“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to” are words that I grew up listening to, thanks to the group TLC. I really thought that I understood these words because I learned from it to appreciate the little that I have but I still thought and still do think that waterfalls are worth chasing.
Now I have a new appreciation for the rivers and the lakes that I was used to. Having been living in Japan for the past 10 months, the word world wind is an understatement to describe the journey that I have undertaken. I have literally and figuratively given up all the rivers and lakes that I am used to, to venture out into the great big world on my own.
Though I have pretty much been on my own all my life being home in the place that I know has always given me a level of comfort. I have never had many friends and I am not very close with my family but knowing that they were there, just a few hours drive away, though I have never actively thought about it, was a comfort. I remember few years ago having experienced one of the worst things in my life, I called my mother, crying, I didn’t even have to tell her what was wrong, I just asked her to come. And by the next morning she was there with me, still not knowing what was wrong but just being there simply because I needed someone.
I have always lived a lonely and independent life and I have written about this in past posts. My tag line thoughts of the socially retarded is testament to this. I have a hard time making friends because I don’t trust that anyone will stick around so I don’t even bother with the feelings and sentimentality. I am cordial to most and I am quite kind but I have always been burned when I try to venture into the friendship zone with people. But regardless, I have always had that one or two persons who I can call on when I am most in need, but in the general sense I have lived a lonely life. And this was the very reason I decided to take the plunge and venture out in the world and travel half way around the world.
I was confident in the fact that my lonely life would be perfect preparation for such travels. I wouldn’t have to experience separation anxiety or any of the crazy emotions people experience when they have to say goodbye to their home. I lived alone and I’m not too attached to the material so this would be as easy as baking a cake (from a box). I insisted that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of starting a new relationship because I just didn’t want the baggage of someone else’s feelings when I was on my adventure. I just wanted to look forward to all the wonders that were possible once I got to Japan. And if I wanted to stay for five years, I would because I wouldn’t have anyone to consider but myself. This might sound selfish but I was actually thinking of the other person, I didn’t want to put anyone through a long distance relationship and also I didn’t want to put myself through the stress that comes with not being present in a relationship.
But life has a way of giving you what you want and also what you
don’t want need. Just six months before my departure, I got a work reassignment. At this new work location, i ended up meeting this genuine soul who at the time I didn’t know, would literally be my backbone leading up to my departure and to my survival in Japan.
Japan is unlike anywhere else that I have ever been or any experiences I have had before. Reading and watching videos about life in japan can in no way prepare you for living here. Your overall experience is dependent on several variables, most of which are absolutely out of your control. The plain truth is, Japanese customs, traditions and norms having nothing in common with anywhere else in the world and if you don’t speak Japanese, its like being thrown into an ocean with a block around your neck. How do you survive this?
And that’s how I have felt since being in Japan. I have had some fun times, but mostly I feel like I am drowning. I literally just feel out of place. And now I have learned to appreciate what I had before I came here. I have found a new love for my home, Jamaica with all it flaws. This experience has taught me truly the meaning of there’s no place like home. I have a new appreciation for the people that I have had around me for the years. even though we were not apart of each others day to day lives but knowing that they were there was a great comfort that I wasn’t aware of before coming here. I guess not speaking (face to face) to a single person in weeks does that to you.
I am thankful that even though I didn’t want a relationship before I left for Japan, I got one anyways. This beautiful soul has been there for me more than I can remember anyone else ever being. He has been there through all the tears, all the anger, all the regret, all the doubts and all the happy times. He has reminded me of my strength and helped me to appreciate the areas where things are getting better.
I have learned that life isn’t meant for anyone to be alone. So, go and chase those waterfalls, but don’t forget about your rivers and lakes.