As I was getting off the city bus last Friday to meet up with a friend for a few drinks, I was suddenly awe-struck, realizing I was actually walking through the streets of Dublin like it was something I had done all my life. I was completely aware of how I moved, as if this was the most natural thing in the world to me, when really it was such a ludicrous concept. This place, once huge and intimidating, was now so familiar and normal to me… When did that happen?
I remember telling everyone that, after graduation, I was going to move to Ireland. I don’t think anyone really believed me. Okay, Gina, you just go off and move to Ireland. Will you be joining the secret service too, or simply become an international rock star while you’re at it? Honestly, I’m not really sure I believed me either. I mean, it was such a simple thing to say, “I’m moving to Ireland,” but I didn’t really grasp what the weight of that meant until I was already here.
It’s like they say: no one realizes the significant moments while they’re happening, but they’re happening, and I was finally able to put that in perspective.
It was pretty cool to step back and take a look at my life, removing all subjectivity and normality, realizing that I am pretty badass. No matter how many people told me how amazing this all was, and how much of an incredible opportunity I had right in front of me, it didn’t really seem to be as big of a deal as they were all making it out to be. For me, it seemed that if I could do it, how amazing could it really be? But it totally is. Here I am, writing this blog halfway across the world, surrounded by so many opportunities and interesting people, living this life as if this is what I had always intended on doing. So naturally, so calmly, I’m living amazement.
I’m not the only one, though. Everyone I know is doing something amazing: starting new careers, following passions, running marathons, going back to school, taking risks, creating other humans… I mean, how amazing are we to have the ability to do all of these things, and at our own discretion? The freedom to create, to do, to go beyond ourselves. But do any of us ever realize the amazement of what we’re doing while it’s happening? And, more importantly, are we brave enough to take advantage of it?
I think our problem is that we’re always looking for more, for better, without being content with what we are now. And I think what hinders this is that we let limitations control us. Did I ever think I’d be here? Sitting in Big Blue a year ago at the seemingly demise of a long-term relationship, writing out stat problems and sociology essays, drinking wine with my roommates, not giving a second thought to what I had to offer the world, did I ever think that I would end up in such a foreign and thrilling place? And yet, here I am. The only things that were holding me back, and that kept me second guessing this decision, were the have to’s: “I have to get a job,” “I have to find a new boyfriend,” “I have to grow up.”
Like Hell I do.
“Remove the expression ‘have to’ from your vocabulary and your thinking, because it is going to release a lot of self-imposed pressure… Instead, begin by saying, “I choose to.” It puts a whole different perspective on your life. Everything you do is by choice. It may not seem so, but it is.” – Louise L. Hay
Deciding to live this way makes me appreciate what I’m doing all the more. I chose this. It wasn’t something I had to do, or was “suppose” to do, and it didn’t just come knocking on my door saying, “Hi Gina, it’s the next stage of your life, here. Let’s get on with it.” I made a decision to live my life for me, not caring whether it was the most responsible decision, because it was MY decision. I get to live amazement because, every single day, I wake up and choose my own path. When you start each day off as if on purpose, everything you do is incredible; everything you do is life-changing. You’re the one who gets to sculpt your life and decide where you want to take it. You live amazement because you choose to be amazing, and you choose for yourself what that all means, so why ever limit yourself to the “have to’s?”
Yeah, I live in Ireland. It is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever done up until this point. But what’s better? It’s not going to be the most amazing thing I’ve ever done when I wake up five years from now, God only knows where. We all have lives to live, and what makes them all worthwhile is taking the time to appreciate how much we’ve already accomplished, and being aware of the abundance of opportunities that are still sitting right in front of us, just waiting to be taken on. Don’t let the “have to’s” blind you from this reality; choose to live for you.