The days drag on, one blending into the other. It isn’t all too bad – I’m safe, I’m healthy, everyone I love and care about it safe and healthy, and I have enough space and time to be doing what I want to do.
I thought I’d catch up on my reading – having just finished ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt during my trip, I figured I’d read as many unread story books I had with me, so that I wouldn’t feel guilty every time I bought books. I took out the books I’d packed into my bags, pulled books out from the shelves, and heaped them in a pile next to my bed, where I’d be able to see them. I figured I could read these books, and then pen down my thoughts on the book as a part of the ‘First Impressions’ series on my blog.
I thought I’d learn how to cook – I enjoy baking, but the only thing I know how to make in terms of regular food is an egg sandwich, or an omelette. So, I asked my dad – who is an excellent cook – to teach me how to make basic dishes. I went for three days – after that, I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe because my father is a highly disciplined person, and I’m just feeling really lazy. That’s probably it.
Letting people know I was back felt a bit embarrassing, quite tongue-in-cheek, to be honest. I’d made an effort to meet the people most important to me before I left, and had closed shop, thanking my clients [read: The bonds we make]. I’d given away all of my medicine supplies, and cleanly shut everything down.
Basically, I’d planned for everything I needed to start a new life, but it wasn’t going to happen just yet.
Up until this point, mentally at least, I was stretched thin. I wanted to gain all the experience I had to gain, I wanted to learn all there was to learn, and earn as much as I could. I was very focused, and was intensely pursuing goals, ticking them off a checklist. I was in the head space to do, to achieve, to stop feeling worthless due to my failure of being unable to get the college and the course that I wanted.
But then my classes were made online, I wasn’t going to get the life I’d been looking forward to… And something inside me just released. All at once, it didn’t matter. Slogging to earn as much as I could didn’t matter. Doing as many surgeries as I could didn’t matter. I was running a race the best I could, and, suddenly, I realised that the lane I was running on was a dirt track, and I was alone on a field in the middle of nowhere.
But, for once… I didn’t mind being alone.
I’d done my running around. I’d chased my goals. I’d done everything I could to ignore and tamp down my anxiety of watching things derail and stray away from the route I thought they’d take.
After a little more than two decades, my life wasn’t going the way I thought it would. I wasn’t successful, publishing papers left and right the way I thought I would be, or performing multiple surgeries the way I thought I would be. I wasn’t gaining crazy experience or pulling all-nighters or exhausting entire evenings away in the library.
I was at home, baking in my oven of a room due to the summer heat, reading books, watching videos on skincare or k-pop memes, going for weekly scheduled 2+ hour walks with one of my closest friends, occasionally studying, occasionally learning to cook. Minute by minute, the life I thought I’d be leading was slipping out of my fingers, becoming more and more blurred to my mind’s eye. Maybe, one day, I won’t remember how I wanted my life to be – it’s more likely that I’ll remember my life being like how it is right now.
And, quite honestly? It’s not as bad or as scary as I thought it would be.
Who knew being an untethered ship in the ocean would actually be enjoyable?