There’s nothing like a birthday, a hangover, and only four more sleeps until you leave a country you’ve been living in for the last six months to make you question your entire existence.
What a crazy year it has been! I’ve ridden highs, met many new wonderful people, been pushed to the max, said goodbyes, left a life behind and ventured into a new one.
There were a few months of this year when I felt truly blissfully happy. And then: life happened. Challenges arose. Things didn’t go to plan. There was stress and confusion. But also, my blissful happiness seems all very superficial now, without the depth of life experience I’ve now had added onto it.
I have gained a level of depth I did not have before. And that, I am so incredibly grateful for. I’m seeing more and more substance is all about the journey, not the outcome.
So today: I feel like writing. I just celebrated my 28th birthday, and I can’t help but wonder ‘What am I doing with my life?’ – that classic question that’s plagued me my entire life.
Clarity through contrast
Lately, as in the last few weeks, I have felt very much out of alignment. I have not really been living in joy and there is an underlying feeling of melancholy that appears in my consciousness as soon as I wake. I made decisions the best I can, but something feels off.
I’m going through a phase of meaninglessness. Things that used to mean something to me don’t evoke any joy, so it’s also been a phase of confusion. This year I’ve chased dreams I thought I wanted, and it turned out, that didn’t bring me the deep joy I thought at all. Because, I have felt deep joy in multiple times in my life – and I’ve realised so much lately how they are in times of simplicity. About stark simplicity.
What doesn’t mean much to me right now: socialising, travelling, luxury anything, business, money. Travelling is life changing – absolutely! But now – I’m ready to ground. Seriously, I feel like nesting!
Only a few months ago I declared: I don’t want what a lot of people I know what. I don’t want to live in one place longer for a year. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want a typical career path – to work for anyone else – to work in an office – to buy a house – to live in a city – or to party often.
I still don’t want to party often. When I do now, it is fun yes absolutely, but it feels pretty meaningless. It doesn’t fill me with any kind of substance or joy. It feels out of alignment to what really makes me feel good.
BUT – some of those other things I do want. I want to (possibly) live in one place, and take trips yearly, or a few months of the year, but have a base – have a home. I do want to work for someone else, as I don’t want to run my own business – I haven’t yet found something I’m so passionate about that would make me want to do that as I’ve seen first hand what goes into it: and if you don’t LOVE it – then (in my opinion) there’s no point, as it takes an extreme amount of energy expenditure, far more than working for someone else.
I like working for others, I have realised. I do kind of want to work in an office – if I am doing the kind of work I have always done and am doing now, as the flexibility: while it’s fabulous in many ways, lacks structure and routine which is difficult when you need to work. It’s also exhausting: working in new locations all the time. It’s like stimuli overload really!
But also, maybe at some point, I want to move away from the “professional” world altogether? I’m not yet sure.
I also am not as anti-marriage as I was just a few short weeks ago. Sceptical: yes! But anti: not as much. I finished a book yesterday on this history of marriage – very interesting stuff (and no, it doesn’t come from the Church, in fact, they used to campaign against it but realised they couldn’t stop people from wanting to marry) so am feeling quite neutral about the subject. So, I’m taking that off my no list and leaving open for possibilities.
This clarity I have gained has come from me trying something, and realising it’s not for me. If I hadn’t jumped in and tried this: I would still be very attracted to this lifestyle and craving it. But now that I know what it entails, I can walk away knowing it’s not the way I want to live my life, because actually: it doesn’t bring me joy.
And then I realised: a lot of the clarity in my life has come from contrast. From feelings of negativity being evoked. Part of it has been through following joy – but really, do we actually know what an experience is going to be like until we try it?
So again, I pivot – and I follow what feels good to me now. I am incredibly ready to spend the last two months of this year in my hometown. Taking things slow. Processing everything that’s happened! Reading books. Cooking. Hanging out with the family. Ahh, I cannot wait!
Birthdays can bring up emotions. I realised: I had about three times as many friends as I did last year than I do now. And I miss that, I do. But also, I realised, I only really need a few very strong connections to fulfil me. But something currently is missing.
I now know this missing feeling is me simply being out of alignment with my relationship to myself, my body and my mind – currently, it’s all out of whack.
