For the last three years (February 1st is my anniversary date, i believe) i have been living in sweden. I have already had many ups and downs here, met many people, many horses, seen a share of places, and have much left to do. I admit that it has been an adventure and one that i will surely never forget. However, it has in no way been easy. In these last three years, i have had to do more digging to see who i really am, what i really want, who i really care about, and who really cares about me and this has been extremely trying at times.
Starting out in a place when you are small and staying there throughout, more or less, the entirety of your life allows certain advantages when it comes to friendship. No, the person you had slumber parties with every weekend when you were 6 may not be the person whom you call your best friend now in your mid-twenties, but for the most part, the people whom you call friends are ones you have known for years. They are people who know you through and through, and they have been with you through at least a few struggles and celebrations. They are people with which you feel comfortable around, ones that you can laugh with for the sheer enjoyment of laughing, ones that support you and ones who make you feel like you can tell anything to, without judgement, and most importantly: ones who feel like, or are, your family.
If you are someone who has left this cozy, warm, familiar environment in search of adventure, in an answer to something more gutteral which has called you elsewhere in life, then you know the extreme loneliness that can accompany such an endeavour. You also know the extreme longing to find, and connect with people like this again. Maybe my journey in the past five years has been a bit unique in my own way, but i know that there are others who have experienced exactly what i have, and am, going through.
As we get older, it becomes more apparent how difficult it can be to really and truly connect with a person. Maybe as children we are more forgiving, more willing to overlook the flaws of other people in lieu of being friends. Children are inadvertently and uncompromisingly innocent and therefore have a greater ability to see one's heart, which is a talent well given. Why is this something that disappears with age? Why is it so difficult to forget differences, to forget so called "social-norms" and just sit down with someone we recognise within ourselves and be friends? Is it the fact that as we grow older, our insecurities can sometimes become louder and intimidate us? And if so, why do we run from people who have the ability to inspire, or instil a confidence within ourself instead of gain strength from them? Why must we feel the need to compete rather than to embrace?
In these past years, I have faced silent, yet ever apparent, judgement from people i thought were close and it has left me feeling as if my friends didn't truly know, or welcome the person i have become. However on the other hand, i have received warm moments, shared laughter, and many welcoming words from people i barely knew which has given me hope on this adventure. I have to say that in life, there are few things intellectually greater than having a best friend; someone that understands you, helps you, inspires you, tells you when you are wrong, laughs at you when you can tolerate it, and celebrates you without judgement is a person that must be treasured. I also have to say, that as you grow older, the ability to weed out this compatible, wonderful person, becomes harder and harder. You start to realise how unique everyone is, and how unique you are and suddenly you can find yourself feeling very alone. These moments are the times when you show yourself how strong you can be, how the ability to love and feel comfort within your self and who you are as a person, is vital. In these moments, you have to love you more than ever and use the weaknesses you discover to learn, and grow as a human being.
This past year or so has been quite a bit of this. The longer i am in sweden, the more the cultural differences begin to make themselves known. They are like the people: reserved, polite, and relatively quiet but abundant and thriving nonetheless. For me, life is about connecting with others and growing from the experiences you share with them, regardless of these experiences being good or bad. So far, i have done just that. The ability to put oneself in another person's shoes is a huge part of having any sort of respectful connection; I wish that people thought of this more often and were more willing to extend their hearts, minds, or arms to others. But, as they say, you can only change yourself and that is why i have to remember, everyday, to try to be the best version of myself i have ever been. Not only for me, but for the people whom i love in my life.
In order for a person to benefit from being here and living in this world, they need to overcome obstacles. I have met many people who have faced far greater challenges than i could have ever imagined and they have inspired me to be a better and stronger person. And for all of the people in my life who have done this, knowingly or unknowingly, i thank you. For now, i am ready for the new struggles with open arms; i am looking forward to getting to know the person i have yet to become.
until next time.....