I was a badass cyclist, cycling more than a 150-kilometers and climbing thousands of meters a day, for a week.
I was an internationally recognized photographer for open source communities.
I slept well and like clockwork; down at 8 PM, up at 4 AM, to work by 5.
I was with a beautiful and amazing woman for twenty-years.
Guess what they all have in common? They’re in my past.
Yet, coming to terms with these things being history, has been harder than I ever expected. Heck, dealing with weight gain and living on a tight budget is more tranquil.
The trouble stems from perceiving these things as part of my identity. Without recognizing that as death and taxes are inevitable, change is too.
A couple of weeks ago, I relocated to Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast. It’s lush green, quiet, and has beautiful weather—a nice respite of the past six months of living with other people in big cities.
The move was purposeful because I’ve felt that I’ve been making choices towards others than myself. While conceding to others is an acceptable, even expected, thing to do, we should remain true to ourselves. And, it’s figuring out the true self is where I’ve been struggling.
With the solitude, noticing little things and self-reflection were not such a struggle anymore. Like, my sleep was exhausting. And, with others around, I’d push myself to sleep when they did. Without them, I stay up until 2 AM hiking or working.
I had prided myself on being an early riser and catching the worm kind of person. However, my body is telling me something different, and I’m finally heeding its request and slowly sleeping better.
I’ve also learned that I like cooking and eating one meal a day, lots of animal proteins with some vegetables for color. I’m ashamed of the transition from being someone who prepared twice a day home-cooked meals that balanced proteins, vegetables, and fats. However, I’m still hiking 20% grade trails with sweat, smiles, and energy leftover.
Through these reflections, I feel it was my ego or pride, which caused me to hang onto things that were no longer right for me. In effect, my mind unintentionally blinded me.
Therefore, I’ve decided that humbleness and humility are more than external traits and should become part of my daily mindfulness.
While I’m still shaken by not being who I thought I was. It’s getting acceptably more natural to be my ideal self, without the baggage. Such that, who I am today, welcomes who I’ll be tomorrow.
So… it’s okay that I’m not married, not writing poetry, not cycling, not kite flying, not eating my vegetables, not wanting a girlfriend, not being less fat, not materially rich, and ultimately not thinking so much about things as long as I feel I’m making the right choices for myself in each moment.
And what’s right for me? It’s taking care of myself, having healthy relationships, and being an inspiring leader with smiles and respect.