I’m starting to really think about the next phase of my life now. At the moment I feel very drawn to settling, and nesting. I feel very drawn to creating a home, a family and a community. That to me right now appeals to me incredibly deeply on a soul level.
It’s strange, as I used to want to run away from that kind of life. I craved (to my absolute core) excitement and adventure. And I’ve had just that. I’d never give up the experiences I’ve had, or all of the people I have met. I feel like I have lived. But now, it’s time to create a new reality.
Parts of me will always want adventure, and I will always have it. I can’t imagine a time in my life not planning on going to new places, countries, tasing different cultures. But I don’t long for that anymore.
I want a yin kind of life. Something simple. Something slow. That’s what my dreams are actually made of, it turns out. I want naps in the afternoon sun. Lazy mornings reading books in bed. Making brunch. Nights in watching films with loved ones. Beach walks. Coffee at local cafes. A few close wonderful friends to spend time with. A lover. My family.
I want to grow raspberries and make jam out of them. I want to have a veggie garden and eat salads knowing I grew them myself. I want to socialise over delicious food, with a few, but fabulous people.
That’s really what my dreams are made of. Not of international travel. Not trekking through the Amazon. Not lying on a beach in the tropics.
The deliciously simple daily routines of a quiet life. Ahh, that’s what really feels my soul with joy. That’s what really makes me feel whole. That’s what I know brings me deep bliss and contentment.
This, of course, may possibly change, but for now, that’s what I crave, so, for now, that’s what I’m going to follow.
I do this to myself. The party girl. The hippy girl. The professional girl. The crazy girl. The loving girl. The insecure girl. The sensitive girl. The fun girl.
I’m all of those things, and I am none of those things. I also now feel more and more like a woman. Really and truly.
I still have my girly ways (if an outfit looks like it’s made for a 7-year old I’m going to want to wear it), but I know so much more now, how deeper my layers of myself and my consciousness are. I pigeonhole so many people. “The crazy hippies”, “The career-driven yo-pros”, “The drunk Australians on holiday” – I put people into boxes as to what makes sense to me. And I put myself in boxes.
I followed what I thought was going to be a travel-loving-museum-going-art-gallery-wandering lifestyle when I moved to London: and I ended up having a crazy party and boy phase. Filled with wonderful friends, many houses, a lot of excitement and plenty of adventures. But it also didn’t fill me up with real joy, not deeply and fully.
Bali: I came here as I was in a very self-nourishing phase. I was after zen time. Yoga. Health food. Sunshine. Spiritualism. It hasn’t been that really: but it’s been so much more, it’s been deeper, harder, challenging, it’s pushed me way past comfort. It’s had ebbs and flows, ups and downs. It’s been life.
I wanted to leave London about 6 months before I did. It was sucking the life out of me and I had to get out – to get away. I have so many incredible memories there that I will treasure forever – many of which are to do with people, not places. And Bali: I wanted to leave about 6 weeks ago – I have been ready for a while.
Transformation through challenges
What I have realised, however: real transformation happens in the times of struggle, the times of challenge. When you are forced to exercise your positive mindset, creativity or find joy when you don’t feel it. When you have no choice but to create your own calm, in the centre of a storm.
Those last few months in London were very hard, I cried. I was desperate to leave. But I couldn’t yet – so I was forced to deal with what was coming up for me. I found my happiness in the hardness. And then when I did leave, I felt good about it. I stayed out my time to finish writing that chapter.
And Bali – well! This whole experience has been life transformative. They say Bali attracts people who are in need of healing and it pulls things out of you and heals you. That’s why a lot of soul seekers come here. And soul it DOES have! It has plenty. Perhaps too much for me even ha! The people in the conscious community are real as fuck, and while I don’t resonate with it too much, I admire the wholehearted way they are all living their lives courageously. I deeply admire it. And the entrepreneurs: the same goes for them! It’s very hard turning your ideas into a business, but many people I’ve met have, and they are living out their dreams – it’s beautiful to see and be surrounded by.
And now? I can’t even express how ready I am to come home. And I’m not sure how long I will be there for. The plan now is a few months – but my life plans never go to plan. Maybe I will nest there after all. Maybe not. Who knows! I’m leaving it open – and I trust in my decisions and in life – because…
Sometimes the most beautiful parts of life are the hardest parts too. How much art has been made from heartbreak? How much music made from tragedy? How many businesses born from mistakes?
