if i knew then what i know now

Good Evening, Folks!

This week, I’ve been investing most of my time into editing pictures for an upcoming photography exhibit. I can’t tell you how nervous I am. For some reason, I have this vivid image of someone calling me out mid-opening—someone that actually studied photography that might think it’s amusing that I would consider myself one. The thought alone makes me want to vomit. The scenario in my head includes this awkward silence that I can literally hear now. Like right now. Forget something not selling—what if they laugh? I don’t know who they is yet, just go with it.

As I begin to pack up for my NY departure, these are the loose ends that I am tying. I’ve had to focus a great deal on these projects as well as processing the feelings that come with moving away or ending an era as some might say. There are expectations that weren’t met and although I feel at peace with it all, there are still a set of emotions and thoughts that need to be acknowledged, and let go. I know how I have to think, but feelings just show up and you just gotta let them. 

It was in thinking about all the things that I expected (that didn’t happen), that led me to all the things that I didn’t expect (that did).

I recently watched a Tedx Managua talk where the speaker, Gian Marco Palazio, reviewed various steps that one could practice each day to improve momentum (included below). His exercises were simple and manageable tips for improvement so, I’m positive that the audience was as receptive as I was to his message. Though his talk was well done and insightful, only one point struck me with great force, but then again, one great point is enough to make a change, isn’t it?

He asked, “If you had to write down all of the things you had to do to get to where you are today, would you do it again?” My answer is no. If I had been told at the age of 22, when I graduated college, all of the things that I would face from then until now, I might still be in bed resting off that 2006 holiday vacation. Disillusioned and heartbroken in a lonely city? 4 different kinds of corporate hell? 4 months of bed bugs/sterile living? Assaulted and hit on the streets of NY? No. I probably would have read a journal entry of each and I would have opted out and taken a simpler way. The journey, on paper, would have sounded overwhelming and impossible to me. I mean, some people didn’t think I would last a week in the city (someone actually told me that), hearing out the details of this plan, I wouldn’t have believed I could do it.

Had I had a crystal ball or some gypsy to predict the steps required for the last six years of my life, I would have chickened out. It was because I was clueless on the obstacles and starry-eyed to the possibilities that I kept on going—through rain, snow, and hail storms—without thinking. It’s something very me to do. I repeat the quote I used a few weeks ago by Nietzsche, “He who has a why can bear any how,” and that I did. I got through the hows for my why, without quitting.

I would have chickened out because of one very basic point: I didn’t know what I was capable of enduring, let alone becoming. I didn’t know what I was made of, which brings me to the clarity that I don’t understand today what I can be six years from now. I’m guessing neither do you. It’s impossible to tell, but necessary to dream.

We need to reflect on the things that we have done to get where we are. We need to give ourselves credit for the monumental obstacles that we have been able to tackle, for the old ideals we have cracked open, and lastly, we need to be able to pinpoint those sacrifices that were not worth enduring. They serve as lessons and with them, we begin to set standards and narrow down our paths. Through them, our work and sacrifices becomes more precise.

You might read this and think, “Her life couldn’t have been that bad,” and you’re right, it wasn’t that terrible, but on some days it really felt that way. We all know that on those idle weekdays, life can get hard in the simplest of ways. When the day’s distractions wear off and we’re spooning with the worries we were able to closet for a few hours.

I was really anxious today about all this, you know. The exhibit, the writing services—the usual what the hell was I thinking thing going off in my head like a “Call Me Maybe” replay on the radio, but when I listened to this Tedx talk, it woke me up. Whatever is coming, I cannot fathom the mountains that I am capable of climbing. I can only see the thing I want to tackle and go for it. I can only dream and try. That is success and the lack of it is failure.

In the end, I guess there is only one thing to understand, you have no idea what you are capable of, because I guess,…our capacity to achieve something sparks the minute we begin to strive for it. A dream is born. A fire has started.

Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I would have sat my ass down and taken a nap. So you know what? We’re blessed that we don’t know what’s coming. We’re blessed that we get it all in small doses with a Lord of the Rings-ish finale to each era, where we get to open our eyes and finally say, “What the hell was that?”

What are going to talk about 5 years from now? Pick a dream—any dream and start.

From the beautiful city of New York, your brown-eyed girl,

About Antonella Saravia

Antonella is a freelance writer. Graduated from Purdue University, Antonella is based out of New York City and Nicaragua, where she was raised. Follow her via Twitter @tonesaravia & Instagram via @tsaravia.

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