There are few decades in life that allow you the time freedom, the exploration, and dream chasing that the twenties allow each and every one of us…if we’re lucky enough to reach them.
The painful start to this decade and all the tears I shed at just age 20 and 3 months later turned out to be water for the seeds I would sow and the harvest I began to reap the following year. At the time, I just couldn’t see past the pain of losing a friend who would never get to experience the joys and the struggles of this decade. The journey ended for her with a screeching halt and the teens were the last epoch she ever experienced.
And then several years later on, I would discover that with those same tears that had spilled down my cheeks time and time again, I had created a flourishing flower bed of friendships. And its grounds would stretch across the world, breaking both physical and linguistic barriers, and uniting me with so many beautiful souls.
As I look back to the beginning of this decade, I rejoice in the fact that I didn’t let what could have turned into crippling grief mar what would be the most definitive and formative time of my life.
A decade that was mine.
Full of adventures, scars, dirty hands and feet, amazing food, deep conversations, last minute plans, long, sleepless nights, overnight flights and buses in countries I wasn’t all too familiar with and thousands upon thousands of hours of listening, speaking, reading and writing a language I’ve been in love with for a good portion of my life. (Español)
And then towards the end of it, when I least expected it and with someone I was almost too blind to see along the way, love was waiting for me.
I had always hoped (and prayed) that, against society’s and my family’s norms, that I would meet someone who was completely out of my social circles. Someone who didn’t go to the same high school or college as me. Someone who didn’t work in the same field and didn’t quite speak the same language as me.
I thought I wanted (and planned as much as humanly possible) to have found my mate and be married by 25, I thought I would be ready emotionally, physically and spiritually speaking by then.
You know what? I wasn’t even close.
I hadn’t even been on an official date at that age yet! How on earth was I supposed to be ready to marry someone if I had virtually no experience as to how to be a good mate let alone find one?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. A lesson I’ve learned in these past 10 years….
Everything and everyone comes into your life at just the appropriate time. And as painful as it is in the moment, they also leave it at the appropriate time.
If you were supposed to meet the person you will marry in a sandbox in kindergarten and spend the rest of your lives growing up alongside each other, you will.
That’s your destiny.
But if you’re supposed to meet them later on in life, after high school, college and first jobs, and even in another country and time zone, you will.
Even if a million other things could’ve gone wrong or you could’ve been delayed in running into them by just a minute or two, fate will pull some strings and still allow you two to meet.
The best lesson I’ve ever learned this decade was this: you can’t screw up the right thing.
And believe me, I almost did in the last year but thankfully I came to my senses and stopped denying what I was feeling in my heart.
Looking back on the last 9 years, over 12 moves and 5 opportunities to redefine myself, I can only feel a deep sense of gratitude for this decade that God preserved mostly for me. For my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth, for cultivating my passions and dreams and becoming who I am as a child of God. A beloved daughter whom He has spared, rescued and loved through times of utter despair and also in times of pure joy.
I had no clue that I would be looking back at this decade in another country, with a different relationship status and with the knowledge of 3 more languages in addition to my native one.
Not every year of this past decade has been the best, but if I squeeze all the good out of all those years combined, they would warm my entire house for all winter and then some. The worst moments of this decade will be buried deep below the sand and washed away like waves crashing against the shore.
The best moments will always be at the forefront of my mind and heart, reminding me to not quit on myself or the dreams that are still to be fulfilled.
And last, but not least, it will be time to say goodbye to the one thing that holds the majority of my stories, hopes, dreams, trials, challenges and moments of utter bliss: my passport. With it, I saw and experienced 14 new countries in past 10 years. If it could talk, it would share the nitty-gritty of all the places we’ve been to.
I will always miss the person I was and became to be during this decade but I will always be grateful to her for taking so many leaps of faith and trusting that things would work out for the best, no matter what.
And, as I cross into a new, undiscovered decade, I will need her company. Her passport, her lessons, her memories. My memories and all the support I’ve had during this time to help carry me forward into an undefined period of my life.
Where I will experience many more changes and hopefully share a life and create a family of my own with the amor de mi vida. Mi media naranja.
And you know what? My wish did come true one very magical night on November 4th, 2018…