About one year ago, 13 months to be exact, I sat in a hotel room in Sydney reflecting on how far my had come until that point.
About two years ago, 26 months to be exact, I rode the #160 bus from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of Seoul looking for my lost wallet.
As I write this I am listening to the same music from both the bus and the hotel room.
I am writing this because I promised myself I would.
Although physically I look nearly identical to the me of one year and even two years ago, I feel the rest of my being has change and grown around me.
The young woman in that hotel room last year was still very young in spirit. She put the “young” in the phrase young woman.
She still hoped and believed in things like fairy-tale happy endings and the words of romantics.
A part of me still is that young woman but a larger part of me is not.
The last 13 months have taken their toll on me. While I have achieved many great things in the past 13 months, I have also had my heart trampled on time and time again. I am tired. I am weary. I want different things from my life.
The dreams of a lovely romance and the delusions of a grand career where I could do the research I loved with freedom are now replaced with the much more practical finding of a job that pays the bills and not seeking love until the rest of my life circumstances are in order.
The way I think has changed as well.
Even only a few months ago, I would follow the capricious whims of my heart rather than look at my circumstances objectively and consider all the possible consequences of my decisions. Now it is the opposite.
Perhaps I am getting more fearful as the years start to tick on by. I am no longer a child and I cannot behave as such.
I don’t possess the same boundless yet reckless freedom that I once roamed the streets and nights with.
Now I simply want stability, security, and a nice warm place to return to before the night ends.
I have had my share of liaison’s or affairs or whatever you want to call them in the past year. Part of life (here) is seeing a constant stream of people flow into and flow out of your presence.
Now I want to commit to those people (friends, lovers…) and things that have the potential to last forever rather than those liaisons that last for a mere fleeting moment or two.
I don’t have the same energy anymore to give to everyone who may pop-in to my life.
I can only give my time and energy to those who I consider valuable in my life.
Instead of the wayward daydreamer of years past, I feel as if I am morphing into someone else; someone more like a world-weary straight-shooter.
Perhaps it is my increase in fear or simply laziness that prevents me from leaving this place that I have called home for nearly 4 years.
While there are many things I’d like to leave behind in Korea, there nearly as many things that I’d like to keep.
The biggest thing is probably that I know how live independently, relatively, here and that I have never lived as an adult in any other place.
This is not to say that I can’t or couldn’t live anywhere else, I am sure that I can, it is more that I am scared.
I am scared to leave behind my comfortable life for a life that is at best uncertain.
Living in Korea, thankfully though, has given me the skills and built up the confidence in those skills to assure that I can survive and thrive anywhere in the modern, developed world.
Moreover, I have changed a lot in the past year and I’m sure sure that I will change again in the next year. I, nor anyone else, can predict what will happen even tomorrow.
A part of the “old me” will always remain somewhere inside me but I need to keep being reborn in order to keep up with the constant changes in life.
I think I can say that though whatever and wherever my next life is, I will thrive in it sooner or later.
And maybe, just maybe you may still catch a glimpse of that girl on the bus, the young woman in Sydney, or even the girl who came to Korea if you look carefully enough at me in the next day, next month, or in the next year.
I think I shall write to both my friends and myself again just to check up on my progress!