At the beginning of this month, after moving with my daughters to Malta, I was feeling a little disgruntled. We ended up living far from the beach, instead of right next to it, the way I was used to. The landscape seemed dry and thirsty for rain, with lots of smog polluting the streets. My discontent had reached such a point that I was considering moving again, until one day, I had a realisation.
Having lived in some of the world’s most beautiful places I have grown familiar with the idea of “pride of ownership”. I wandered around the towns where I lived admiring the landscapes and architecture as if they were my very own. I saw them as something that reflected upon who I was. Only they didn’t. I may have enjoyed these places, but I did not create them. They did not reflect anything about me except that I was fortunate to live there.
I was only a passer by like millions before me and millions after me. An admirer of the backdrop of people’s lives. Assuming anything else was a dangerous route towards defining myself through material things. I breathed out a sigh of relief as I let go of this idea that what surrounds me on the outside is who I am on the inside.
Almost immediately I stopped being irritated at all the dirt and the long commute and started noticing the beautiful sea and the rolling hills, the marinas with their colourful boats, and the healthy looking people.
I knew that I will still attempt to create beauty and greenery within the framework of my own home, but that I would not let myself be defined or constricted through any setting. After all it was just a backdrop, and I did not own it or need to possess it in order to be happy.