For the past two years I’ve lived in Norway, working as an Au Pair. During this time I pursued the goal of improving my writing and seeing if I really wanted to be a writer.
The journey has not been easy, simple or without set backs. I struggled mightily and it took two years of hard work to finally get the plot ironed out and the characters fleshed out enough to have a decent manuscript. This one might end up being one of those books that gets left in a drawer, but I have grown so much in this work that it hardly matters. I finally had the confidence, just last night, to submit my first ten pages for a professional critique. For the first time, I felt like I couldn’t grow anymore in isolation, I needed to reach out, to make a connection.
I have a tendency to grow and struggle in isolation, only reaching out when I am near to giving up. My time in Norway gave me the space to develop and realize I need connections, that they are valuable and that, despite a myriad of bad experiences, most people are inherently good. While here I met many good people, among them a man I hope to spend the rest of my life with, and they have taught me about a lot more than I think any of us realized.
Some of those friendships will last, others might not, but one thing is for sure, Norway has changed my life and I will carry these experiences with me. I’ll keep the beautiful memories as precious gems and remember the laughter when I’m old. They say when a writer falls in love with you, you can never really die. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that writers can keep you from forgetting and share the beauty they’ve seen with others to give them hope. So thank you Norway, for all the beauty I’ve seen, for the hardships too, these experiences taught me a lot and have made me a better writer.
So in the end, it turns out that the answer is yes. Yes, I want to be a writer.
In discovering that truth about myself I discovered something deeper; stories need to be told, every individual has a choice, to remain silent, or to stand up and speak or write, to share a story with the world. Humans have always learned through stories, from oral tradition to the written word, they shape us, if you want to change the world, tell your story. Maybe you need to tell it in fiction, memoir, poetry, song, through dance, through the value you create, no matter the medium, tell your story, it’s important, it might be the most important thing you ever do.
Think Deeply. Learn Deeply. Seek Understanding. Be Individual.
Don’t settle for what’s before you, reach, use your mind to seek the best version of you. That journey is its own reward.
That’s what I learned in my two years in Norway. I learned that no matter how far I’ve come, there’s always somewhere better to go if I only struggle to reach it and push beyond the discomfort, the fear and the anxiety. Being uncomfortable is a very good thing.* Whenever you feel uncomfortable ask yourself: why? It’s usually because the discomfort is making you grow, or showing you truths you might not want to see about yourself or others. Face it. Examine it. Learn from it. You’ll be glad you did.
Så tusen takk, Norge. Jeg håper at jeg kan besøke deg igjen.
*This does not mean uncomfortable in a physically uncomfortable way. Discomfort can be good when striving in sports but not in situations where threatened or placed in physical discomfort. Discomfort mentally/emotionally when struggling for self-improvement is what I am discussing here.