February 12th, 2012.
Exactly one year ago today I stepped off of an airplane and into a new phase of my life. I knew everything would be different, but I failed to fathom the magnitude by which everything would change. Since my return to the states in late June of last year, even more things have changed. I sometimes feel like I am stuck somewhere in the middle now, never quite satisfied with being here, but knowing and remembering how much I missed it when I was gone. As always, I am pushing myself to the limit—that part has not changed and most likely never will, but so many things are different now. I am no longer afraid of the changes that are happening; instead, I watch in awe as my life shapes, and reshapes itself around me and my decisions. Just like the pathway of choices I realized while abroad, I now have the ability to look ahead and see possible, realistic outcomes to my decisions and weigh my options. I have learned much, but yet there is still so much to learn. Of all of the things I learned, I must admit the lesson that changed my life the most is simple: Happiness is on the inside. This lesson is followed closely by: Control your mind and you shall control the world. Both go hand in hand is the shaping of my life and my attitude toward it all. Perspective is everything. By finding happiness within yourself and overcoming negative thoughts it is possible to smile in the bleakest of situations. I have learned to try new things and take risks, chances and also that things are rarely as they seem. I have learned to slow down and that delaying gratification only makes the journey and reaching the goal so much sweeter. Rushing allows room for mistakes and ignores the path as part of the goal, which is also to be enjoyed. Life isn’t about looking for the most direct route to death and running through the nettles for it—it is about carefully selecting where to place your foot in front of the other and strolling along enjoying the warmth of sunshine on your skin and the winking of stars. As my final year of undergraduate looms nigh, this is more important than ever. Taking time out to study and earning an ‘A’ instead of just “winging it” and receiving a ‘B’ to pass the class is still a challenge I am wrestling to master, but 按部就班, step-by-step, I will achieve my goal. Step-by-step I will achieve all of my goals.
Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on Taiwan and my experiences there, referencing them to something that is happening here on the other side of the world. The best part is, if I were to leave again today and return, I would have an entirely different set of experiences and memories. Some of the people that so greatly touched my life will never again look upon my face, and my classmates and I will never again all be together in one place. Some of us will move on to other places and greater things. Some will die, some will marry, some will not. Some will return and hug the faces they remember, but one thing is certain: Even now, none of us are the same. Our paths have already split, refracted into a thousand different rays in a thousand different directions and the moment we all spent together is the diamond that our rays of light shone through. We all cherish that diamond; I shall hold mine in my heart for as long as I live. But the time is now, and like each newly bent ray, we must carry on to our destinations. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life and I look forward to crossing rays with you, as well as many new ones in the upcoming year.