Today, sitting in one of my favourite spots in Puebla, it hit me – I’m in a beautiful part of the world, almost as far away from my home as I could possibly be; eating hibiscus gelato while the winter sun warms my back – I am so lucky. Yes, I’ve been through a lot lately, and it’s been difficult, and I can’t express how many hours (days) I’ve wasted crying and feeling sorry for myself. But here I am, still standing, still breathing, still enjoying the incredible flavours of Mexican food, with tickets booked to one of my Bucket List countries in less than two weeks. I smiled, for the first time in a few days, thinking of how life works in funny and mysterious ways, but with any luck, it is working, and it will all work out in the end.
I watched a tiny little girl cycling around the beautiful fountain in the middle of the park, with her grandfather steering a handle attached to the back of her tricycle. Every now and then, her grandfather let go, and the little girl circled around helplessly until he took the handle and aided her to get back on her path again. Sometimes she would get stuck in a rut in the cobblestone pathway and wouldn’t be able to get out by herself; again her grandfather would come to her rescue, usually without her asking for help. Every time she needed it, she accepted it, and was on her way to happiness again. I suddenly realised why I was so fascinated by this little girl. The situation resonated with me for a reason well beyond what I realised I’d been subconsciously thinking about.
Four years ago today, my siblings and I lost our mother. She was always the person we would each go to when we needed help, especially for emotional guidance. Without her, I didn’t know who to go to, so I didn’t go to anyone. Like the little girl on her tricycle, without help, I went round and round in circles of depression and confusion and anger, and got stuck in many a rut. Even when people offered me the help I desperately needed, I usually refused, and pretended everything was alright. And I’ve regretted that ever since. I still haven’t healed properly, and I still get stuck in ruts every now and then, or let myself fall terribly off my path. But not anymore. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to accept when someone reaches out and offers it. I’ve opened up, I talk, I cry, I don’t bottle it up so much anymore. I’m starting to learn to let people lead me back to the path I should be on, and it feels good.
A beautiful, very dear friend of mine once told me that when we are children, we feel a lot more than most adults do, and we make decisions based on how something feels. As adults, many of us learn to think and ignore our feelings in favour of making decisions based on logic and thoughts. This isn’t always a bad thing, of course; if we always made decisions based purely on feelings, we would be in trouble. However, it may be that we are also getting ourselves into trouble by always making decisions based on a process that involves over-thinking, stressing, worrying and ignoring our instincts or feelings. We need to make decisions based on a healthy balance of both. And I’m learning to; I’m starting to overthink a little bit less, and beginning to worry about the things I really need to, and not about everything there is in the world to worry about. I’m focusing on what I have to be positive about – and there’s a lot. I’m letting people steer me back to a healthy, happy path; and pick me up when I’m in a rut I can’t get out of alone.
When I got on the plane to Mexico, I never would have thought I’d end up eating ice cream in a park, alone. But what I realised today was, there are a lot of lessons to learn from this experience. And I’m surprised and delighted that I learned one of them from a little girl and her grandfather, and a bright pink tricycle.