After a few days in New York we boarded a bus from Penn station and took a 4-hour journey to Washington DC. I used to live there in the early 00s and i hadn’t been back since so i was slightly apprehensive-slash-excited to return to my ‘old haunts’. Back in 2002/3/4 life in DC had been a really fun for me: i had a great group of friends (shout out to Gyongyver, Liz, Julia, Karmen, Tess), i worked as an au pair for a great family and basically, lived a life of very little worry.
Moving to the USA had been a dream of mine since i was 15 or maybe even earlier and it crystalized at the age of 15… well, anyway – right before graduating from 9th grade at the age of 15 i had decided which high school i would go to, which university course i would attend and that after i’d finished building a responsible veil of fall-back options i would leave for the USA. That was just who i was – sensible and mature to the core.
That’s exactly what happened, in that order. I remember sitting at a bar in Times Square in 2002, freshly out of university and just off the boat so to speak, sipping my well deserved Cosmopolitan cocktail (what else? It was the era of SATC!) and a thought came to me. Now what? I had channeled all my energy into achieving my dream of just getting here and having realized it, i was left slightly emptier and, quite frankly, sad. I finished my cocktail, probably had another one and then spent the next 3 years just enjoying myself. I met awesome people and had some great times and some not so great times but i wouldn’t swap my experiences for anything.
Looking back it’s so plain to see that when we’re younger we can know so clearly what we want. We’ll defy all logic in order to dream freely and end up achieving our dreams. Adulthood brings with it this ever-praised ‘reason’ which basically is a huge piss on one’s parade in most cases. Was it logical for a girl from a small soviet country to dream of going to America? Was it reasonable for her to even consider the possibility to live her life in English and have adventures away from the remnants of the decades-long restrictive commie regime? Of course not. But i did it anyway.
Most limitations we feel about our ability we created ourselves. It’s interesting for me now as a psychotherapist to challenge some old worn-out beliefs of my clients. Almost always they don’t even realize where these limitations came from but they carried on believing them regardless. It could’ve been a parent or an older sibling, an aunt or an uncle who said something to them once and they internalized it, made it their own and it became part of their life story. Challenging rigid limiting beliefs is the only way to change the outcome of our life. Going back to our childhood dreams and ideas can be very helpful to establish who we are and what we really like, not what we ‘should’ like or what we’re coached to like. Our history really does shape (or distort) or reality today.
I am grateful to the young me to have stuck with her dream. I say thank you to her – you changed my life. I changed my life.