Setting Me Free

Before I temporarily deactivated my Facebook a few months ago, I was answering all those silly questions that appeared on my profile page. The idea of these random questions was to learn more about the Facebook user. I remember writing, “Netflix binging” as a joke for my New Year’s resolution. It seems the joke’s on me because I find myself in front of the TV a lot lately.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep after watching Me Before You. And I don’t mean soft tears. I was actually sobbing and at times hysterical. I had an outburst of emotion, not really sure where it was coming from (most likely from my lingering PTSD). The movie’s story line does not in any way mirror my life but it somehow touched me deeply, taking me back to all the difficult memories I had at the hospital when my son was there for his cancer treatment. Then I thought of my dad and the last time we spoke before he passed away.

It must have been the subject of death and suffering that made me very emotional. Because those two things have unfortunately often touched my life in the past few years. We practically lived in the hospital for months and were surrounded by children with cancer, some in very terminal stages. I’ve seen kids who were sent home because there was nothing more that their doctors could do for them. We knew kids who passed away and after seeing their young life taken away from them, I couldn’t help but think, what is really one’s purpose on earth?

Last year I made a pact with myself: in order to move on with my life, I need to stop thinking about the past, to stop worrying about the future, and to only focus on the present. But last night, it all brought me back to the past and once again felt all the emotions I have been trying to escape from.

Another movie had me thinking of the future: Arrival (if you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it). In the movie’s ending, I was confronted with the question,”If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?” I pondered on it and honestly I’m not sure what I would do. Although if I have seen the suffering we’ve all been through, would that motivate me to change my life? Would I have married my husband knowing that we would eventually have difficult challenges, give birth to kids whose lives will become familiar with suffering—one from depression and the other from childhood cancer? My husband said he wouldn’t do anything differently. Because according to him life is all about suffering anyway (taken from the principles of Buddhism) and there’s no escaping from it.

The movie, Revolutionary Road, was perhaps the movie (out of the three I’ve seen recently) that made the biggest impact on me. The movie is about yearning for fulfillment and passion in life and seeking to escape from the conventionality of suburbia. Ah, sounds too familiar! As I desperately try to escape from conventional, something in the universe seems to conspire to always bring me back.

You might be wondering what this post’s title got to do with my Netflix binging lately. It’s me, living my life freely by laying in bed all day and binging on thought provoking movies….

Ok LOL that’s a joke!

The truth is I’ve finally woken up and realized I have been very conservative with my approach in life. By living freely is to take more risks, be more courageous, and just be able to say what the fuck! Life is too short to limit myself.

Living free also means standing my ground. On the day of my departure to France last October,, my husband complained all the way to the airport when he found out I was going to be gone longer than he expected. Normally I’d budge and cut my trip shorter. Because that’s just me, always giving in and catering to other people’s needs. But I stood my ground and told him I’m not changing anything.

Living free is doing things that make ME happy and will no longer be subjected to people’s opinions. And more importantly, to not care if I’m being judged by others because they have certain moral biases. My goal is to make myself happy and fulfilled, but only according to my own definition of what “happy” is and not anyone else’s.

When travel is concerned, if you know me well, travel is my love language. I feel most alive when I’m traveling. After taking a solo trip last year, I found myself again, the person who’s been lost for quite sometime now. I recognized what truly sets me free is to escape from the humdrum of my life by traveling and exploring different countries and cultures, thus, I promised myself nothing will stop me now from doing what I love.

Going back to what my husband said, can we really not escape from suffering? Is life really all about that—pain and suffering?

Perhaps….

But today I am setting my life free by living to the fullest. To be in places I’ve dreamed about. To be happy without feeling guilt. To stop worrying about people’s opinions. And to realize that this is my life and I will live it according to my own rules.

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