I have days when I wake up and see my purpose so clearly, everything I want to do seems so visible and achievable. But there are days when nothing seems to be in place, that going out of bed happens as an emotional miracle. I usually resist going for a run, for a long time I have been used to wait for motivation to arrive instead of befriending discipline, but when I remember the fact that motivation may not come that day and I go out, everything changes. Running inspires me to write better, it puts me right in the present and helps me think about my past in an objective and grateful way and that brings me here; to share it with you.
Even though I am usually far from the place that my head and heart call home, my mind and body always try to find places with that feeling of “home” and that makes me get used to them, to the point of forgetting that many things are still new to me. While I was running, I started to look at the ground; the wet leaves, the half-empty park, the loud sound of piano music in my ears and my face getting a little damp with the breeze as I ran. I was in the total present, enjoying my favorite moment, when it just rained somewhere. And I thought to myself,
a year ago I decided one thing, which led me to make this place my home.
The issue with decisions is that they define us along the way. Sometimes we take them thinking that they will be forever and suddenly everything changes. On this path of being a stranger through life looking for her place, curiosity has been my guide at all times, it leads me to ask myself questions without judgment, to question what I do out of “habit” so that I can reinvent myself whenever there is opportunity and of course, it helps me identify that opportunity.
Decisions start weighing more and more throughout our way, because as we grow older, many of them in our lives are made by other people — usually by our parents or those who raised us — and although we do not like it many times, we have no choice. We have to accept what it is and if everything goes wrong, it is easy to throw blame on those who decided when we couldn’t.
Growing up leads you to understand that now it’s your turn, you have to decide.
I like to think of it as if on each one’s path in life, we are carrying several buckets full of permanent color paint — which represent our areas of life — our paths go close to each other’s, sometimes they do have to go through the same places but they don’t always cross. Some find ways to move at their own pace without staining others, but this is not always the case. Many feel the pressure of the competition and look for ways to slow down the others. Suddenly you’re going your own way and a bucket of paint falls all over your body in front of everyone.
Clearly you wouldn’t have asked for that to happen, to have people laughing, without someone assuming the blame for the paint that fell at you, you wouldn’t be guilty for that happening to you, but that situation has already fallen your way, you decide if you spend energy asking someone to take responsibility. Good luck with that.
We cannot control what we would like others to do even though it is clear from the bottom of our hearts that someone else has responsibility for what fell in our way. It would be maddening to think that paint is never going to be removed from your body, to think that something is going to mark you forever, that’s for sure. But you decide if you regret it or if along the way, you make new combinations until you find a color that you like.
Of course this is a metaphor, but is it really far removed from reality? Life is full of decisions that we must make even if it wasn’t our plan to have to. In our culture we see guilt and responsibility as synonymous and sometimes a situation does apply to that rule, but not always. The fact that our parents decided something about our life can lead us to think that perhaps they are the ones “to blame” for having done so and maybe they are, but at the same time they’re not. They acted as it seemed right to them according to what they learned from their parents, our grandparents and we are not sure either if that it was the best.
Guilt is something that can easily be thrown from person to person however not everyone has a responsibility to deal with it. If I had written this a few years ago I probably would have told you otherwise, but I have learned that it is not.
There are people who act far from their authenticity and self-love, creating intentional problems in our life or sometimes unintentionally, but still affecting us and then it seems clear to us that they are the ones to blame even though they don’t always assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
There are thousands of situations that fall in our way without having asked for them, which despite not having been caused by us, become our responsibility, because it is our life.
Even when we believe that we are not deciding, we are doing it unconsciously, but we are not aware of it. The objective is to be awake to make better decisions and take control of our own history to try to make the journey as we would like knowing what does depend on us. It’s scary to decide because decisions determine who we are on the road.
It is scary to stop being something to be something else.
Throughout my life I have been many different Luisas who have come out to help me live a certain phase of my life and each of them has taught me lessons. The current Luisa is nostalgic and curious, she usually remembers the past and thinks, what if that continued to be? What if I had chosen differently? What if my grandparents were still alive? What if that relationship hadn’t ended? What if I had never felt what it is like to travel for the first time? What if I had chosen to stay where I was? What if at that moment I had known what I know now? What if I had graduated on something else? What if I had loved better? …
What would your life be like if you hadn’t decided what you did?
But even that I have questioned, why do I think so much about the past? Why in a nostalgic and ungrateful way? I realized that when the road seems so blurry and we can’t see where we’re going very well, turning to nostalgia is our safe harbor, or at least I usually feel like it’s mine.
Staying stuck in nostalgia can be a long-term decision that is useless.
Remembering is too beautiful when you have so many memories and people who have crossed your path and as human beings who want to be in control of everything, because we don’t know how to deal with uncertainty, we want to hold on to them.
We may never stop looking back, for me it is impossible and who says we should?
We must teach ourselves to think of memories gratefully, but if we still cannot think of them like that, that is our sign that we need to heal to continue and then be able to remember in that way. I’m not saying it’s easy (if it was, I probably wouldn’t be writing this).
It is difficult to take responsibility for the wounds that have marked us along the way, but it is necessary to advance lighter. All those days that I have a hard time getting up to remember my purpose in this particular phase of my life, I need to remind myself that the nostalgia I feel about my memories is there for me to be grateful for the Luisa I am today, regardless of what kind of memories they are. The good ones, the bad ones, the sad ones … To remind myself that with all that I am today, I can make better decisions. From small to large ones. At my pace. I have that power although sometimes I forget it.
I can decide how I start my day, how I live the uncertainty, how I love myself today, how I look at the memories, how I take the actions of others, how I act now that I know more, even if I will never know everything; decisions.
Every day that is harder than the others, I try to think about that metaphor that at some point I invented perhaps to make my time more enjoyable and I remind myself that I can decide what to do with the paint that has fallen on me, I decide what combination of colors this present Luisa likes better.
And so do you.
You have been many versions of yourself throughout your life, with this version that you are now, how do you want to decide? What are you going to do with the paint that fell on you? …