One of the constants in my life has been, and I hope always will be, the lovely cacophony of different languages spoken by my nearest and dearest. Even though English is my mother tongue and that of my parents, I still grew up to the almost sing-song quality of the Tagalog my parents, older sisters, and extended older family spoke.
Going to school in English and French alongside a myriad of foreign exchange students and being a young pioneer of internet music forums added new sounds and writing systems to this wonderful confusion: English from the United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand have mixed with Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Bulgarian in my ears over the years. And they’ve all been interwoven with my own English, French, and (albeit limited) Tagalog in my mind into a warm blanket for my heart.
Being exposed to so many different cultures through these friendships, along with all the books I ravenously devoured in my spare time, awakened my sense of wanderlust at a young age and I’ve been longing to travel ever since. And finally, after more than a decade of such yearning, I’m finally able to do something about it. The problem is that there are too many places to go to – a good problem to have, I know – especially with a Canadian passport, but at some point plane ticket prices start creeping even higher.
Choices needed to be made, and I’ve finally made them…and come September my well-worn boots will stir up the dust of older lands when I set foot in Sweden and Ireland. More than a decade after first messaging them on online music forums, I’ll finally be able to bother some of the humans I love best in this world right to their faces. (Sorry in advance, guys.)
In all seriousness though, life is all about the journeys we make. Internal or external, it’s more than just about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about experiencing to the fullest what’s in between Point A and Point B, and if you have to take some detours along the way that’s not always a bad thing. The scenic route always leaves lasting memories, after all. As long as we keep making our away, eventually we’ll arrive precisely when we mean to and as the people we were meant to be when we get there.
The current leg of the adventure of my life has been a long one. It’s lasted a few years and the last two have been particularly fraught with uncertainty and worry, life-changing events and realizations, and daily struggles with my personal sense of identity. In the last few months, I’ve had to throw a lot of things out the window, especially particular opinions, prejudices, and beliefs whose origins I could not discern. Did these views come from me, or from others? Were these things my true views, or did I adopt them in order to be accepted? How authentic was I really, and how much of my identity was made for me by someone else?
Doing my internal spring cleaning has led to new discoveries about what I’m really made of and therefore who I really am. As a friend of mine told me once, “Trust the journey.” And to me, the first step on that journey was learning to trust myself enough to start over from scratch.
I am a free spirit. To be happy, I need to know that the final decisions of my life come from within me and are made under circumstances where I feel totally informed and totally free to choose in the first place. With this comes a personal need for openness to curiosity and exploration, to informing and educating myself about the world beyond my social bubbles, and to forging my best self out of what I have learned in this process. I know my foundation intimately – what it is made of and where I stand on it – and I know it is sturdy enough to build a new self upon.
I also came to realize that I am made with a wild heart. A wild heart takes in and learns to cherish every experience. A wild heart loves passionately and lives exuberantly. A wild heart cuts all of the strings that would keep it flying in circles but still carries what’s necessary for the journey. And a wild heart can’t be broken.
Transitions. Changes. Growth. A better version of myself, discerned from looking and listening inwards, that can stand firmly upon any physical ground because the internal foundation is strong and well-made. The road rises up to meet me, and I am on my way.