Friday, January 16, 2004

I left my heart in Lisbon…

Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at 21?

It’s been a week since I left Lisbon and somehow some shadow of something left behind haunts me. The hardest job a human being will ever have, is the permanent struggle to remain true to oneself in the face of society and controversy. I might not know what I want out of life but I’m proud that at least I know who I am… and what I don’t want out of life. Until the present date, I felt that everything was going as it should, I was satisfied with all my reasoning and decisions and the road up ahead looked clear.

A week ago, I made a pit stop in my journey by going to Lisbon for a New Year’s party. I met a lot of great new people, caught up with old ones and had a really great time. It was the perfect recharge of batteries and just what the doctor ordered to distract me from the routine stress and pressure I’d been under… but although the trip was more than just amazing… It also managed a counter effect.

The perfect home…

For any of you who have had your lives packed in suitcases or ever lived in a place that you could never call home, better than anyone, you can identify with the extensive need to have a home of your own. A roof over your head. Your own rules. Your own place of refuge in the world. This is the need I’ve withheld within for the last two years. Those who know me, recognise this need and gave me all their support in my quest to fulfil this desperate desire. Since August, I’ve taken the great step of signing a “marriage” contract with the bank in order to possess my very own apartment. I call this a marriage because from now on, more than half my salary will be divided with a bank for the next forty years.

Every decision implies losing something. By signing this contract, I benefit of the comfort of the home I’ve always dreamed of… and I lose my freedom. Financial freedom is what gives us space to change our destinies as we see fit. Like any human being, I have many dreams. I dream of holding a child psychology diploma in my hand, a BA degree. I dream of travelling the world and visiting the places that I’ve circled on my map. I dream of learning a romantic language like French and speaking it fluently with friends that I’ve made of the same language. I dream of having a successful career where I have the freedom to be creative and constructive. I dream of a honeymoon in a cabin in Switzerland and three or four kids running around in the snow whilst being hugged by the man I chose years before. Simple dreams, the kind that everyone paints in their imagination… and few have the courage to chase after. Hope and dreams are always the last to die, I keep these dreams deep inside my heart and refuse to give them up to despair.

I walked inside my apartment yesterday and saw the floors that were placed. I ran my fingers through the cupboards that smelled of new and looked through the newly placed windows. My apartment is almost ready, soon I’ll have the haven my heart has so desperately asked for. Anxiety ran through my veins… and then I walked into the bedroom and stood right in the centre with the coldest feeling of sadness.
Paradise is also a prison.
Somewhere, I left my heart in Lisbon… it’s since I’ve been back that I feel that I left something important behind. What did I lose in my journey? Was it the sight of the university that broke my heart in two? Maybe it was the variety of options that the city held? It represents the freedom to be anyone I want to be, no questions asked. Admitting that on a small island, my career cannot go further, it is the possibilities of going higher in my profession that played in my thoughts and the knowledge that in a bigger city, so much more is possible. So many people to meet… so many to get to know better… A world of possibilities is where I left my heart.
I look around my environment, I love my job, I like my colleagues, I like my friends and I love my island! I can’t complain at all about my present. It feels good to be alone in the office illuminated by the computer screen lights and great relaxing music coming through the speakers. Outside my window are the city lights beckoning me, and boats floating on the marina that I so love. I’m going to put on my shoes and tie my hair again and take a walk on the pier to distract me from my doubts… I’m lucky to have come so far and perhaps this phase is due to the human nature of always wanting more than we have… maybe I didn’t lose my heart after all, maybe it’s just waiting for fall in love with a home that soon will be mine.

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