Learning by doing


There is a thought that keeps coming back into my life over the years: not knowing what to do, which way to go, who am I becoming into, how am I going to end up in that place where I want to be, wherever that is… The feeling that comes together with all those questions can shape as distress, fear, worry. I might feel lost or without a course, like if my steps had no direction whatsoever…

Even when I have memories of myself feeling like this while being a child, the sensation became stronger during my time at university, when I was supposed to know what was I going to do for a living, where and how would I find a job, in which project of responsible and self-sufficient adult was I getting into.

However, there were other times when I felt like flowing in a very natural & pleasant manner. Time was flying away from me, a smile was installed within my soul, satisfaction was so much part of me that there was only that moment together with its excitement. When that moment was gone, I could only hold the hope of coming back to something similar in a near future. I used to think how wonderful would it be to feel always like that, living in that lively state of joy, wellbeing & bliss.

What I learnt on the way about how to build up myself and my future was not too useful to me at all. Attractive & sought-after concepts such as security, stability, respect or autonomy seemed to be holding hands with others like boredom, apathy or lack of freedom. Was that the future? Was that the aim I was walking towards to? Was I supposed to get to a place where history was repeating itself constantly, exactly the same apart from a few alterations, a place where everyone was looking forward to be? That was my path too? Deep in my heart I just wanted to be here & there, travelling, meeting new people, speaking languages, learning from everything & everyone, enjoying, living.

No question about it: we made the path as we walk. Walking is living, and by walking I learn that every step I take has a meaning, each decision I make, whether it goes in one or the opposite direction, is building up my route. Sometimes, by walking, I realise that the pace I am holding, the lane I am choosing or the destination I’ve planned don’t seem so attractive to me anymore. Then I have to change the original plan as I go, deciding new options for my journey. I can call it an error, a mistake, a failure. I can also call it a learning, because, how could I possibly know that this route was not the one for me right now without seeing it with my very own eyes first? I had to walk pass that way. I had to feel that path and inspect it by myself, going through that experience by my own way of feeling and carrying my luggage, so I could recognise myself as part of it or not. Who could do that for me other than myself?

Living it is not the same than hearing or reading about it. Going through the experience myself is quite different to seeing it on a screen or imagining how could it be. Self experience is the real thing.

It must be great and even easier to have clear plan & destination, sticking to them and achieving every stage, foreseeing the potential difficulties & being alert when they step on the way in order to act efficiently. It must be truly wonderful, without a doubt.

However, I never managed to do it that way. I can choose a road and be absolutely sure about it and then, be completely confident about change direction too. I maybe thought that X was just where I wanted to be and when getting there, I realised X was not the place for me. And how important it is for me to be at my place! Feeling out of it, part of something that I don’t belong to, makes me feel such an intense distress & sadness that they can only change to become bigger & bigger, evolving into heavy tides of dissatisfaction. Others might tell me how nice it is in there, how they can access to everything they need, how happy they are. Well, obviously they found their place and I still have to keep searching.

There are times when, without being too conscious about it, I look back and realise that all those previous steps, stops & turns where needed for me to be where I am right now. Then I see my reality as a puzzle whose pieces get together perfectly all of a sudden. Sometimes I feel lost and some (or many) of the things around me feel ridiculous. Then I try not to stay too long within that thought and instead I move into action. Even if it is a small one, it always translates into creation & movement that drags me way from the maze which seemed to have no exit at first.

I don’t know where I am going to or I only know it sometimes. I am not too sure of who am I, even when there are times where I truly feel that I am and, in fact, that is all I need to know. I know that I am alive, that I breathe, that I am here to learn and to give. I will discover the answers to how, when & where as I go. Stroke by stroke, step by step.



"Wanderer, your treads are
the path and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no path,
the path is made when walking.

When walking the path is made
and when looking back behind
you see the path that never
has to be walked again.

Wanderer, there is no path,
only wakes upon the sea..."

(From the poem XXIX, Proverbs and songs, Antonio Machado)

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