“Maybe you’re a woman in search of her word.”

Never has a quote resonated with me so deeply. If you’ve seen Eat Pray Love, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Soul searching was something I’d been aching to do for years. But for some reason, I always felt stuck – stuck in school, stuck in relationships, stuck in my own life. I never quite found my identity, and whatever I did have was built around what everyone wanted me to be. I called myself a contradiction. I said one thing, wanted another, and pursued something completely different. Ironically, that was the only constant in my life. But, I guess it was okay because life kept going and I was just fine cruising through it.

In the words of Julia Roberts, I had no pulse.

My life came to a screeching halt a few months ago. Everything I used to define myself was gone, and I felt nothing but pity for myself.

I was itching to get out. I needed change. I needed inspiration. “Anywhere but here,” I’d think, but where would I go?

Somewhere in the midst of my misery, I decided to let go of my obsessive need to control every detail in my life.

I let things be.

Somehow, that was the start of my soul-searching journey, and so far, it really has been all about eat, pray, and love – surrounded by travel.

Eat. I’ve always considered food to be one of the greatest pleasures in life. I live to eat and eat like a whale. So, learning to make my favourite dishes was happiness, especially when they turned out great. I also enjoyed sharing my cooking with anyone who wanted to try it. Beyond my own kitchen, I loved finding new restaurants to try, and it definitely helped that my friends are foodies. Is there anything that can compare to drinks and dinner on the patio during a Canadian summer? No. Definitely not.

Pray. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about practicing kindness towards yourself and everyone else. As humans, we have about 50,000 thoughts each day – how many of those thoughts are kind? I probably had about five every day. Maybe less. I eventually began forcing my mind to be kind, and it’s amazing how positive I’ve become. It might not sound like much change, but I’m someone who studied (and will probably start a career in) the science behind death. Positivity wasn’t even in my vocabulary until two months ago.

Love. Between the Disney and Tamil movies, I was certain that love meant wanting to spend every waking moment with a romantic interest. That’s definitely one version. But love is also waiting to have dinner with my brother when he visits every month. Love is sharing hopes and fears with a best friend at 2am while on vacation together. Love is what I feel when I hear good music. This version of love made so much more sense to me.

Travel. Walking through a city thousands of miles from home, I understood my insignificance in this world. I really am just a speck on this planet. One tiny face amongst 7.5 billion. Visiting historic places revealed an inevitable truth: not only am I irrelevant, I’m also temporary – here for about 80 years, while the world has been around for billions. On the flip side, I also understood my absolute importance when I returned home to be surrounded by the people who could never imagine their lives without me. It’s humbling to recognize that you are nothing, yet everything, but also temporary.

So, where am I now? I’m still lost and definitely still in search of my word. But, I’m happier than I was before – I’m happy with where I am, happy with where I’m headed.

Featured image retrieved from Elizabeth Gilbert.

Published by Vinushaa Rajkumar