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Learnings from “Turtles All The Way Down”

No, I don't have the answers just yet, but yes, I'm OK with that.

Stairs and Light

“Turtles All The Way Down” is the latest book from John Green, the author responsible for the successful book and movie hit, “The Fault In Our Starts”. 

John Green’s genre is fiction for the young adults but nonetheless I was a big fan. In fact I finished reading the entire book in four hours. 

There was chapter in the book where the lead protagonist clearly explained something about her mental health problem and how it felt to be in the dark. She went on detailing on why she was she was having anxiety attacks but was not afraid of getting lost in a dark sewage tunnel underground a bustling city holding only a flashlight. 

“Imagine you’re trying to find someone, or even you’re trying to find yourself, but you have no senses, no way to know where the walls are which way is forward or backward, what is water and what is air. You’re senseless and shapeless—you feel like you can only describe what you are by identifying what you’re not, and you’re floating around in a body with no control. You don’t get to decide who you like or where you live or when you eat or what you fear. You’re just stuck in there, totally alone, in this darkness. That’s scary.”
John Green, Turtles All the Way Down


I went back to where that quote was in the book. I kept reading it over and over. Until it came to me.  It was that moment where I can totally define how I feel. 

I chose to get out of an unhappy marriage and yet here I am. I chose to move on to another company and got a higher pay plus a number of recognitions and yet here I am. I moved to another country for six years where they say the grass is greener and yet here I am. I chose to do some traveling to cross off items from my bucket-list and yet here I am. I chose to do some travel writing and ran my own travel blog and yet here I am. 

Along the way I made new friends, had a boyfriend, traveled to places where I got to eat freshly baked authentic french croissant and jambon et fromage and danced under the entrancing Northern Lights and yet here I am. 

Where it’s dark and deafeningly quiet. Where I am not sure if I am facing North or South or East or West. Where I cannot see anything, hear any sound and feel anything. Where I hear only the echo of my own voice. I tried to reach out for a wall or a ceiling but I cannot find one. Where I have no idea which way is forward or backward. Where there is nothing and all I have is nothingness. And yes, it’s scary. 

Why me? Why am I here where it’s too dark? Why do I feel tired all the time? Why I am sad? What will make me live life? Why do I always find myself back at square one?

While I know I the answers to these questions will not magically appear just yet, just throwing these questions out into the universal void makes me feel better. It relieves some pain, like how a frozen strawberry yogurt brings out a smile on my lips. It is important to note that at this point, I have better questions to work on. And that thought alone makes me look forward to acting on it. 

I look out the window and see that dawn is breaking. It’s a new day. I don’t have any answers to my questions and have no idea how to figure things out just yet. But at least realizing how I feel and why I am how I am makes me feel better.

As they say…

Things do get better in the morning.

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