-Yann Martel Life of Pi
Much of my formative years were spent trying to control the people and situations present in my life. As a result many of my important relationships fizzled out due to my intolerance and inability to allow. The fact that Mom loved to relocate made me anxious and irritated, and every time she declared "We're moving!" I refused to get on board. In my rigidity all I wanted was for things to stay the same, no matter that I wasn't happy, I just desired to be surrounded by the familiar. As the years passed and many friendships diminished, I became increasingly unhappy. I chastised one of my best friends for dropping out of college because I couldn't fathom a life without strict adherence to society's rules. I observed in disbelief my peers having babies, wondering how they could be so irresponsible. Though I fancied studying abroad, I was too consumed with fear of the uknown to even take the first step in that direction. Every fiber of my being was filled with judgement and hence I was terrified that other were judging me equally as harshly, my fear forcing me to outfit myself with a facade, never showing my true self. So much of my life was spent hiding because of my need to control my surroundings.
What I was grossly underestimating was the power of removing myself from my comfort zone. In moving away from everything I knew, I became vulnerable which forced me on the other side of the wall of judgement I had erected against everyone. In being immersed in a different culture and observing their ways, I was pushed to look inward as well. I found that it is that very vulnerability inherent in voyaging to foreign places that provokes our spiritual and intellectual development. I found that true happiness comes from within, that traveling to run from your problems will only give them a head start, and you will find them on the doorstep of your destination saying "It took you long enough." I learned that if you can find an inner peace that stays with you regardless of your surroundings, travel can inform you on a visceral level as you will be able to soak up every taste, smell, and sight to the fullest, and those experiences will be worth much more than any formal education.
So here I am, a college drop out single mother living in Mexico and everyday I am reminded that though we may find other's paths funny or frivolous, it isn't ours to decide. That judgment and control of another person won't fulfill us, and in our efforts in running our will, we may potentially squash the expression or faith in another. In the end everyone has to make their own way, and it is our job to decide ours in a way that makes us truly happy, and allow for others to do the same. Though I still am tested with the same feelings that plagued my youth on a daily basis, I make conscious decisions to breathe and question my motives before I proceed. And sometimes I fail and have Mom shout at me "Choose your battles!"