All my life I ‘ve been very organized. My room has always been tidy, my clothes have always been folded nicely, my earrings and necklaces have always been in separate little jewelry boxes. Even the remotes on the coffee table had to be lined up from the biggest to the smallest one (I know, that’s not organized, that’s OCD). Anyhow, one could say that I’m an order lover. Getting stuff done in a very organized way, having separate drawers for socks and underwear, cleaning the dishes right after eating…
However, life showed me that no matter how organized one can be, there will be a point in which a tornado will pass by and mess it all up. Whether it’s an archaeological dig where you’ll be sleeping in a tent which is quite hard to keep super clean, a dinner with friends that make you laugh so much you don’t even think about doing the dishes, or backpacking through SE Asia, living each day at a time, not knowing what tomorrow brings. To a person that cleans all of her shoes thoroughly and then lines them up, as if they were in a museum, that kind of chaos is quite frightening.
I remember when I went to Singapore, that simply amazing place. Where everything is clean, where everything is in order, where everything is perfect. For the first time in my SE Asian trip I could actually go to the toilet and not hang between the walls like a Spider man in order to pee. I didn’t get lost, there were signs on each and every road, the instructions for getting around were extremely clear. The buildings were perfect, almost like my remotes on the coffee table. You could not see cigarette butts, chewing gums or any kind of trash whatsoever on the streets. If someone had described Singapore a few years back I would have moved there instantly. It was all spic and span, just the way I like it.
So I’ve roamed around the streets, listening to my music, took pictures, did my “getting lost in the city” thing. Only to find that I did not get lost. Only to understand that this time as opposed to my visits to cities like Bangkok, Vientiane or Hanoi I did not fight taxi drivers who are trying to steel my money, I did not get my feet dirty in the streets, I did not have to pinch my nose in order to avoid horrible smells and I did not breath deeply in order to smell the fresh fruit in busy and overcrowded markets. I did not play with the children in the streets nor did I run away from angry dogs chasing me (Yes, that happened. In Chang Mai. I have no idea why. I have been loved by many dogs throughout my life. These ones were obviously not too fond of me).
And then it hit me: I missed the chaos, I missed the mess and the fuss. I couldn’t understand why perfection seemed less appealing. Moreover, it seemed boring and lifeless. Had I gone from lining up shoes and remotes to wanting dirty loud streets? And why? The same dirty streets with crazy dogs and thief taxi drivers are the ones that have the best food, the ones that have perky children running around and playing, the ones that have lovers holding hands tightly while passing through the crowd. The same streets are full of LIFE. Filled with sweat, dirt and tears, filled with laughter, shouting and love. Suddenly the perfection seemed completely irrelevant. It seemed soulless and artificial. Suddenly the girl with separate drawers for socks and underwear wanted to go back to the jungle. She had realized that getting out of her comfort zone had only brought her to an amazing zone. A zone where no one, including her, cared about folding clothes perfectly. She wanted to eat funny food, catch lizards with kids, have the deepest conversations with people she just met, be dazzled by colors, smells and flavors. She wanted to LIVE.
The best moments of my life don’t include perfect hair, shiny shoes nor clean dishes. They include love, laughter, tears, hugs, fights, dance, friendship… They include events that I’ll remember my whole life. No one ever remembers their sock drawer, but they sure do remember their favorite flavors, their first love, their adventures, their accidents that later turn into great stories, their friendships, their heartbreaks, their passions and their feelings. The imperfection of the best moments makes them much more than perfect, it makes them magical.