This past month has been so much fun because I was traveling for the whole entire month with one of my closest friends. I am not quite done blogging about our trip (a post about traveling days and a travel summary are coming this week) but today is a special day because it is the 17th of April which marks nine months being away from home.
This past month has been a lot of firsts for me:
– My first time traveling with a friend for an extended period of time and actually traveling (not vacationing).
– My first time in Greece (a new favorite).
– The first time dealing with a crises with a friend in a foreign country (a first I wish I didn’t have).
– Along with many other little firsts that come along with traveling 🙂
The one thing that has struck me this past month is change. I know in my heart of hearts that this year away is doing wonders for me. I know I am changing, I am growing into the person I want to be. I am not succesiding in every area but I am working on it! The hard part about changing while living abroad is that it is hard to tell when you have really changed because you are surrounded by new things: your new friends don’t really see the change because they never really saw you before and your friends from home can’t really tell because they aren’t spending as much time with you as they would if you were home. But, this past month I was spending a ton (i.e. all of my time!) with a friend from home and all of the changes I have been working on actually became apparent.
I have always been a bit of a high-struck person: I stress out easily; I like to be in control of everything; I like everything to go my way; I generally just freak out about everything (big + small). This is one of the biggest elements of myself that I have been trying to work on for the past year. I wanted to learn to let go of all the little things in life, the things that don’t matter, the things that stress me out but don’t really need to stress me out. But let me tell you, it is hard, especially when you have been that way for 24 years. Certainly some of the daily stresses of living life at home are gone: I am not in a steady job, I am not going to school, etc. But there have been new stresses too: Paying rent, worrying about getting enough work, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am not really change who I am but rather improve myself.
Less than a week into our trip, Ashley really realized that I am changing! She couldn’t believe how less stressed out I was about things and that I was learning to not let things that were not within my control go. Case in point: When we got kicked off the train in Italy, normally I would have freaked out but I didn’t because I knew there was nothing we could have to do. We might miss our next train, we might have to stay at a different hostel, things might go wrong but we couldn’t do anything about those future things because we had little control over them. We just had to take things as they came and deal with them accordingly. The old Allie would have freaked out the second we got kicked off, stressing about everything that would be ruined by that one incident. Sobasically traveling with my friend helped me realize and helped reinforce that the work I am doing is actually paying off and I am so thankful for that! I am becoming less stressed out, I am learning to believe that I can keep calm and carry on at least in most cases 🙂
Of course I know that not all of these changes will permanently stick and that returning home will probably allow me to slump back into some of my old personality habits but I also believe that I am working really hard at becoming more calm and that hopefully I will find a comfortable balance between the old me and the new me.
So my new mantra is: keep calm + carry on because there are way too many things to enjoy in life and that stressing out over the little things is not healthy!