is essentially pressing pause on the life you have back home. This isn’t truth, yet I still haven’t kicked this mindset. Now that I am home, I feel I need to start being wholly responsible and addressing the goals and social expectations that I think I should meet in my life. But I don’t want to…

I don’t agree with most of these standards and goals that I let society inflict on me. I’m speaking of the desire to hold status, to be wealthy, to be stable, to respect the unwritten hierarchy, to use actions to create an outcome rather than let your genuine actions develop a natural outcome (thus, my Without Plan Without Fail motto). However, those are all topics for another blog. To be honest, I don’t agree with many of the North American social behaviours that I must abide by to participate in our culture. I think this officially makes me a misfit in my own home.

Therefore, all this recent talk (a.k.a., rambling bullshit) about what my current goals are in life regarding getting a career job, my own apartment and a dog feels quite shallow - because it isn’t really what I want to be doing. I’m interested in it all, but I essentially feel like I have just brainstormed a list of experiences I want to have that somehow compromises with our social/ cultural standards on how one should live their life just so I can justify my actions despite their lack of meaning. And then I realized that these things were essentially my way of not hating life while I kill time until I die… slightly depressing, no?

Being an individual who doesn’t have one particular passion that I want to devote my life to, or a massive goal that I really want to achieve in life, makes it difficult to decide what to do with myself. I’m interested in everything; I want to try everything; I want to experience as much as I can; I want to have as many different connections with people and places and things as I can during my short time on this planet. And I want to create good and peace in as many little ways possible. And if all those things combined is what motivates me to get out of bed everyday and puts a smile on my face, than I should be able to find meaning in almost any lifestyle I’m facing. And if that is truth, than I say, “screw stability!” My passions are taking me on a wild goose chase around the globe. Again. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Simply Un-Identifiable

I’ve obviously taken another short hiatus from blog posting. While I blame the technical difficulties of having left my computer at my mother’s house, the truth stands that if I really wanted to, I’d still be writing them. This is apparently not the case.

I was well aware that the first three months moving back to Vancouver would be difficult. Financially, I’m rebuilding everything: an obvious challenge that I was confident in overcoming. The social aspect of rebuilding - and creating anew – friendships that are missing from a city I want to call home is hardly even a challenge for an outgoing lady such as myself. But still, loneliness after a break-up and not really having a comfortable shoulder to cry on beat me up a bit more than I expected.

Moreover, there has been one heavy, constant emotional challenge (after such an extended time away in different contexts) that has made adjusting to life in VanCity much more difficult than expected. This “difficulty” has convinced me that google-ing one-way flights to new countries at 2am is completely appropriate. And it keeps me from hanging pictures on the walls of my bedroom. And truly unfortunately, has kept me from allowing deep connections with the people whom I choose to spend my time with. And while this list appears to confirm commitment issues, I assure you that is not my problem.

The issue? Identity.

The first issue of identity is that for the last segment of my life I’ve connected with and accepted the traveler in me. It was not only how I viewed myself, but also how I perceived others viewing me. I had become a random mishmash of cultures and it was appropriate with the number of lifestyles I participated in while living overseas. It is hardly a label I place on my forehead, but for the purpose of answering “Who am I?” the answer “A traveler,” was always in reach. This is much the same as when I was a child and would answer “a dancer” or “a ballerina.” Later it became “student.” Shortly after that, my healthy and sporty lifestyle pulled me into an athletic mindset. Then, traveler.

After three and a half months back in Vancouver, my life is slowly piecing together. I have a job (albeit, not what I love to do, but it pays my bills and I love the people I see at work everyday, so I am forever grateful for the opportunity it provides.) I have a house to come home to (again, despite it’s rough appearance, it is filled with interesting, kind souls and a lot of hugs and laughs.) I’ve sorted out any financial woes, and have made enough friends to last a lifetime. It is all coming together, right? Right. But…

The second issue: I’m not a “traveler” anymore. I was a traveler. I was a ballerina. I was a student. I was a health freak. Now, I’m a waitress? A social butterfly? A too-frequent party-goer? I’m making this sound very cut and paste, like somehow I’m looking for something to call myself, but I assure you that is not the case. I’m not looking for a category to put myself into, nor have I ever. But I believe your surroundings and context and actions create you. And right now, my surroundings, context and actions don’t create a person I’m proud of. I’m not disappointing myself, but I know this is not how I want to develop my new identity in a place I’m building a home.

The third issue: being back in a city where I knew myself so well in one context, I naturally want to associate my identity with that old Miranda. But it just doesn’t fit anymore. That was before Africa and Cruise Ships and Islands in Australia and holidays in the Philippines. That was before engagements, and before Typhoid fever. That Miranda can’t exist anymore. I can’t be that naïve anymore.

I have no conclusion to this blog. There has been no ah-ha moment. And reality is, I know I’m not the only person to struggle in creating a new identity. I’m sure this is hard for new-mothers who don’t want to categorize themselves simply as “a Mom.” And I’m sure it’s just one symptom of reverse culture shock that many before me have gone through. And I’m sure that I’m just over-analyzing the #@% out of this because that’s what I like to do with my time.

Regardless, now I see that jumping on a one-way flight is simply my way of avoiding the search for myself here and is just chasing the old me (which now holds very little meaning.)

So, I guess I’ll stay a little longer and try a little harder. I’m quite interested to see how this all plays out. However, I make no promises. Dubai, Ireland, Myanmar and Japan are still whispering "Come visit" in my ear...