You break it, you buy it. Those were the exact thoughts that came to me today as I was about to begin an evening run.
You see, I always run with music, always. There are those occasional times when I run sans music, when I run with just the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, the sound of my heart thumping through my chest. However, those moments are far and few between and “Andrea’s Half Marathon Playlist” always usually wins.
Not today. Upon jumping out of my car, too excited that I was going to be able to run in weather that was less than 100 degrees outside (throwback to my runs in Bangkok), I dropped my ipod. Facedown, apple sign up, it was screen to pavement. Boom. After nearly five years of keeping this Ipod in nearly perfect condition, the time had come when perfect condition would be no more. My first thought, without hesitation, was utter annoyance, that I couldn’t keep it together enough to simply HOLD ON to my ipod. Butter fingers at its finest. My second thought was how I would just buy a new one, how I would and could go to the store later this week and pick up another one.
I had to stop myself in my tracks (literally, as I had just begun my run), had to STOP my way of thinking. We live in a world that is SO quick to discard and replace, to rush off to the store and pick up whatever we need, all at the tip top of our fingertips. There is no waiting, there is no saving up, there is simply a need, and us doing everything as quickly as possible to fill that need. We hardly think twice about such purchases, throwing things out the minute they no longer serve their purpose to us. There are so many places around the world where every item is treasured, every valuable held tightly, because the minute that it is broken, it will be a long time coming before it is replaced.
Although with the addition of a slightly bruised screen, music was still able to be played on it. However, I turned it off and ran without noise or distraction, letting myself wander in my thoughts, letting my feet move as my thoughts drifted….drifted drifted drifted, into what my next plan was, into what I was supposed to make of my life now, now that my grand adventure of having traveled the last nearly 9 months was over.
Traveling is amazing, it is exhilarating and opens your eyes to the great beyond, to everything there is in the world, to everything that is meant to be seen, touched, embraced. It shakes up your world so much that you nearly shed the skin of your former self. But what happens when you come “back to reality”? What happens when you jump right back into the life you once had, the life you once lived? One minute you’re pushing sick patients in wheelchairs at a Buddhist monastery, washing yourself using buckets at a house in a village 2 hours from the nearest town, eating rice for breakfast lunch and dinner without blinking an eye, and the next minute, you’re running to the nearest Best Buy to buy yourself a brand new Ipod. It’s crazy how quickly you can jump from one life to the next, how quickly you can switch roles and personalities to match those of your surroundings, how you can forget about the person you were just a few days ago, the person that was wearing the same outfit for days in a row, not giving a second thought as to how you might look in photos and if anyone would notice. But what if those roles, those personalities, no longer felt like they belonged to you, almost as if you were talking about a stranger, about someone that once was.
It’s a strange sensation, an uncomfortable feeling, that seems to define the phrase “being in limbo”. You are straddled between two worlds, trying to keep both of those worlds spinning, without letting one stop, all the while not being sure which world you exactly belong in, or in which one you want to remain.
I let it get to me today. The stupid, careless crack in my ipod caused my head to spin, my thoughts to drift, into where my life was now, where my life was going. I became instantly stressed out and anxious, evaluating every decision I had made and was going to make for myself in the next few months. What kind of job would I find? Would it be a job I liked? Where do I want to live? Do I want to keep my apartment or explore new options? Do I want to keep traveling or do I want to find something more stable?
It almost as if the crack represented something in my life. Now, you can call that far fetched, yes, but in that moment (and if i care to admit it, even slightly now), I felt as though that symbolized something, something that I hadn’t quite put my finger on until that moment. Almost as if I myself was cracking, as if I had hit a breaking point, as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders and that if I made the wrong decision now, the course of the rest of my life would be absolutely ruined (okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but like I said, my thoughts were running…literally).
My feet carried on, my run continued, and then, just for a moment, I stopped to take it all in. To remind myself that music or not, traveling or not, I would be ok. Life would be ok and that in due time, everything would be figured out.
That’s when I realized there were birds chirping all around me, a small creek flowing next to me. The true music of life was surrounding me, engulfing me, and what it took was a crack in my Ipod to take off my headphones, to turn off the music, and listen.