Just like New Year´s resolutions in February, somethings are quickly forgotten. So, every now and then it’s important to reflect on, refocus or adjust our goals. And then there are times when we just need to stick to them and remember why we made them in the first place!
Over one year ago, I decided to leave my home country to travel and live overseas for an indefinite period. You can read why in the about me section, and in my first blog post, but here I´ll give you the low down.
I had a well paid job, a house, a new car, great friends, and an obsession for drinking coffee and dancing salsa. According to many people I was living ¨The Dream¨.
But the reality was anything but a dream. I was working really long hours in an office building in a city of 4 million people, I didn´t have time to visit my friends, dance salsa or go out and drink coffee (instead I was just paying off the mortgage on my house). I had no balance nor any real freedom. I was simply working for a life I couldn’t enjoy – just a slave to the money.
But it wasn’t just that I was overwhelmed and stressed, I realised that in actual fact I wasn’t happy.
So, I moved to South America with one ticket, one suitcase and no plan.
I spent three months travelling with my bestie Tiaan across South America meeting new people, discovering new places, experiencing different cultures, and then I decided to settle in Santiago, Chile. Santiago is a pretty cultural city in a country with a relatively stable economy (at least when compared with her neighbours), and job opportunities for someone with my skills set.
This is ¨The Deam,¨ I thought. I had dreamt of working from cafes while sipping lattes, dancing salsa, regularly posting blog pieces, exercising outdoors and practicing some yoga too. Sounds like a good plan, right? And it was.
One week after I had arrived back in Santiago, I had a secured a good job and had a nice place to live. I felt like I was extremely lucky to have found all this so quickly. And I was, because many people take months to settle into another city the way I had.
I began to work and enjoy the cultural experiences on offer. It seemed like this expat lifestyle suited me. And it did. But then a few months passed.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
I began working longer and longer hours, dedicating my soul to someone else’s dream. Eventually, I was practically working seven days per week (and sleeping in between when I could). I didn’t have time to exercise, see my friends, make new friends or really experience the city.
I had gone to live abroad to escape my previous lifestyle and basically ended up doing exactly the same thing on the other side of the world. So again I was tired, grumpy and really unhappy.
So after one year of working overseas, I quit my job and went travelling again for a brief stint.
It was there that I realised I needed to reassess and reset my life.
- Why had I come here in the first place?
- What was I seeking?
- What is ¨The Dream¨?
The answer: Balance. Like many people I want to find true balance in my life. Work to live, not the other way around.
I really enjoy working for many reasons; it gives me a sense of purpose, exercises my brain, and allows me to interact with so many people (just to mention a few). But of course I want to enjoy my life too!
So what’s the key? Well, I don’t have the answers but I can offer insights from my own experiences. On my recent travels, as I trekked The Lost City (ironically, being the one who was lost), I pondered and decided on a few things to guide me in my pursuits.
- I’M THE PILOT – I am in control of my life – I decide how I live it.
- GO GET IT – If I want to find something, I have to actively seek it out.
- REBOOT – It´s ok reboot – as long as you learn from the experiences (notice I didn’t write mistakes).
- REFOCUS – Your path might change – be open to opportunities and change but remember why you started walking down that path in the first place. What did you want then, and what do you want now?
- BE PRESENT – There’s no point having regrets so, enjoy each moment as it passes and embrace the new ones as they occur.
Basically, I accepted that I had gone off track but I have learned from it, and I am ready to refocus. Nothing wrong with finding yourself off track, but it’s important to take time to reflect on how you got there and how you can get back on track.
So, here I go again; Take 2 in the pursuit of balance, in the pursuit of my dream.
The things make one person happy don´t necessarily give the same happiness to another. ¨The Dream¨ doesn’t exist; there isn’t just one dream.
That´s why we´re so wonderfully different.
In summary, find your own balance, your own path, your own happiness.
> SHOUT OUTS
Questioning ¨the sum total of your beliefs¨
While writing this blog, an article appeared in my Facebook feed from The Minimalists, who I had only recently started following. I read this article, which discussed the same theme as my blog but along the lines of beliefs. Where do our beliefs and our needs/wants come from? Our expectations – of what we should do with our lives, the aspirations we hold, and how we define our success – all influence how we live our lives and how happy (or unhappy) we are.
The article is Day 8 of their 21 day journey into minimalism; beliefs. I’ll be starting my 21 day journey into minimalism this month. Stay tuned.
If this blog post spoke to you in some way, you may also find their blog interesting and/or helpful.
A little help achieving balance
I’ve been doing a 10-day meditation/mindfulness trial using an application from Headspace. They call it ¨a gym membership for the mind¨. The trail basically guides and helps you take 10 minutes a day for 10 days to meditate/practice mindfulness. I’ve found it very useful!
> CONNECT WITH ME
How do you make sure you keep on track and enjoy your life?
Tell me about your experiences in the pursuit of balance/happiness/your dream by commenting on this blog.
Photos taken in Bolivia, Australia, Colombia, and Chile.