As Is

September 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

I have many reasons for traveling. One of them is to learn to resist the urge to plan my future. I want to accustom myself to surprise and spontaneity. I want to live in the present.

It’s been unbelievably difficult for me to do this.

Every day I think about where else I might like to travel (Portugal? Turkey? Morocco? Greecel?), other kinds of volunteer posts I might enjoy, when I might stop traveling and come home, whether or not I’ll come home for Christmas, where I want to live one day, what kind of job I want to find…

I can’t avoid my future. I turn it over in my mind constantly. I have to. This isn’t a vacation for me. This is real life. It’s my life. I’m undertaking all kinds of work so I can see what truly makes me happy and what doesn’t.

I wonder why I allow myself to become so hung up on the past or the future. I often feel like I can’t help myself. Then again, I don’t think it’s entirely my fault.

I had an epiphany a couple of days ago. A common thread runs through my volunteer experiences during these past two months.

If you run a farm, you have to think forward. Bracing oneself for the coming seasons is the crux of a successful enterprise. Considering the mistakes one made in previous seasons is equally vital. The same rings true for those who live in the mountains, regardless whether or not they run a proper farm.

Speculation and reflection are the norms in both of these scenarios. It’s too easy to neglect the present in favor of what came before or what came next. It’s challenging to enjoy life as is.

Even if the environments I’ve encountered in my travels reinforce my old habits to some degree, this shouldn’t stop me from emerging from my comfort zone for at least a little while.

I can’t change who I am completely. I’ll always worry. I’ll always ruminate on the past. I’ll always seek control over a given situation. But I could stand to enjoy the present a little more, as well as BE more present.


§ 3 Responses to As Is

  • Oh Emma, you are doing exactly what you should be doing…self-reflection is good for the soul. You are wondering about your future because you, we all, are raised to believe we must have a useful purpose in order to exist. We can never just exist. Of course, it would be lovely to just exist, believe me, I have been having many such thoughts of late, but I cannot just exist because sadly, it takes some type of income even to just exist. You should continue your journey until it is time not to…you will know when that time has come and if you don’t know if it has come, then it probably hasn’t yet. This time is such a gift that you are giving yourself…something that will become much harder to do the longer you go on in life, so reflect, and cherish it knowing that this is what you are to be doing right now…

  • awrams says:

    Listen to Irma! She is right 🙂

  • Donna says:

    I agree! Listen to Irma and your mother! But also listen to yourself. Not your thoughts…allow yourself the opportunity not to think for a just a bit each day. It’s hard, but let your senses lead you…really feel the bite of the chill in the air or the uneven ground under your feet. Really see the green, the blue, the mountains, the lights. Really smell the farm — the good and the bad. And really taste the food — whether it’s simple or more complex. And finally, really listen…to others…to the wind…to all the sounds of nature. There is nothing that grounds you in the present like switching on your senses and just absorbing everything around you.

    We all are so proud of you — Irma and I were just talking about that an hour or so ago. And while this definitely is a journey for you, don’t worry so much about finding your destination. As the old cliche goes…just enjoy the ride!

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