My dear friend is moving from Buenos Aires to Granada, in the south of Spain, in a couple of months.
We’ve had a loose plan for me to join him in Europe at the end of this summer, both of our paths finally aligning and perhaps allowing us to be in the same general area once again. Our memories of living in a hostel in London not that far behind, but both of us changed in enough ways that we can look forward to learning each other again.
Tonight, we talk about his plan, mostly set out already, since he is moving for school. We talk about my plan, loose and free.
“I’m not used to planning my future the way you do. I’m trying to get better though,” I tell him.
I’ve spent the past year training to be a life coach, you see. My course is done at the end of July, and while I’m overwhelmed with excitement by the thought that I have set a goal, saved my money, worked my ass off and saw this through, I’m not sure about the ending.
My trouble is that I am not as good at predicting the future as I would like.
I can’t figure out what it’s all going to look like when I’m done. I want to begin coaching right away, but for all the things I’ve learned from my course, there are a few that don’t align with me, that don’t exactly fit with what I am trying to do. So I am going to change things up. I am going to take all the good that I’ve learned, mix it with my own life experiences and knowledge and offer something that only I can offer.
It’s beyond exciting, but as for what that will look like for me, well, I have to sit still with that.
I mention this to my friend. I tell him that yes, we will have adventures in Europe once again, but that first I need to nail down my plan, make it something more solid. I need to have some sort of idea of what my coaching will look like, how to run my workshops, how to maintain my writing through this new business.
“You’re ruining everything. Just in new ways.” he tells me.
This catches me off guard.
Spanish is his first language. What he has said is likely an incorrect translation.
I am not ruining my life. I’m just changing my plans. Re-working some things.
“I’m not ruining anything,” I tell him. “In English, we wouldn’t say it like that. It’s too negative. What I’m talking about is when you make a healthy, positive choice, but it’s just different than what you originally thought you were going to do.”
“Nope. In Spanish, we say ‘cagarla’, which means to shit on everything. And it’s your fault.”
I’m annoyed. Nothing is my fault here, nothing is wrong.
I send him some passive aggressive lol’s and let him know that I don’t know what he’s talking about but he is definitely using the wrong term.
“Nope.” He assures me. “You’re fucking things up.”
My therapist has been telling me that I need to pay attention to the physical sensations in my body when I am feeling any sort of way. I try to tune in. It feels ugly.
I look up the exact definition of the word ‘ruin’. Maybe if I get the definition correct, then I can explain to him why he is wrong.
The first definition that pops up is this: a falling down.
The second definition: a physical, moral or social collapse.
Something in the word collapse gets to me.
Is what I am doing collapsing? Am I actually breaking down what I thought I knew?
I think about it for all of two seconds and I understand what my friend means.
Some days it feels like my old life is crashing to the ground. On purpose, with intention. With glee and joy, I watch as I change my mind. As I make decisions and choices that transport me from one way of living to a new way. As I learn to trust myself and my next steps.
I’m already at such a vantage point that I can look back and see how my choices led me to where I am now. The things I let go of. The patterns and stories I told myself, things that were true for a time, but that aren’t anymore.
One definition of the word collapse is to give way, and that is the most true thing to describe what I’ve been doing this past year.
The last definition of the word ruin gets to me.
The remains of something destroyed.
I think about what has been lost over this past year. The people I have had to leave behind because I set boundaries for myself and not everyone was able to adapt. The relationships that have faded away. The friendships with people who were once a part of my every day. The way of living I thought I had to follow long after I no longer needed to ‘just get through’.
I think about relationships that have burned to the ground, me leading the charge, refusing to live another day in the same manner.
I think about the way I can’t go back from this point. And how lucky I am because of that. How I’ve come too far and if I tried to go backwards, I wouldn’t even be able to find my way. Back to old people and wounds that stayed open for years. Back to that soul crushing belief that I am just not good enough…for a person, for happiness, for things that I want. For things that I deserve and for basic kindness.
My old life is laying in ruins, collapsed, fallen away.
And the beautiful trick of it all is that I’ve worked hard on that. Some days it’s easy to say no to old habits. Some days I feel like a giant stomping on the miniature village that is my past. Some days I need to write letters to my child self from my adult self letting her know it’s safe here and that things are different. Some days I just wake up and trust that it is.
“You are ruining your life, but in new ways.”
His words struck a nerve. I didn’t want to feel responsible for one more thing, but I can’t help but look at where I am now and to WANT to be responsible for all that I have now. That’s the difference.
Ruined, collapsed, fallen away, re-built.
Solid ground this time.