October 30th, it was nine years (9, that’s almost 10, right?) Nine years since I left the cold Dutch winters behind. And I promise you, I haven’t missed them since. Spring was my favorite time of the year, autumn the second best. Summer I always loved and the winters were a struggle between life and love and total disgust. The seasonal changes were always beautiful. To see the cycle of life come to terms in autumn, everything and everybody would bow their heads and bend under the colder weather till nature would sing its songs again. In springtime, suddenly a whole country sprouts out of their front doors and life opened like a flower in bloom. And it would continue, even disrupted by the yearly storms, that would suck every blow of wind away till the birds dropped dead from the sky in the summer heat.
That exactly was the reason I could never truly love the Netherlands. As a kid, it was heaven, I loved the cold and the darkness of the clouds between the yellow leaves but as I grew up, my veins needed warmth and I just couldn’t take it any more. It took a trip (in my early twenties) to Spain, (a 6 month stay, more on that in another blog) where I finally realized what the missing ingredient was in my decaying love for the Low Countries.
It took another decade before I dared, but leaving the Netherlands was the best I could do. (There are tons of reasons, but I won’t explain that now. Yes, another blog…) When I stepped out of the plane, that had landed on the island where I was born, I knew it was all or nothing. My stay could’ve been a goodbye before I left to adventure into some South American rain forest to disappear and to never been found again. Or, it would be my last big fat try at “adult” life and I’d become the man I thought that I was expected to be. Well, that was a deception… but not completely!
My life had been a struggle with very high highs and the absolute deepest of lows (one day, I promise!) What did I accomplish? How many times did I fail? Did I manage to make people happy? Did I create the impact I hoped for? In 2012 (May 19th, the date that will come back in many blogs) I thought everything was lost. That my life was over even if I didn’t die (Yes. I’ll blog about it. One day, some day.) I wished I could’ve given up.
Life changed, paralyzed I re-valued every memory. I evaluated every dark corner in my soul and found light every where I looked. I had made mistakes. I had lost people and trust that had mattered deeply to me. When I came to Curacao nine years ago life had never looked so dark and grim, but I had managed to turn it around. Not knowing the hardest was yet to come.
Nine years ago I wanted to become a guide and spent more time in nature, so I did and became a dive instructor by accident in the adjacent years. I worked with teenagers at the library as a youth station coordinator and we created a wave of awesomeness and energy. I fell in love, and lost her (twice). I found the job of my dreams and saw it disappear in to memories. I learned what true friendship really meant, and most of all, how to receive it.
I have felt lost (as I was warned when I left Holland) but I mostly, I felt found. Just as I lost it all.
I’ve seen many things, had more adventures than I could ever blog about, but I never felt the value of the accomplishment. Never the full satisfaction of being complete with what I did. There was always this dark void that held me back, pulled me down and messed with my head, cluttered my heart. Yet the past nine years have meant it all, for they have brought me… me. I found ME in all this mess. I stood up, literally, stood up. Fighting for life, I found the purpose I so desperately craved for. I found love, strength, will, hope, beauty, respect, power, determination! All in what should have been fear and despair. It would be easy to see these last 3 years as the “dark ages” but the opposite is true.
I have found this light burning deep in me, and I need to finally let it shine.
Let me learn, let me teach, let me give, let me share. I live for two and I live for something more…
Thank you my island! Never was I more sure, I’m here to serve you!