365 Days of Amsterdam

A reflection on where I was, where I thought I’d be and where I think I’m going.

Today marks one year since I arrived in Amsterdam to start my new life, and I have to be honest—I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. Yet, in many other ways, I am much further along than I ever imagined.

I think sometimes it takes losing something before we can fully understand how it made us feel. I didn’t feel I fully fit where I was before moving here, but I never truly understood why. All of the emotions I was feeling and the reasonings I had put behind them have since been brought into perspective as I reflect on them rather than live through them.

While living in Chicago, I was constantly wishing I was in Europe. I was drawn to it for many reasons and felt confident about my desire to move. However, it wasn’t until I actually began living here that I could see not just why I didn’t fit in my previous life, but how well I could fit into this new one.

I often find myself romanticizing Europe and overall life here. This leads me to wonder if my love for this place stems from the idyllic image I’ve painted in my mind, which casts everything in a brighter light. For instance, simple occurrences here amaze me, but would they if they happened back in Chicago? Such questions challenge my perceptions.

But isn’t that the point? Aren’t we meant to romanticize our lives and fall in love with the world around us? Even if my perspective is somewhat skewed, it brings me happiness—and that’s what matters most. 

Having learned to truly enjoy even the ordinary moments, I never want to lose this feeling. We are given only one life, and I believe it’s not meant to be merely endured but to be savored, cherished, and fully lived. We should always strive to exist where we feel happiest and most in love with life and its simplicities.

So today, I leave you with this thought: We all have desires and needs, but we can never be absolutely certain about them until we experience them firsthand. Conversely, how can we be sure that our current situation is truly fulfilling if we have never known anything else?

xo, mikaela


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