Dear Younger Self,
I am writing from the future.
I want to thank you for all that you have done, all the places you have been, all the things that you decided to explore while it made no sense to anyone else, all the people you loved the best you could, including yourself.
Even if it meant that you needed to destroy yourself completely during the process, and rebuild the new you, piece by piece. I can assure you that you can do this.
I would be nowhere near where I am now, if you didn’t.
I love you.
Trust your heart, as it is wild and untamed.
Live a life according to your own values, you won’t regret it.
Have faith in the good in humanity.
There is magic everywhere in the world.
There is so much more ahead of you for you to discover.
Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep loving.
I’ll be here waiting for you.
Remember, I love you.
From the future, with Love.
– Ruoxiang Chau, Letter to a younger self.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– Mary Oliver
I have been keeping that « uniform » of mine for 10 years. You know the MSF T-shirt, the kaki pants and the Dr. Martens… I would move across continents and take them with me, even if my job didn’t require them. That was some clutter that I couldn’t let go. They represented my 生き甲斐 ikigai: my purpose for living, my reason for being and why I would get up in the morning. I was telling myself: « No matter how hard, how obscure this path gets, just keep exploring. Don’t give up. Keep searching and trying. Till it finds you. »
Your ikigai might change over time, and it’s okay. One day, all your detours, your moments of immense solitude, your soul searching will make sense. Let life unfold for you, one step, one day at a time. 加油！
Photo: courtesy of Jungsil Song.
MSF logistics team in Aweil, South Sudan 🇸🇸.
There was nothing wrong about you. You didn’t attract the wrong guys.
You lived the love stories that you needed to live, to learn to love yourself more. You learnt that there was more waiting for you, even if you didn’t believe so at the time. You learnt that you didn’t have to settle for less than you deserve.
We don’t leave people because we don’t love them anymore.
We leave them because staying together becomes too painful. We realise that we have outgrown the relationship. In the end, we simply learn to love ourselves more.
Life will give you many opportunities to love and love even more. Simply, because you can.
– Ruoxiang Chau
Analects, to A.
Reviewed with the loving eyes of Gabby Gabriel.
“You deserve a life full of love, happiness and magic. But to get there, you need to believe in it too. Believe in yourself and believe that there is good in the world. And when you finally do, it will come to you. And you will realise that it’s been there all along. You’ve just decided to open your eyes to see it for what it was.”
Some days are made for climbing trees. My friend RJ says that Oki Alexander trains now, so he can climb trees with his grandkids. I love this spirit.
May you keep your heart light and let your inner child fill your life with these little wonders.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
— Anthony Bourdain