Once upon a time in a land far far away there was a young man named Ben. Just in case there was ever any doubt, I’m Ben.
I grew up surrounded by people, society, familiar places, circumstances, opinions, my perceived limitations, beliefs, biases about the the world and others, insecurities, desires, dreams and ambitions, just like everyone does.
All perfectly normal. I was desperately unhappy in life though, unfulfilled, lonely, aware that I wasn’t satisfied with the lifestyle others around me were living and seemed to be perfectly accepting of.
By the time I was 25 years old I was the definition of a person feeling stuck in life, in a rut, totally frustrated and needing help. Unfortunately asking someone for help seemed impossible for me though because the local culture I’d been conditioned by had led me to believe that I should suffer alone, longing for something so much more out of life was unrealistic and who was I to believe that I had any kind of “greatness” within me to share with the world.
My depressed days and nervous nights were par for the course and in the long run it would make me stronger in some way. Struggling in this way was normal, a fact to be accepted in life and that was that.
Now just as with a balloon you can only fill it with so much air until it will pop. I was so full of insecurity, self-doubt and in the darkest moments when the world was silent and I was totally alone with my thoughts, self-hatred. A nightly waterfall of self-hatred. If you’ve ever felt like I did then and you can relate to me so far then you’ll know where this path can lead. My behavior grew more reckless, erratic and self-destructive as each day passed. I found myself addicted to things that would have been unfathomable to me just a couple of years prior. Like a boulder travelling down a mountain slope gathering more and more speed as it goes I was fast approaching my “rock-bottom”.
When all appears lost, it can be in these moments that we ask ourselves certain questions in life. The power of the answers we find is that they arise from an inclination to be more honest about the person we want to become in our future than we have ever been before.
I didn’t know it at the time but this pain would turn out to be the greatest gift the universe could have ever sent me. The first offering it brought was clarity and awareness. I knew that to remain living this way had only a few likely outcomes for me and none of them were good. What an irony it would turn out to be, my lack of love and appreciation for my own life at that point had become the catalyst to do something I’d dreamed about (and often been laughed at for) my entire life. I would sell everything I had, as modest as it was – it would be enough for the flight ticket.
Less than 2 weeks later, passport and ticket in hand for a flight bound to Bangkok, as I said my goodbyes, I found my lips moving on autopilot and the following words, intended specifically for the ears of my mom and sister, were spoken and would become engrained so deeply within me, that almost instantaneously, I truly believed myself to be a new person.
“You can’t get lost if you don’t know where you’re going”
And I had no idea where I was going, what was going to happen and least of all where I would be 10 years later.