As my time here wore on, I realised that I recognized myself less and less.
My general disposition to life had changed. I was a lot more cynical than I had ever been. Some days I didn’t bother to look for the hundreds of small reasons to smile.
I was frustrated with my situation and caught in a circle of being sad and overwhelmed. As more things piled on, I gave up bits of myself to the darkness.
There were so many things that were beyond my control. However there were a few that I could strongly influence.
Here’s what I learned:
1. It’s not only the ‘strong’ who weather the storm. Everyone does and the vast majority of people come out the other side of it. Strong, weak, average. Even when you don’t know how, it happens that you do.
2. GO OUTSIDE! Depending on your situation it may be really easy to stay indoors.
It’s convenient, comfortable enough and doesn’t require much effort. Go outdoors. Breathe fresh air, spend time in silence. Apart from phones, computers, 21st century devices. Look at the ants, look at the clouds, watch the grass grow.
This doesn’t change your situation but it does change your mind set. It slows you down and calms you. It gives you the peace you’ve been missing.
3. Carve out a period of time to do something specifically mental and uplifting. I’ve chosen journaling.
I’ve done this often enough and looking back through old journals that I wrote in intimitantly, I wish I wrote more. Even now, realizing that four and a half months are almost up since I returned to Trinidad, I’m surprised. It seems like the time passes so quickly. While it may have been one of my worst, if not the worst summer vacation, there were also a few really blissful moments that occurred amidst the mayhem. Beach dates, selling at Green Market, waking up with the sun, learning to propagate plants amongst others, are some of the things that I wish I had recorded.
So I’ve started, just a bit, everyday. This holds me to making thinking time everyday, and to reflect on my life’s progress everyday.
4. Rely on your community. I don’t mean your neighbourhood-while it would be awesome if you lot were so intertwined. I mean, the people that you’ve chosen to be amidst. Tell them what’s up in your life. Share with them. Ask for their advice, or don’t ask for their advice. Most importantly, talk to someone who cares for you. I’ve spent quite a few hours on whatsapp calls crying my heart out to a friend who migrated. Somehow, sharing the load of life just makes it more bearable. Sometimes it was her wisdom or encouragement that gave me the motivation to keep on trying.
It was my community that encouraged me to continue being me, as I weathered this storm. It was through them that I was able to see how much I’ve changed. On the flip side- help your peers, support them & give them good counsel.
It was only this week that I took stock of all of the changes in my world view. I don’t like the new scenery, I prefer my previous disposition. Those are some of the ways through which I’m upgrading.