Laurel Dispenza is a student at Olivet Nazarene University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Laurel is currently studying abroad with ISA in Heredia, Costa Rica.
Over this past year there has been a theme of walking forward, of coming to the present moment so that you can receive all that it has to offer. Not living in a land of would have/should have/could have, but instead embracing what is. Since arriving in Costa Rica, it has been a constant fight to stop the “what if’s” and instead see the splendor of what is. With questions plaguing my mind, from the location I’m in and the program I chose to truth and reality and if they can be known, I have found that staying in the sea of “what if’s” is a good way to grow cold and stagnant.
There is such magnificence enveloping me in this stunning place of rich experiences and raw beauty, but I cannot receive them when I’m looking backwards, the “what if” robbing me of fullness of life. I cannot change the past, but I can learn from it and use it to advise those in the future who may encounter those same challenges. And since I cannot go backwards in time, today I will choose to walk forward, embracing the present in this life that is mine. I will recognize that there could have been a better decision, for nearly everything, but I cannot live the perfect life, so I can either wallow in the strife of regret or I can recognize it. Studying in Costa Rica is an experience that will never be repeated, so I have a choice to let the hypothetical rob me of that joy or to humble myself and open my eyes to the beauty of reality of unimaginable size. So as I walk forward I will encounter the beauty of this country. I will learn immensely from each person I meet, presently surprised by their amiability. I will see around me both new things and old, and I will walk forward in expectation of the life that this adventure will hold.
Yesterday I was drowning in a sea of regret, but today I’m learning both to swim and to fly, gaining a new and magnificent perspective of both what’s under the sea and the beauty I can see from the sky. This “what if” beast lost its grip on me as soon as I turned the other way and began to walk forward. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I will say that it will be worth it. So today I will not drown, but I will walk into Costa Rica and soak in all that it has.
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