Losing oneself in a plateau

I’ve written several articles ranging from travel guides, personal realisations, destinations, and a few causes that I feel strongly about. The small yet very much valued audience of this website has read through adventures and mishaps that truly made a mark in my life. In some instances, pouring out my heart’s content captured unprecedented yet heartwarming responses from my friends and even from strangers who got to know me through this platform and social media.

Salute!“, commented by one of the readers of an article I published a year ago. A single word that shows how some of the articles I’ve written may have had an impact on other people’s lives.

Others who also have read my articles were more expressive in their admiration for every gutsy move I pulled off in the past. The random ramblings on my keyboard became a source of inspiration and a catalyst of passion for fellow travellers.

The response overwhelmed me with emotions and motivation which made me think that I am finally on the right path, finding my personal legend as what Paulo Coehlo preached in one of his books. Since then, it became a personal mission as a new breed of traveler to write thought-provoking experiences and invoke passion and inspiration in anyone who may find my stories and experiences relatable.

However, like most stories, mine came with several drawbacks. It’s not that I expected the journey to be smooth sailing, no. It’s actually the opposite. What I’ve experienced is one that I never saw coming. As a traveller, I unexpectedly arrived at a destination that’s never been on my list.

The Plateau of Apathy

One of my former superiors, now a good friend, once told me that I am an extremely passionate individual, may it be at work or even in my personal life. However, the pitfall of having such personality is being prone to fluctuations, infinite and extreme ups and downs, depending on the circumstance. And what she said is true and is something that I’ve experienced in my 28 years of existence.

Having known that I am prone to such fluctuations, I did my best to work around it. I learned to savour the moment when I feel like floating above the clouds, overflowing with endless ideas and zest for what I love. But during my lows, I learned how to rest and endure the sore feeling of incapacity while slowly bringing myself up. The whole journey could be exhausting and could take a toll on anyone but that’s just how life most of the time unfolds.

plateau

Then the unexpected happened, it came to a point that I am neither soaring in the sky nor falling the darkest crevices of breakdowns. That’s when I realised, I’m in a different place altogether — the Plateau of Apathy.

Navigating oneself out of the plateau seemed impossible. I felt locked away and lost, distant from everything that I would normally be passionate about.

The road to Apathy

Idealism, a word that seems so positive is the same concept that led me to the destination I never thought existed. Said ism used to drive and boost me in holding a standard so high that I once believed I need to reach before I take a tiny step forward.

At first, holding said standards dear has proved helpful until it’s overcome the very essence of who I am. Because for every time I’d take a step, I started hearing a deep yet muffled voice. For every milestone unlocked, the muffled voice grew louder, even stronger.

It’s not good enough.

You’re in no condition to do that.

It won’t have much impact.

Others can do better, why can’t you?

You can do it, but the circumstances aren’t optimal.

You’re not good enough.

For every phrase that I hear, a part of me crumbles. The once strong and mighty fort that has sheltered the fire of passion in its hearth supported by columns of hope started falling down, one after the other. The walls protecting the fire collapsed until what’s left is just a lingering scent of smoke in the middle of almost barren land.

plateau

The Plateau of Apathy, a place where emotions are dulled so close to inexistence. A destination that arises from indistinguishable ruins of dreams and broken plans. A wretched region that’s abundant with lame excuses and patches of denial. A plateau far from mountainous aspirations, locked right at the centre of indifference.

It is a place whose false serenity gave me false peace, leaving me motionless for days that felt like aeons. I searched the landscape for something that could resonate and connect to my soul, but I found nothing. Not knowing where to start, I started to focus on where I exactly stand. Looking down at my feet, a light in the form of a question has shone. How can I get the urge to move and take a step forward?

Then suddenly, a small spark ignited. Oblivious, the same spark forced me to finally take that step, but this time, backwards.

Retracing the steps to move forward

For some, a step backwards may not be the ideal way to move forward. However, this time, it has become a way to rekindle the fire I needed so much to light the path that will lead me to a destination I’ve always wanted.

Every step that I took, slowly drained away the apathy, replaced by anger, sorrow, fear, and anxiety. Every step backwards seemed so burdened, deluged with emotions that ceased existing in the Plateau of Apathy. Every step backwards has become, ironically, a step towards progress.

It’s as if the only way to escape the apathetic landscape I am currently in, is to retrace my steps until I finally reach my old usual self.

In retracing the steps, I finally met the owner of the deep voice that led me to believe that only in ideal circumstances I would be able to succeed and create my personal legend. He was staring right back at me, as if I am looking straight at a mirror, the only difference are the perspectives we now see.

Salute!”, he finally said. A word that has so much meaning coming from someone who once said ‘You are not good enough.’ As I walk past him, I stumbled upon memories of every person my articles were able to touch, strangers who were able to relate to my experiences, loved ones who believe in what I am capable of, and the things I am truly passionate about.

I then realised that I owe it to everyone, more so to myself, not to stop retracing my footsteps until I finally reach the point where I can again move forward — far from the Plateau of Apathy but certainly towards my personal legend.

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