Making New Year’s resolutions is so passé. People do it all the time, and more often than not, forget about it before the first month is up. I wasn’t so different. I would vow to eat healthier, exercise more, study this new skill and that, until I realize it’s so much harder to actually do things than just dream about them.
Things changed for me this year. I was faced with a choice: do I continue with my safe, comfortable life in the Philippines, or take a risk and be with someone as he travels around the world?
It wasn’t an easy decision to make, even with my New Year’s resolution of going outside my comfort zone this year and with my location independence. As Susan Orlean said in The Best American Travel Writing of 2007,
As I’m packing I feel myself resisting, thinking to myself that I really would prefer staying home, that home is very nice, that I have everything I want at home, that I can just take it easy in my own living quarters and eat my very own familiar food and have no difficulty using the telephone, getting cash, finding my way around, and that this travel business is just a headache.
Yes, home is familiar. Home is nice, with my little house, a small yard kept verdant by my neighbor, and two cats who keep me warm at night. I love home, where I have no need to go far to buy food. Itinerant vendors always stop by my house everyday and offer me whatever they’re selling for the day–from carbonara and spaghetti, to sugared banana and sticky rice.
Home are my neighbors, who feel free to hang their laundry in my yard whether I’m there or not. Home is a place where people know me, like me, and respect me for who I am, and care enough about me to receive and keep my mails (even unasked) whenever I’m out of town.
Early this month, though, when I was offered a chance to chuck all these comforts, I realized that even though I would like nothing than to be home, I needed to go out of my comfort zone, to take risks and see how far I can go from what’s nice and familiar in order to follow my heart.
So I said yes, I would leave home indefinitely for someone who can give me no assurance, no guarantee, of stability.
Indeed, it is scary. I could prepare now to be away from the Philippines for six months or more, but nobody knows, not even us, if we’ll still be together after a month or two.
However uncertain the future may be, I see that this risk has to be taken, this jump into the unknown has to be done. After all, this is not so different from traveling. When I travel by myself, I always get lost, not only in the place but also in the moment.
When I’m traveling, I revel in all things unfamiliar, overjoyed by the thought that I’m somewhere new, experiencing something beyond the usual.
If things don’t work out according to plan, there won’t be any regrets. I am living my life the way I want it to be, following no script but my own. Even if the relationship ends, life goes on. There will always be new paths to take, new dreams to fulfill, and new people to love.
Happy new year to all of us!