“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.” ~Danielle Orner
Over a year ago, I boarded a plane and found myself on the beautiful beaches of southeast Asia. My dream was to travel the world, indefinitely, while working independently and living out of a suitcase. I had worked hard in my life to come to this place, and there couldn’t have been a moment that was more positive for me.
However, as I enjoyed sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, I started to feel weary. It’s hard to describe really, but I slowly started to slip into a deep apathy and restlessness. Everything was perfect, or at least it should have been, and yet I was becoming unsatisfied.
In a day I would travel to unknown waterfalls, go hiking, and explore mysterious secret beaches, but I was stagnating on the inside and I couldn’t understand why.
In time, I realized the problem: Before, when I had fought so hard to get to this place, that had been my purpose, and now that I was here in this beautiful paradise I felt purposeless. I had nothing to push for, only something to enjoy, and that wasn’t something I knew how to do.
To combat the monotony I tried to change things up. One trip found me driving through an Indonesian island weaving in and out of mountain passes with my girlfriend, who I’d met there, on a scooter. It was a complete rush, and I should have been lost in the moment, yet I felt nothing.
During that day I remember her being completely full of passion. She was exuberant and full of energy. We arrived at the extravagant water temple in the middle of a lake. I was calm and distracted trying to find how things could feel right for me, trying to understand how I could find that purpose again.
Times before, when I had been deeply challenged, taught me that to overcome such obstacles I just needed to put forth more effort and try harder. Staying true to that pattern, even with all signs telling me not to, I made the decision to drive us back through the mountain pass with the ever dark grey skies clearly delineated.
Sure enough it started raining lightly on the way back as I drove the scooter through the cliffs. Staying on the same course, I kept driving and pushing forward no matter the obstacles telling me clearly to stop and regain balance. Even the sweet girl’s cough in the rain couldn’t get me to pause for a moment.
I was a jerk. Arriving back at my home, I knew something was out…