It was never meant to be a goodbye

The hardest thing for me was not leaving. That was the easy part. Goodbyes aren’t easy, but packing the bags, walking through the gate towards a new adventure, now that’s exciting. I didn’t dwell on the goodbyes. But I have realised 9.5 months down the line that the hardest part was deciding to stay. For those who need some context, I live in Japan and have been here since August, last year. It didn’t faze me quitting my well paid job for one with a much lower salary and more of a ‘risk’ some would say. But this was my dream which had come true. This is no longer my dream now that I have achieved my goal to come and live here. It is a beautiful country with kind people, but now the dream has been realised.

Five months down the line, we had to make the difficult decision to re-contract for another year. At this point it would mean 1.5 years left in this country. I wasn’t sure I had achieved all that I wanted so I decided to stay because I felt there was more to discover and a year was too short. But reflecting over my life since being here, I have experienced some wonderful things, but also my fair share of crap. I have been at my lowest and it has been a very painful journey, yet it’s not the end. I wonder when the pain will subside. I feel like I live in a bubble. I feel like I’ve lost my way. I feel like this isn’t reality. Since coming to Japan, I’ve lost sight of my dreams and goals because the cold, hard truth is that I don’t have any. I don’t know where I am going in my life and I don’t know what I’ll do, but that’s okay for now. It’s okay to be lost, I just hope I won’t stay in Purgatory forever.

I don’t regret my decision, but I do wonder what if. Being so far away from home has made me realise and appreciate what I have at home; my family, my friends and an exciting life in London. I miss them all – I’ve never felt so alone as I have here, or maybe I have and I’ve forgotten. It’s in the daily routines and simple things that I remember the beautiful and the memories come swarming back. I miss my family very much. I miss hugs. I miss the smiles. I miss the internet sometimes when I don’t have it. I miss water when I don’t have that. In times like this I think about the people I love and how I left them behind without so much a second thought, but now I am constantly thinking of them; constantly reminded.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I made the difficult decision to continue to stay here even though I am deeply unhappy. I’ve made my bed and now it’s time to lie in it. But I’m not scared. I love my children at school and I am hoping I will be able to heal and rebuild myself. “Always stay calm in any situation” – that is the lesson I am fast learning.

I hope this isn’t where we say goodbye, because to me it was never a goodbye. It was a see you soon. I just didn’t realise a see you soon wouldn’t actually be soon, but what feels like a lifetime. I’ll be home for a holiday soon; it’ll be short-lived but refreshing. I think I’ve lost those rose-tinted glasses now. I think it’ll be time to go back soon and find a new dream. Soon I’ll be saying goodbye to myself – goodbye to the past and the present. Goodbye for now.

What does it mean to be in the unknown?

Today I am struggling with quite an interesting topic but which I would like to reflect objectively but will also try to keep a positive reflection on it. I am grappling with many ideas after reading a psychic reading and not because I am convinced that I want to find out what my future holds and pay $80 because I am unconvinced. Although a lot of what was written seemed to be true- I did not necessarily view my life as completely negative though I can be negative sometimes. But mostly I try to be optimistic. I am not materialistic and I do not care much for money except to have enough to enjoy a good life. I don’t need fancy phones or fancy gadgets. I just want happiness but obviously happiness is not a continuous state. It is constantly in flux.

What struck me about the psychic reading was that the woman was trying to convince me to buy her services and let her help me. The examples she used of not knowing what the future holds and how we must not walk in darkness really hit me. That is how I live my life- I take each day as it comes. I don’t expect anything to happen. I just live. But is that wrong? She makes it sound wrong. It reminded me of my brother who always said “what are you going to do with your life? You can’t keep walking around waiting for something to hit you.” Life is not like that. But the thing is I continue to walk in the unknown- I continue to wait for something to hit me in the face. The psychic gave an interesting example about a series of doors and how if we knew what was behind the doors we would avoid the bad and stick to the good. We wouldn’t just pick random doors in the hope of catching the good. Its not right to walk into the unknown unprepared. But truthfully I find it more exciting. You never know what could happen and you never have expectations. I mean how can you know what is the best choice until you make a choice! It is so easy for someone to say you should plan and prepare yourself. Well yes you should for quite a few things but life is unplanned.

I don’t know if life is planned. I don’t know if I believe completely in destiny. Saying that I suppose I contradict myself when I say that I believe that “Everything happens for a reason” because I truly do believe that. So perhaps then there is such a thing as destiny and a planned life. Though I would not consider myself a hard determinist nor would I consider myself a libertarianist because I do not believe we have complete freedom to act. Our choices are limited sometimes by external factors. For example if I wake up in the morning and I want pancakes- I can’t have pancakes if I have no eggs or flour. In that sense I am limited to act. Though one may argue I have the choice despite that and I have the choice to go out and buy eggs. But then I don’t have that choice if I am in a rush and I am restricted by time constraints. I consider myself a soft determinist because honestly that is the one that seems to make the most sense to me. We do have some freedom though it is limited. We have some control though some things are out of our control. It is like the example Hobbes gave about a flowing stream of water that is constrained to flow one way which is downwards- it cannot flow up, however it can flow in different directions downwards. It is limited by not being able to flow up, but is still has some choice to flow freely downwards. This is the same with life- we do have some control over the present and what we choose to do. I could potentially quit my job but I may not want to. I could go on holiday if I have the funds, but I am scared. Things such as external factors limit us and that may be fear, time, money, people etc. We have no control over death- not really. We can’t control our death- though some may argue that we could- we can choose when we want to die by choosing to kill ourselves. But not really. We don’t know what fate or destiny has in store for us. We don’t know how the future will pan out and it would be great to know but it would also be pretty crap.

How can we learn from our mistakes when we already know what they will be? Yes I walk in the darkness and I have no idea where my life is going. I find it hard to climb out the rut and my future is completely unknown because I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. But I can’t control that and I can’t change that because plans change. You may think you have a plan but it all changes because of circumstance.

I would love to pick the right doors and avoid the evil, hurt and pain. But that is simply to easy. The game is never easy! People always say “Oh if only I had known better!” “If only I did that instead of this…” But the thing is how could you know? You made a decision based on the evidence you were presented with or based on your feelings. You made that choice so when you make your bed you have to lie in it. You can only become wise by learning.

No one can protect me from the unknown. No one can tell me what the future holds. I mean psychics probably could and I could heed your warning and even if they are telling the truth I am making a choice right there and then. Some people would call me foolish to follow the psychic and some might say I was right if everything turned out well. I won’t blame anyone for my mistakes except me because I made them. I won’t heed your warning because even though I am completely afraid of the unknown, it is the best thing I have right now. Surprise me.

Life never forgets to surprise you! It happens more than once! The psychic tells me I will be happy for 6 months and I must sign up to find out more- but I don’t want happiness for 6 months! I want happiness for life! 🙂 But most of all I need to learn by myself and make my own mistakes. I need to exercise the right amount of caution. But I need to be positive.

So I ask you what does it mean to be in the unknown? Does it mean to be lost? Am I lost now? Maybe. I don’t know but somehow I’ll find my way out the darkness. There has to be a light and there will be a light. Life might just throw something in your way!