Traveling is like death; they both teach you how to be more comfortable with uncertainty. In that sense, I had been a little prepared. Now, I'm being prepared for the other losses in my life. Everything around me, including myself, is always changing. Think of the cells in your body regenerating - every few years you are physically a new you! Spiritually, too, you regenerate and you leave your old "self" behind, almost every day, if you are lucky. In that sense, the "backbeatlili" I woke up as today is different from the one yesterday. And that's okay. The 9-year old "me" often wondered what the 26-year old "me" would be like, but now I realise we are more like sisters, rather than the same actual person. That's liberating. That lets me make decisions for the person I am right now, rather than the person I will be down the line, who might want something different from life by then. Making too many decisions for the 50-year-old "me" right now might be disastrous, as we might ultimately want different things. Everything is always changing. And that's alright.
What I can do is be content with now, no matter the circumstances. I know it's been said by a million people before me, but damn it's a) a hard concept to actually 'get', and b) a difficult thing to achieve. But I see now that's the only path to happiness.
Make plans, but be prepared when they don't work out.
Dream, but don't be consumed by your dreams.
Try to do one thing a day that has meaning to you and lets you be completely who you are.
Once you aknowledge that your identity and its continuity is in fact held in place by your brain and is not actually real, your sense of entitlement and quickness to judge slowly dissolve. In their place, self love is planted, and if you water and prune it, it becomes a deep-rooted, beautiful garden. You can then walk in the garden, and pick the berries and apples from its trees and bushes, and eat them in the shadow of the big oak tree. Other people can walk in the garden too, if you invite them, and they can also eat of the sweet fruits. And if you are lucky and have taken good care of your garden, after you die it will still be there for more people to enjoy. I know that, because I take strolls in my mother's garden, which is big and lush as a jungle, full of figs and grapes and prunes and space for quiet contemplation under the trees, but also exploration, in the vast depths of her wisdom and love.
That's all there is.