For There Are Yet More Worlds To Conquer...

It's truly amazing how for so long you can feel like you're slogging away at life with no real progress or point. Then, all of a sudden, you find yourself sitting by the harbour, staring out across the waves and watching the boats coming and going, and you realise, this is where it was all leading to.

This is where I was tonight. I felt compelled to be near the water, and as I sat there trying to work out what was on my mind, it came to me that it's now five years since I went to Hungary at the beginning of what would be the most amazing, exciting, gruelling, joyous, heartbreaking and triumphant five years of my almost four decades on this planet. I wonder often what it all means, and I must confess, no matter how much I ponder, it still seems the answer is so often just beyond my reach. At the same time though, I also have this sense of calling, of drive, of knowing that there is something that I must achieve in my life that goes far beyond the limits of what some might call a 'normal' life. I've always been this way; caught halfway between knowing and unknowing, of certainty of purpose and sometimes certainty of abject failure.

Years ago, I ran my own sole trader company called 'bigdream'; providing audio services for bands, theatres and community groups. Sometimes when things were bad, I would look at my roadcase with the 'bigdream' logo glaring at me as though mocking me with the subtext 'delusions of grandeur'. I remember the day I sold the last of my equipment, and as I watched my trailer disappear over the hill behind someone else's car, I knew that dream was really over.

Just a few months later though, I was standing in the citadel on Gellért Hegy gazing over Budapest, the Danube arcing through its centre. This medieval city, shrouded in a freezing mist, lay magically before me; beckoning to me to jump into the story-book and allow myself to dare dream what to that point had merely been the vain hopes of a broken soul. It truly felt at that moment, that the book was open, and all I had to do was make those faltering, uncertain steps into a completely unknown world. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that one day I would find myself pondering, five years later, thinking of Hungary as just a memory. I wondered what I would be doing then. I wondered what stories I would have lived and how I would see myself in the mirror.

It hit me tonight. This was that very moment. Of course, I could list the things I've done and it might even sound impressive to some. Indeed I have many stories. I have stories of how I fought un-winnable battles with intransigent university departments and won. I could tell of how I found true love, the one I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, only to be betrayed and abandoned when I was most in need. I could attempt to capture your heart with an image of a girl, seeing herself in the mirror in what seemed for the first time, as she had a stunning realisation of self that brought tears to her eyes and convinced her finally that it was possible, after all this, to actually love yourself. I could tell you about how I cried the day I handed in my thesis; tears of bittersweet joy and sadness; mingling together in a swirl of rushing emotions. I could tell you about the dark night of the soul, just weeks before my final exam when the strain was so unbearable that I tried to end my life, only to be saved by my best friend who just knew something was wrong and came to check on me; only to find me bleeding and unconscious slumped at my desk. I could, and perhaps should tell you though, of the amazing peace and exhilaration that captured my soul when at the end of my oral defence, the chairman said 'Congratulations Doctor'.

It's amazing to think that ten years ago, I had completely given up on my life and planned what would be my last act of will; an act that would have brought an ignominious end to what had been a promising, and yet had become, a shattered life. Something inside of me refused to let go though, and through either providence, good fortune or sheer luck, I came across a man who inspired me with his kindness, his generosity, his wisdom and his matter-of-factness. It was he who challenged me to begin my first five year plan of trying to reset my foundations and start to build something, even if I had no idea what it was that would eventually progress from a sub-terranian cavern to an ever ascending endeavour of passion and persistence. Little did I know back then, that the reconstituted architecture of my soul would reflect the spires, and arches of the Fisherman's Bastion, that my courage would stand like the guns of the castle at Diósgyőr, that my mind would expand like the vaulted atrium of Debrecen University, that my heart would find peace when I became absorbed in the thousands year old Chinese legend of Xu'Xian and Lady White snake as I floated on the West Lake in Hangzhou gazing at 'The Broken Bridge'; that my spirit would soar like the Turul; projecting strength, nobility and new life, and how a photo of a single white flowering lotus would come to represent everything that I believed in, that I hoped for and that against all the odds, I would eventually become.

And so now my tale is told. I did it. I achieved more than I could possibly dare to dream and I lost more than I could possibly afford. At the end of this five year journey, I find myself returning to where the soil meets the sea; pondering what might be the next 'bigdream', the next impossible goal, the next intolerable heartache, the next trepidatious steps into another new world.

'They' say that every generation thinks it will be the last. I have to say that as I began the last page of every chapter that it would be the finale. Here I still am though; fighting for something I can't grasp, but something of which I have an unwavering certainty. My five year plan is completed. The world turns. I move on. To where, I don't know. All I do know is that this surely couldn't be where the story ends.

(Dedicated to my dear eccentric yet always insightful Granny, my brilliant, ever-concerned about my next step and yet ever-loving Mum, my quiet yet razor-sharp-witted Dad and my beautiful, courageous, accepting sister. I am a little bit of all of you)
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26-30
1 Response Jan 14, 2013

What a beautifully written introspection - something I have not stopped to do for a very long time. Primarily due to time constraints - work, school, marriage, etc. But also due to the end of my depression. When I was younger and lived with my family, I found myself locked inside and tethered by fear of my sexuality and our daily poverty; adulthood brought about responsibilities and escape. It brought me to life - fear and depression were replaced and displaced by a need to survive and make IT in the world.

Depression makes me introspective and thoughtful, but up to now time has been scarce for pondering and reflecting. I have been - simply - living. I'm 25 and the sense of purpose and drive were also always present within my life. To accomplish something far greater. And I am consoled by the fact I am no longer hungry, that I'm no longer suicidal, that I have found a partner and a love beyond what I ever thought possible, and that I'm about to start a career I have always dreamed of.

But I'm from the spiritual belief that God is that emptiness you feel inside. Emptiness, however, must be substituted by "creative force" in the right people. That spark is endless as God is endless. It is always present and it shall never be filled as the worlds to be conquered are infinite. So continue on searching and creating. It is the only thing we can do while on this globe.