I have just stumbled across the first blog I ever wrote – something I have never shared. I remember exactly where I was and the exact feeling I felt whilst writing it. It’s funny, back then I wouldn’t have considered actually sharing my writing, even though there are pages in my travel journal of that time that are filled with a dream to be a writer.
It’s five years on and my life has changed beyond recognition, yet the tone of that first blog I still feel so deeply today.
I’m sharing it now because I want you to know that if you ever find yourself wondering whether there is more to life than the one you are living, there probably is. And more importantly, I want you to know that you deserve to live a life that doesn’t make you feel that way and you deserve to be happy.
I have learned a lot since then and I guess now I know how you feel on the inside and ensuring any decisions you make are aligned with your truth, not what you think you should be doing or told you should do is what’s important. Therefore, happiness won’t be found in a job, person or place. Any external changes you make don’t have to be drastic or life altering in order for real change to happen within. But sometimes, it is true, it certainly can help.
Written on Playa Chiquita beach, Costa Rica
“Life really is what you make it. No excuses, no expectations just possibilities and potential. You can have and be whatever you want. You just need to change the way you see the world and yourself.
This isn’t just idealism or a false, contrived millennial idea. I know it is truth because I’m living that change.
Only months ago I was working in an annoyingly stressful job for a well know international charity. Strip away any romantic ideas you may have about the charity sector – It can be as stressful as any private sector job. I was working 16 hour days sometimes, drove 30,000 miles in a year, chased and busted a gut for ever increasing, unachievable targets.
I hadn’t slept properly in well over a year and I had little energy to do anything else when I wasn’t working.
I had forgotten who I was, what I was good at, what I enjoyed, what excited me, what made me belly laugh; what made me tick.
I tried so desperately to ignore an almost constant, dull, niggling that there must be more to life. I was totally ignoring myself and wasn’t ever present in the life I was living.
It was a dark, wet, March evening when I was driving from Bristol to Plymouth alone along the same stretch of the A38 I had driven too many times that year already when I broke down. Not my car, but me! I pulled over and cried and just couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t carry on living the life I was trying so hard to maintain. I was annoyed at myself on top of it – How had I got there? Only I had made the choices which led me there – How had my own choices led me to a life that made me so miserable, energy less and drained?
I called my best friend and, as always, she spoke the wisdom I needed to hear. ‘Quit’ she said, ‘Now. Today. Quit. Anything is better than this’.
I indulged the idea for a spilt second but dismissed is even faster. Pride, fear, excuses; about money and security crept in. How would I pay the mortgage? How could I go from a manager on a decent salary to… nothing. What would people think of me? I couldn’t and told myself how irresponsible and stupid it was to even consider.
It wasn’t until the next day a when I was sat in my living room, staring at the 4 walls, that I caught myself thinking – there must be more to life than this. I want more from life.
The following day with sweaty palms and a summersaulting stomach, I handed my notice in to my manager.
Instant regret, fear and uncertainty flooded my veins. I left the office and got into my car ready for another Bristol to Plymouth drive and my head pounded with a pain I honestly hadn’t ever experienced before – ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I literally shouted to myself out loud.
And then, as if in an instant, it felt like a cloud lifted, the pressure in my head drained down through my veins, out my toes and left me feeling utterly exhilarate. I smiled so big and so hard as I drove along, it felt like I had won the lottery.
Freedom! Possibility! What I was going to do and where I would end up, I had no idea but for the first time in years I felt something and that alone felt exhilarating.
Right now, I am sat on the beautiful white sand of a jungle lined beach in Costa Rica staring out at the crystal clear ocean, lapping gently at my feet. An unblemished blue sky is above me and the heat from the afternoon sun is enveloping me. I can’t believe I am here. I can’t believe the adventure I’ve had these last few months.
I am so proud of myself. I am so happy. Life has changed in ways I couldn’t have imagined back then. I ‘chose’ life. I chose to see the world as a playground and life as a story book.
I prioritised reconnecting with myself and finding out what I love, what makes me tick again rather than conformity; and that feeling of freedom is bringing tears to my eyes right now.
Did I come across criticism to get here? Loads! Did I feel cripling fear? Absolutely. Did it take me to places I expected to go? Not in the slightest! It has taken me beyond. It has brought me to this feeling right now, a deep sense of peace and happiness. I used to ponder whether there was more to life than the one I was settling for and now I know that answer loud and clear!
Do I have any regrets? Not one.
You don’t need to know how it will play out. But please just know, you are worth trying for”