My biggest fear in life is to simply exist and not fully live. My new nephew, Patrick, was born 10-days ago. So I can't help but overanalyze everything about life right now, including my own.
It feels like just yesterday when I was in Taiwan walking to school to teach a class of 24 three-year-olds, when I got THE CALL. It was my brother and he had something to tell me. He sounded so serious. I didn't know if I should be excited or terrified. That's when he told me that him and his wife were expecting their first baby!
I'll never forget how I felt in that moment. It was magical. Of course I congratulated him and was super excited as I hung up the phone. Pure joy filled my entire body from head to toe. I wore a huge grin the rest of the day that not even my trouble-making students could break!
I believe it's unforgettable and irreversible moments like these that navigate our entire lives. Babies have a way of making your heart melt and morph. I didn't know it at the time, but that moment was the beginning of my journey back home to America.
You see, my boyfriend and I were deeply homesick at that point from being away from our family for over entire year. And we were in deep denial about this (survival tactic).
I'm also a big thrill-seeker and obsessed with traveling. And when I have a crazy idea in my head, I put my blinders on and get to work manifesting it. So instead of returning home after 15-months in Taiwan, I insisted we head strait to Spain for 10-more months!
Except we didn't make it 10-months in Spain. Not because we didn't like it there, because we absolutely LOVED it (I WILL retire there one day!) And it wasn't because we couldn't find English teaching jobs, because we both did (expect man are those Spanish kids NAUGHTY)! The real reason was a baby in the oven.
No no no not MY oven haha! I mean my unborn nephew, Patrick. I wanted to be there for his birth, take his newborn photos, and share this special time with my family. And he wasn't the only thing ultimately pulling me back across the world...
I came home because I missed my mom and dad. I missed my brothers and sister and entire family. I missed my three best friends in Washington who I grew up with. I missed my former roomie and bestie (who actually came all the way to Taiwan to visit me)! I missed my San Diego inner circle. I missed my mom's husky Gigi, and even my own naughty dog Charlie! I just missed... All my people.
Since returning to America one month ago, I've somewhat felt guilty for taking a break and "simply existing." My inner-wanderlust-adventure-seeker wants to start moving at 100-miles an hour again and go Go GO!
But busyness isn't living. Busyness is actually the opposite of fully living. If we don't slow down enough to deeply connect with the people we love, then we've missed the point. Don't get me wrong, hard work is great. But we have to remember what gives us our life-force and what it means to truly live.
Two words... PEOPLE & LOVE. It's people and love that motivate us to do the things we do. People and love create a beautiful breathing baby in only 9-months! People and love are what made me throw in the wanderlust towel (for now) and leave Spain behind. It's people and love that make the world go round.
I may sound like a sensitive hippie right now. But seriously, life is simple. It's so simple that it's funny. And we tend to overcomplicate it with these big decisions and goals.
You don't have to travel the world to fully live (although here's why you should travel now not later)! There are many "successful" people today who are sadly simply existing. They're going through the motions of business and never deeply connecting with people. But real fulfillment can't be chased down and captured with achievements.
A good life comes from loving people who love you back. A good life is about finding something you enjoy doing that doesn't stress you out everyday. A good life is spending quality time doing absolutely nothing with your new nephew. A good life is not meant to be lived tomorrow, because life is happening here right now today.
Anyways, I'm super surprised if you are still reading this longer post lol. But in conclusion, I want to remind you of my opening quote...
"My biggest fear in life is to simply exist, and never fully live."
After seeing 23-countries, I can say that I have fully lived. But it's not because of my world travels or any other outward success. I have fully lived because I have loved with all my heart.
I have seen the miracle of a newborn baby. I have followed my bliss wherever it took me. Sometimes that was across the world, and sometimes it was right back home.
I have been blessed to meet great people that I consider family from all over our world. I have also felt the deep pain of loss and tragedy. I have made peace with the reality of death.
Death is not so scary when you can honestly say that you 100% fully lived. And when you think about the miracle of life and this blessing we've been given, why would you ever want to waste it by simply existing?
Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. And don't lose site of what's truly important while you do. Spend time this season with the people you love most and capture those precious moments on camera. Life is short, and sometimes the way to fully live is too slow down and simply exist for a while.