After a long trip, one tends to introspect; there are moments of your life that come flashing by, as you sit at a new cafe that you discovered, on an unknown cobbled street. Maybe sipping a coffee, maybe lighting a cigarette, or maybe while just sitting there, staring at the lines on the map in front of you that almost seem to mimic the ones you find on your palm.
A significant part of you is satisfied, you have that job you’ve dreamed of, you have fabulous friends, some getting that much awaited promotion, some finding new love, and some, starting a new journey with their significant others. The lines on their palm, their destiny, taking them further and further away; showing them different sights and sounds, a journey as unexpected as one you’d have if you were to choose a random lane along the map and followed it through.
I was having one of these moments. The hot coffee lay next to me, untouched, my eyes staring straight ahead at the medieval castle ahead of me, my thoughts, scattered.
I tried to focus on something, maybe the intricate designs on the clock in the tower ahead of me? Or maybe I could people watch and day dream along with them? Maybe…. Whatever it was, I knew that I had to stop myself from trying to answer the dreaded question that was rising inside of me, “Am I truly satisfied with where I am right now?” – Is this, this exact moment where I am, the reason that I took all those decisions in the past – good or bad, but taken them none the less, just to be here, in this time and place. Today.
I don’t know what I was doing there, but I knew that there was one face that made me feel warm. From far away, there was one voice that I had to speak to. One soul that I had to share this moment with, and as I searched for my phone to find dial his number, the glow on my face grew warmer, and my smile wider.
Tonight, as I reminisce about a city that took my heart away in an instant, I also think about that part of me that I seemed to have left behind, rather that part of us.
Life is not all about being entirely happy, or sad, or having everything or even loosing it all. It’s about the challenges that’s thrown at us – no matter how stubborn a heart, one day he too will fall in love. No matter how romantic a soul, one day her heart will be broken. But the challenge is that when you find something, and in this day and age of emotions flowing in 140 characters or less, when you find that one person who makes you smile, even if for a while, I believe that it’s worth the risk. It’s worth the few extra hours of sleep, it’s worth the fight that turned you into an ugly monster for a night, it’s worth the tears that you leave on your pillow as you put on the biggest smile you can in the morning. Life, just like the lanes of the map, would be centric and a rather dull tale to tell if we never explored the paths and emotions that came our way. A new city is only as much fun to discover as the number of alleys and lanes that it has – the amount of space that it can let a traveller roam.
It’s discovery. And it’s magical. It’s a journey, not a duty. It’s life, not a job. You can’t apply for another one when this is gone.
The lines on the map, the outline of the flowing river, it didn’t show, but I knew that it opened up to the sea… I knew that the roads here didn’t just end at the edges of this map. There was a lot more left to discover, just like there is a lot more left to discover for me, as is for you.
Take a chance, walk down a different road, leave that castle, throw away that cigarette, walk into the unknown. Break that habit. Write her a postcard. Hug him when you see him. Tell your mother you miss her. Take your father out to dinner. Remind your best friend of that time when you’ll laughed so much you couldn’t breathe. Talk to yourself. Be brave. Find that new path, widen those horizons, throw away that ego, pick up the phone. Eat that french fry; but also go walk at sunrise.
When someone looks at the lines of your life, let it be complicated, elaborate, some should run through crossroads, others over rivers and seas. Let them know, that this life was an explored one. A complete one. A satisfied one. Let them be inspired, to find their own paths, to map their own journeys, to introspect and at the end of it all, most importantly, to have a fatigued smile on that sun-kissed face.