Lesson Learned On My Skin

Lesson Learned On My Skin

I wanted to teach myself things i would never learn in textbooks. I wanted to teach myself things I would never learn in the suburbs. To explore freedom, to live with nature and to understand that hopes and dreams can come true. I am so grateful for my ability to dream up such adventures. I am grateful for my inner compass for guiding me and keeping me safe. I am thankful in my heart and mind, for my courage I have acquired strength from unimaginable challenges.

Powerful lessons I have learned abroad:

Strength. And Trusting Yourself. Like the cliché, “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone”, I’m so much stronger than i know. Only when this is experienced in such raw form do i clearly understand the strength i possess to make correct decisions, keep myself safe, overcome fear, and just do it. I have learned that I am incredibly strong. And only in that strength have I been able to experience and recognize these invaluable life lessons.

Gratitude, not expectation. Before, I tried hard to not have expectations. But now I see that I still did. I expected special treatment, expected air-conditioning, expected people to understand me, and expected road construction for the one tiny pothole on my street. Now, I don’t have expectations. I have seen what I have and what others don’t. I have gone without because I didn’t have the option, and I have been the outsider, thrown into a pen of discomfort—I cannot expect a thing, not speaking the language, knowing the environment, or having anyone to rely on but myself to figure it all out. This has fueled gratitude. When I am comfortable, when I am clearly understood, I want to fall to my knees in thanks and smile at the universe—so thankful for that moment of clarity to receive, rather than ever expecting it in the first place.

Simplicity. Living in simplicity is a mental and physical purging agent of self-control. When we don’t have access to something, we don’t have access. Plain and simple. And yet somehow life is still okay. When we make the conscious choice for simplicity, we are giving ourselves a gift and taking control of our lives rather than letting them continue to run away on the train of materialism. We are saying, “That’s enough. I want to be in charge.” And when we do, it takes about five seconds to realize that it is all trappings anyway. And when we have none of it, and nothing to do, but to sit and think, reflect, and just be, we become comfortable with ourselves in the silence and simplicity, in a way we never knew. Simplicity changes lives.

Patience. And how to take a backseat from control, and follow the flow. We must leave our control mechanisms at the door because it gets us nowhere. Relinquish control and tight grips on life and learn to throw it to the wind and be okay with that. Instead of getting frustrated when things are different or do not go as planned, it is necessary to sit back and let the world flow. This is a lesson for life, too. We are caught up in a world of structure and order and finite decision making and judgment. It’s crippling. Taking a deep breath and listening to our heart and inner compass, handing the reigns over and not shaking from discomfort in doing so—learning to let go and let be, is an amazing awareness.

Friendships are the new family. Life abroad offers the opportunity to meet and engage with people from all over the world. Friends become your family. When your new friend from France or New Zealand, is there to have a beer and share experiences, they become family.When no one else understands what you are going through, they do, because they are in the same place right now, on the same quest, miles from home, and piecing together their own adventures. With the same challenges and happinesses and lifestyle and paradise and self-discoveries. Understanding things that no one else will ever believe are even true, and grappling with the same issues of life abroad.

Self-acceptance. We all make mistakes, and they are judged. Which causes us to be hard on ourselves and expect to operate in a place of perfection with no room for error. But mistakes are natural and are all moments of self-teaching. If it weren’t for mistakes, we wouldn’t be half the people we are today. We are all on our own paths. Writing our own stories, not someone else’s. Not being who we think we should be, but being who we are.I have learned that it’s okay to be me, and that the things that make me who I am are all there for a reason. As long as we recognize and create our own paths with confidence. Owning up to our own lives, taking responsibility for failures and successes, and accepting that what makes us who we are, and being really happy with that person.

Be you. Be strong. Be brave. And be easy on yourself.

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