I just stumbled across the first blog I ever penned; ‘There Must Be More To Life’. I remember exactly where I was, and the exact feeling I felt, whilst writing it. There was no way I would have shared my writing back then even though there are pages in my travel journal, during that time, filled with a dream to be a writer.
It’s many 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 have ever found yourself wondering whether there is more to life than the one you are living – it’s a good thing! It could just be an indication that something needs to change or be accepted. In my experience, more often than not, it is a mindset shift – something that new experiences are great in helping us to uncover. But more importantly, I want you to know that you deserve to live a life that feels satisfying – you are worthy of the greatest life and love – and it is 100% possible for you.
I have learned a lot since I wrote the blog I am about to share. I now know, on the deepest level, that it is how you feel on the inside, and ensuring any decisions you make are aligned with your truth, is what is important – not what you ‘have’. Happiness won’t be found in a job, person or place – it is found within. And if me saying that to you feels even more frustrating – I hear ya! I’ve been there too. What if you shifted any feeling of heaviness associated with questioning – ‘is there more to life, than this’ – and instead saw it as an invitation? To honour yourself, love yourself and live your life more authentically?
We are all different and how deep change occurs, is somewhat of a chicken and egg situation. Do internal shifts result in us making externals shifts – or is it the other way round? Any external changes you do make don’t have to be drastic or life-altering, for real change to happen within. But sometimes, as I found out years ago, it can certainly 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 true 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 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 – me! I pulled over and cried and just couldn’t stop.
There was a realisation, that I simply could not carry on living the life I was living and 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 that 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 split second but dismissed it 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 somersaulting stomach, I handed my notice into 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 fog lifted and 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 wild and grounding adventure I have had, these last few months.
I am so proud of myself for choosing change. I am so happy. How I see life has changed in ways I couldn’t have imagined back then. I choose life. I choose to see my life as a storybook, made up of many chapters.
Prioritising reconnecting with myself, remembering what I love and what makes me tick, rather than conformity – and this feeling of freedom that has come from doing so – is bringing tears to my eyes right now as I write.
Did I come across criticism for my choices? Loads! Did I feel crippling fear before I leapt? 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, of a deep sense of peace and happiness in the present moment. 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.
If you feel called to follow a calling, to change your life in some way, to be brave and take the leap into the unknown, just know – adventure and unwritten possibilities await! You don’t need to know how it will play out, but please know, you and your one precious life are worthy of listening to that call”.
This blog was written in 2018. For a follow up blog, written during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
If you are struggling and need support, visit The Samaritans website.