As I write this, I’m sitting on a train that’s rolling through upstate New York, about three hours into the eleven-hour journey from New York City to Montreal. It’s is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time; to go to Montreal and to go by train. And even though I’m checking something off an ever-growing bucket list, it would be easy for me to say that right now I’m supposed to be in Paris on a spring break trip with classmates. It was a trip I had been looking forward to since I started graduate school, since before I knew what the destination would even be. But due to some unfortunate circumstances, I had to back out of the trip. I was devastated. And it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. In high school I was supposed to go to Germany as part of an exchange program, but for complicated reasons the trip was cancelled for everyone. I always wanted to study abroad, too. One of the first things I did when I started undergraduate school was visit the office for international study on campus. But that didn’t happen either, thanks to some ill-advised life choices. The Paris trip was supposed to make up for missing out on those experiences.
A few weeks after having to back out of the Paris trip, we instead booked a four-night stay in Montreal at a boutique hotel in the heart of the Old City. We also booked round trip tickets on Amtrak’s Adirondack line, one of the world’s most scenic train journeys (so I had heard). And as I sit here on the train, watching the wintery north country pass by my window, I choose not to dwell on where I was supposed to be instead.
It’s easy to feel in life that things are or aren’t supposed to happen to us. I married young and when, at 26, my then-husband insisted that we separate (and soon decided to divorce), I was fixated on the idea that it wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to us. Not to me. I spent months in a deep depression, reeling over the loss of a future I thought was so certain. Marriage, after all, is supposed to be ‘till death do us part’. And no one was dying, even though at times it felt that way.
One day, I decided that I had to face what was happening in my life and accept it. It might not have been what I wanted to happen, but it was happening. It was my life to live and to embrace, for better or worse. So, I gradually learned to accept the new reality of my life. That’s not to say I didn’t have a lot of healing left to do, but I was able to truly begin that process. In the year and a half that followed, I turned my entire life around. I moved to New York City and started graduate school (graduation is now 2 months away!). And I met the love of my life.
This all brings me to why I decided to start this blog. In a couple of weeks, I will be 30 years old. In the last four years, everything about my life has changed, and even though I am happier than I have ever been, it’s sometimes hard not to think about the past, to worry about the future, and to fixate on what was or wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s only human. But nothing in life is supposed to happen. Nothing is guaranteed to us. The past and the future are important, but the present moment is where we all exist. I want this blog to be a place where I can reflect meaningfully on the past and look to the future with resolve. Most importantly, however, I want to live in the present. To Be Here Now. Because now, I think I’m finally right where I’m supposed to be.