This hit me on Saturday when I was at a festival and listened to Angus Stone sing about a girl he fell in love with that he met hitchhiking in Australia. And perhaps, heartbreak followed, I don’t know – but I do know it’s worth it. It’s worth experiencing love, even if you lose it. It’s worth travelling, even though it’s hard sometimes, and it’s worth throwing it all in and getting back to your roots, if that’s what your soul calls for next.
You can’t make decisions from the future
I follow my curiosities because I have had to. Because the call has been too strong not to. Because it would kill me a little to stifle it. And I’ve made a lifetime of mistakes. I let love go, and may always question if that was the right decision. I’ve lost friends as I was too wrapped up in my own shit to give them the loving attention they deserve, and that saddens me. But: I do very much believe, we are always doing the very best we can in each given moment of our life.
Could I have done anything differently these last few years? Everything would have played out exactly as it did because I am exactly who I am.
So I make mistakes. Perhaps they are little. Perhaps they are large life-altering ones. But mistakes are part of life. We are all figuring it out as we go. Mistakes are inevitable.
I couldn’t have possibly make decisions any different than I did when I made them from that point in time. As the awareness I have gained has come after, so if I were to make them again now – they would be different of course! Because I am different than who I was when I made the decisions. I have gone through the decision-making process and realised what is and what isn’t right for me. So all we can do is trust our decisions and move forward again with trust for the next one – knowing that are pieces of the overall puzzle of our life anyway.
So now, as I wrap out this part of my life, I’ll mourn for what has and hasn’t happened. Because this is a real ending, and this is what endings feel like. They can be difficult. And sad. And filled of things you wish you had done, and wish you hadn’t. And the goodbyes ahh!
And now, that I’m all adventured and excitement-ed out – I’m so incredibly looking forward to creating my wholesome simple life. The thought of it already fills me with joy.
Whenever I leave somewhere I have lived for a while, it feels like an end of a book, and a new one to be written. But really, every day is like this too.
Perhaps both London and Bali were not what I had expected – and to be fair, I’ve lived lifestyle extremes, but they gave me so much. They gave me a level of depth and clarity that I did not have before.
Before: A humble beautiful simple lifestyle stifled me beyond words. But from that point in time – how was I to know what it was like living in different places? I had no idea! As I hadn’t experienced it. I only had the desire. I’ll continue following desires in my life, it’s the only way I know how to make decisions, really.
So for my 28th year of existence, I am calling in and following these guiding words: YIN, SLOW, SIMPLICITY, JOY, WISDOM, CREATIVITY, HOME, PEACE, TRANQUILITY, FUN.
The life of an introvert
If you haven’t yet done a Myers-Briggs personality test: I can’t recommend it more. I have found so much comfort in knowing that the way I behave is often simply due to the kind of person I am.
In a world that values extroversion and yang living, it can be difficult to be an introvert. But I am 100%.
I need copious amounts of alone time simply to function. I need to do things on my own schedule. I think deeply about the meaning of life and human behaviour. I hate phone calls. I often feel misunderstood. I can’t stand rigidity. My inner world is as vivid as my outer world. I value 1:1 connection and not groups. I’m sensitive. I’m optimistic and value equality highly. I daydream often. << I couldn’t have written it better myself. That’s from my INFP personality profile: and I identify with it so incredibly strongly. It’s just who I am.
So with travelling: You’ll never find me in a hostel (I would hate so much not having my own space and being constantly surround by people), I won’t be doing all of the things all (I’ll also be spending time alone processing my thoughts and emotions), and I certainly will not be socialising all the time (Sometimes, yes! But often: no!).
I take great comfort in knowing myself more and more to stop putting myself in situations that I know aren’t quite right for me. That really has been the greatest gift from living abroad for the last two and a half years.
I know more and more what I do want, from knowing what I don’t.
So as I wrap up this chapter, I feel sad. Endings evoke so much emotion! For me anyway as an INFP 😉
This month is full of travel: North Bali, Ubud, Perth, Ubud and around, then HOME SWEET HOME. I’m then ready to process all that has happened and start to feel into my next steps. Whatever they may be. I’m ready to start (metaphorically) writing the next book.
With deep love and appreciation,