As I write this, I’m sitting in a hostel in Madrid, Spain. It sounds like there’s a party going on outside, which is a very real possibility. It’s such a vibrant city at all hours. Cars honking. People talking, laughing, singing. It’s also very accessible because of the great Metro system that can take you anywhere in the city within a reasonable amount of time. It’s definitely a cosmopolitan city, but one with so much history and culture. Some of the best museums in the world are located here, including the Reina Sofia, the Thyssen, and of course, the Prado. In short, Madrid is like no place I’ve been.
All of this contributed to choosing Madrid as the city in which I come to live. However, Madrid was just one possibility. I considered several cities and countries, but there was one constant in my thinking. I knew that I needed to go to another country.
The best remedy I found was to blow up the nice, comfortable box in which I was living.
Maybe you’re asking, “Brett, why do you feel that you need to do something so drastic as move to another country?” If you are, know that you are not the first to ask that exact question.
If you are asking that, great. I’ll answer it. But first, I have one question for you that I really want you to take some time to think about.
Why do you do the things you do?
There are a lot of possible answers to this question, and your own answer depends on who you are and what you value in life. For some, money is their incentive. For others, everything they do is for their family. Still others, their faith is what drives them. Some may have completely different answers. Others may have never even considered why they do what they do. I do realize that the question of motivation and its answers are a lot more nuanced for many people, and I don’t want to overgeneralize so as to be condescending. I ask, though, because this is the question I’ve been asking myself for some time now. Its answer lies at the heart of why I’m currently in Spain.
In the course of asking myself why I do what I do, I know the answers I want to give. Mostly, the answers I want to give are those I think other people want to hear. I mean, honestly, don’t a lot of us want to live in such a way as to be looked at fondly by those whose opinions we value? These opinions may be those of your friends. Your family. Your coworkers. The person you’ve had a crush on for years. Your respective deity. Whomever.
For me personally, I say I want to please God first, then my family and friends, and sometimes my actions follow what I say. Other times, I act in line with purely selfish desires. My true motivation may be close to how others see it, or it may not be. If the reality of my motivation is close to the way others perceive it, I am living an authentic life. If those are separated by a broad gap, I am not.
I moved to another country because, in the course of living this thing we call life, I want to be true, both to myself and to others. I want to live a life that’s genuine, one that I can be proud to live. Before coming here, I feel like I wasn’t living well. The best remedy I found was to blow up the nice, comfortable box in which I was living in order to get a new start. Thus, Madrid.
It’s possible that I’ve been more candid here than I should be on a blog, considering that I’m publishing this on the Internet (and we all know how kind and forgiving a place the Internet is). For me, though, this is a refuge of sorts, hence the name of the blog itself. It’s a shelter, a place where I can be honest with others, and, therefore, with myself. Authentic.