There is this little quote I’ve heard a while ago and it stuck with me ever since. Maybe because I didn’t know back then, that it perfectly described what I would have to do. It says: “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” So here I am, laying it all out, trying to let go of everything, so I can become the person I was meant to be.
You could say I’m full of shit. To some extent we all are. But the more and more I question myself, the more I realize that there is so much shit holding me back. The biggest thing that I have to let go of, is my sense of superiority. I always thought that I was better than everyone around me, that I was somehow special. I was the sole center of my attention. Over the years this has grown so deep into my roots, that I was barely aware of it and simply accepted it as a part of me without any question. When I set out on my travels, I realized that I wasn’t as understanding and open-minded as I thought I was. I soon understood that the world is bigger and more complex, than everything and everyone that it inhabits. And I’m just a small part within this grand scheme. Traveling does this to you. Seeing the outside world will turn your world upside down.
At first I had a hard time adjusting to this new way of life, where I wasn’t the center of everyone’s attention. It was frustrating at first, but at the same time more than necessary. Just like medicine, this process was not supposed to taste nice. It was supposed to help me getting better.
Where does this insecure attitude come from, you may ask? As a kid I read a lot of fantasy books, played a lot of fantasy games (RPGs for you nerds out there) and watched a lot of fantasy movies. And what’s the common thread in all of those? Most of them all have this one hero, who needs to save the world. Frodo needs to bring the One Ring to Mount Doom, Harry Potter is the only one who can defeat Lord Voldemort, Westley is the only one who can save Princess Buttercup and so on. So as a little kid I, like many other kids, was imagining myself saving Middle Earth, defeating Voldemort and rescuing Princess Buttercup. Inconceivable, right? In my imagination I was the hero and it appears getting older didn’t change that all. The mentality of being the hero, being special, never left me.
And whenever I wasn’t playing games, reading books or watching movies, I submerged myself in daydreams and continued my special life in them. So I guess one of the reasons, why I was so unhappy is because my reality didn’t align with my imagination. In the real world, I wasn’t the hero, I wasn’t special. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Being happy doesn’t have anything to do with being special or trying to be better than someone else. Rather I think, being happy means being better today than you were yesterday.
These daydreams also prevented me from living in the moment. No matter where I was, I could always imagine a better place to be. In Germany, I was looking forward to go to Thailand. Once I was in Thailand, I couldn’t wait to go to Australia. When in Australia, then I was dreaming of Germany again. And so on and so forth. I was never happy with the present moment, but only with the anticipation of what’s coming. And if there was nothing to look forward to, then for some reason I became restless. Maybe it’s because I was afraid of the unknown. Not knowing what will happen in the near future.
So, one of the things I have to do is what Timothy Leary famously stated: “In order to use your head, you have to go out of your mind.” I hope that this practice of truly being honest with myself and me writing about it, is helping. Because then I can truly practice the virtues I always thought I had. Honesty, humility, courage, patience. By definition I knew what these virtues were, but I neither fully understood them nor did I apply them in my daily life.
On my blog I was writing about self-reflection and how important it is, and I still believe that. But for the purpose of my past posts, I only reflected so far as to not question myself too much. I never dug deep enough, but now I’m trying to dig until I reach fucking China. Before, I mostly had no idea what the hell I was writing about. I hoped that with this blog I could help myself and other people along the way, but looking back at it now, a lot of the stuff I wrote sounds hypocritical and pretentious. I was sometimes more concerned about sounding cool and professional. Someone who knows his shit. In reality I’m actually someone who knows shit.
The reason why I’m trying to shine a light on all my dark secrets is because I truly want to live an honest and good life, and I want to appreciate every single moment of it. As Jack Kornfield said: “The trouble is that you think you have time.“. No one can tell us how much time we have left, so we might as well appreciate this very moment. I learned that I can’t keep pretending that everything will work out just fine by itself. Having dreams and visions are great and even necessary, but I was always afraid of taking the next logical step, which was required: Work. Putting everything into action. It’s easy to imagine ourselves as rock stars, as someone “who has made it”. But what we see in the end is only the result of years and years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. “Behind the scenes is where all the work is done.”, as Usain Bolt once said.
When I actually did the work, then I was rarely happy during the process. Reason being, I was afraid of what other people might think of it. So oftentimes I was writing or doing videos for other people, but not really for myself. Remember my insecurities? Well, they show their ugly faces once again. I couldn’t stand any criticism, so either I didn’t do the work at all, or I edited it to such an extent, where I was playing it safe, instead of straight up saying what I was thinking.
Ironically, my favorite video game, Persona 4, deals with the theme of “Facing yourself”. It was right there in front of my face, and I was never courageous enough to do, what fictional characters were required to do, in order to progress within the story. I figured I might as well face myself right now, where I’m basically at the beginning of working on my dreams. The sooner I deal with it, the more confident and secure I will feel on the hard road I’ve put myself on. No matter how difficult it’s going to be, at least I know myself a little better and I don’t have to deal with any past baggage that used to hold me back.
I don’t expect not to be afraid of anything anymore. That would be foolish to believe. But now I’m well aware that my ego can’t control me any longer. I may not have a plan, but that is still no excuse not to work on something that I love doing. I just can’t expect to get anywhere by just sitting around, waiting for an epiphany or a bolt of inspirational lightning. That’s a whole load of biff manure.
Going forward, I’m not sure what will become of this blog. I’m still in the early stages of trying to be the best version of myself every day and I still suck at it. I have so much to learn, I don’t even know where to start. I guess, right here. Wipe the slate clean, try to come to terms with myself, kick myself in the arse for good measure. And then going forward with honesty, humility and patience.