Monday, September 30, 2013

Settling Down? Nah...Just Taking a Breather

I've been home for over a month now and, for the first time in a long time, I don't have much to share in terms of future plans or projects I'm working on. I started this blog nearly 3 years ago as a way to share with my family where I was and what I was doing. It worked surprisingly well! When I would come back for visits, I spent less time talking about where I've been and more time catching up with them. I was always more eloquent in my writing and photos, anyways. It was nice. 

When things slow down, however, I struggle tremendously with my identity and who I am. Am I just this vagabonding version of myself, always gearing up for the next big adventure? Am I nothing more than the guy who shows up from time to time with stamps in his passport and a story or two to tell? Reverse culture shock can destructive at times (and sometimes enlightening, like the last time I came back home). From time to time I read back over my blog and journals to make myself feel better, and more often than not I come out more frazzled and down on myself. Am I the same guy that did all those things? Really?!?!

I'm not the same guy I was years ago, however. I'm stronger. Wiser. Maybe a little fatter, but I'll work that off here soon (unless they bring back Mountain Dew Pitch Black, then I'm screwed). I've learned some tips and tricks to keep myself grounded in times of turbulence and uncertainty. It's all stuff you've heard before but, like everyone else, I tend to forget them when I'm feeling like I'm pinned against the wall. That's why I wrote it down and tucked it nicely in the front pouch of my journal, and here's what it reads:

For when you start getting down on yourself, try the following steps:

  • Consult your bucket list. Note what you've crossed off already, and all the stuff you still have to do. (Note: my bucket list is a physical written list that I keep tucked with my passport. There's something about handwriting that makes it so much more personal)
  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone else or to your past self. Everyone does it, and it only makes you jealous. We're all different and all have something to offer.
  • Go for a walk. Or a run. It's probably nice outside.
  • Hug/kiss your mom and tell her you love her. You don't do it enough.
  • Repeat that with the rest of your family. They've missed you.
  • You're good at Halo. Play some games and giggle at the kids taunting you. (yes, I giggle...so what?)
  • "Your job doesn't define who you are." - Danielle (my friend told me this one)
  • Don't get upset at the situation. Do something about it.
  • It's ok if you get angry as long as it doesn't run your life.
  • Call someone and talk to them! They're either going through the same thing or have been through the same thing. 
  • This is all temporary.
  • Everything happening now was meant to happen, just like everything that's yet to come. It's called destiny, and you're shaping yours right now.
  • Look at the pictures your kids have drawn of you.
    Here's one of them. "Ryan" and "Lion" sound the same to alot of Koreans.
  • Don't binge eat and don't eat junk food. 
  • Actually, some junk food is ok from time to time.
  • Screw it...everything in moderation, right?
  • You were meant to do amazing things for this world. Don't ever forget that.
  • Use your Facebook to keep in contact with friends, not to have a pissing contest or brag.
  • Love! (This one is written in all caps and underlined a couple times)
That last one is the most important one of all. It's the one I never forget, even when I'm having the worst day ever. Love is why I do everything I do, and why I came home in the first place. My family never has a shortage of this, and they've been the best thing for me while I'm looking for work and figuring out what I want to do next (anybody wanna tell me what I should do next?!). My girlfriend, my friends, even the small handful of regular readers here...your love is the best in the world, and I only hope I'm able to reciprocate that whenever I can. 

I end this post with a recent story of love. Two of my friends got married earlier this month, and now they're both off to London for even more adventures. The guy got a free ride to get his Master's. He's seriously making me look bad, and I couldn't be happier for him. The girl has been my friend for over half my life, and the happiness she brings to the people around her nearly all the time is infectious. Weddings like theirs are rare in that I have never seen a couple so in love with each other. We all say that you should care about your significant other more than yourself, but they actually do...all the time.

Love like this is rare and it's something worth celebrating. I wish them a lifetime of happiness, and I want to thank them for reminding me that life is one long adventure we're meant to share with the ones we love.

And thank you, reader, for being a part of my adventure! I couldn't have gotten this far without you. I'm sure we have plenty of more to go on together, and I'm looking forward to taking you with me.