Young Thoughts: Writing Happiness in Portugal

A square window. Trimmed with white paint. Inside (or outside, I should say) is the North Atlantic Ocean. The slight ocean breeze whispers in my ear, though I am alone. Except for my thoughts, ready to formulate itself on my computer keyboard that will eventually become my next book. Poetry? Prose? Who knows. I just hope it follows you, whoever you are.

I take a sip of my Vinho Verde. Sigh. Portugal called me back, and it wasn’t just the green wine. I look at the polaroid from 2019. Me in my burnt orange button-down, standing in front of the Belém Tower. Faded corners, yet the singular memory and thought I had at that moment was saturated.

Happiness.

Pure, and true, and undaunted. Fearless. Content. Nothing I had ever felt before.

And so I returned three years later, even for a temporary three months. But if 2020 taught me anything, it was that the moment is now, and if I don’t grab it by its reigns, I’ll regret it and yearn for it for the rest of my life.

Three years ago, I believed in towers taller than that of Belém. Skyscrapers. Industry tycoons that married the artistic side with the part of me starving for success. And then I came abroad, and sarcasm and truth applied but, it changed me. Inexplicably.

There, I understood what living meant. What it means to be free, to be curious, to be content, and to be happy. The moment was fleeting, as it always is, but in those few minutes staring across the sea, I knew I would want to follow it and feel it for the rest of my life.

So a year from now…I’ll be in my little AirBnB studio in Portugal, right near the ocean. I’m working remotely, ghostwriting and editing manuscripts. The occasional voice-acting client is on the side to get away from the writing. The commander of my own time, the definer of how I want to live my life and spend the precious time I have until there’s no more time left to be spent. On top of working with clients, I’m writing my next book (I have two on the back burner) and getting side income with some Medium articles (hello, fourth wall!).

For half of the week, I enjoy Portuguese wine and coffee and baked sweets. The other half, I’m revisiting Italy and Spain, and France. I’m in awe at the places I’ve been to for the first time: Scotland and Ireland, Iceland and Sweden. I’m financially stable and not worried about the future because I am abundant. Life will take care of me and put me exactly where I’m supposed to be.

In a year from now.

Prompt: Where do you see yourself one year from now?

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reflections on life, society, and meaning in my 20s

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Ashley Lanuza

Ashley Lanuza

reflections on life, society, and meaning in my 20s

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