What a year. What a wonderful, but tough year. This year has been so strange, not just for the world but for me. World-wise, what the fuck. Still reeling from the absurdity. For me, things are changing and it feels that way too. For a long while now I’ve felt that I’ve had to make a change, I just didn’t know what that change should be. Not that I’m unhappy, but it was time to make some sort of change. Time to evolve to the next level, whatever you call it, just something to shake up the mighty cosmic destiny of a simple life.
PARIS > DUBLIN > LONDON > LISBON
We travelled to Europe this year around my birthday, first to Paris for a few days where my partner took his parents to watch the Euro2016 game. His folks then travelled on to Spain and we made our way to Dublin for the first time. I don't know why I've not wanted to be here sooner, what a lovely, lovely place. And we met Conor, the MOST AMAZING Sandemans free walking tour guide we've ever met. Now he really put on a history show. We stayed in what must be the BEST hotel in Dublin (personal bias, it's a little hipster) and wished we had more than just three days here when we had to leave.
We were in London for the LoveBox festival over my birthday. WOW. You're never too old to really enjoy a damn concert. We drank beers on the grass, laughed at kids taking cocaine in front of us, enjoyed the VIP perks that comes with being an adult and being able to pay for good tickets, and got buzzed with the energy of dancing to the insane performance that is Major Lazer (bucket-list fulfilled!). As a bonus, I spotted and ran like a squealing stalker up to one of my favourite bloggers ever. My partner took me to an exquisite dinner where the meal was heavenly and the waiter such a wonderful character even though I felt a tad out of place sitting next to women in pearls.
We found favouritethings to do in London, and did them a few times just to get it out of our system, and then we headed on to Lisbon and did the same thing. So it was another amazing trip, and then I came back home. And then it hit me. Coming home didn't feel great. I wanted to explore more, do, see, feel more new things. And that's when I knew it was time.
One thing I've been chasing forever is a need to live outside my birthplace. The need to live, explore a different world, something travel just couldn’t fulfil. Yes, travelling changes you, but for 2 weeks at a time, and then what?
The decision to move away – well, there had never been a good time, and perhaps one day I’ll regret not having done it sooner in my youth. I graduated quickly (not academically-inclined, me) and looked for work, saved up money, needed the security and independence and didn't feel quite like I had the street smarts to live on a park bench if I got stranded. So I worked hard and a lot, had some jobs that even allowed me to travel internationally. In my mid-20s I met my current partner and we made decisions for two now, not just one. Then I began a job which became a career, and it never made sense to uproot any of that.
Coming back from Europe this year felt different. An urgency took hold that I couldn't shake. Now or never. Before one gets too old. Before regrets have time to form. I think it was something like boredom. It scared me a little to feel bored of coming home. Bored of going back to work. Bored, restless, and then frustrated. So I made a decision, and I began looking elsewhere.
I've known people who moved countries when they studied overseas, but for such decisions everyone has their own journey to make. Mine feels like the right time, right reasons and opportunities finally and even if I fail dramatically I think moving later than sooner set me up with some securities I knew I needed.
WHAT'S NEXT IN 2017
I took a sabbatical of sorts after my office closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays, so I won't get back into work till mid January. I needed the time to escape for a little bit to refocus on myself before finalising any plans. Get back into some good habits and break some bad ones that have kicked up again amidst stress.
It's so easy to lose yourself to everything else happening around you. Everything demands a little bit of you the minute you wake up - your phone, email, Instagram, Facebook, colleagues, clients, friends, family, gym membership, salad bar....... The only thing saving you from all that is to remember every once in awhile to take a breath, refocus, and look at where you're headed to next.
You know this quote - “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Steve Jobs said it and yes it's probably clichéd by now but ask yourself every morning and if you're honest, you'll see. It's so helpful for keeping you on track in your life, keeping you sane one day at a time, giving you the permission and freedom to make the decisions you need to, when you need to, without feeling like you're impulsively throwing your life away.
I won't write again till next year, so I hope that when I do, I've got an amazing story to tell. Have a great 2017.