I wrote the first part of this reflective blog post 2 months ago, mid-way through a strict Sydney lockdown when I wasn’t feeling at my best. I didn’t finish writing the post but thought I’d share the original snippet anyway, as it paints a picture of the rollercoaster journey that is life. I’ll continue the post with my most recent reflections of life after leaving Australia once again.
Thank you for being here.
August 18, 2021
“I want to feel all of it, I really do.”
Those were my last words to 33, my annual ode to the year that was. I just reread that post for the first time in, perhaps, one whole year. It brought up mixed emotions – melancholy, compassion, nostalgia. It was an inspiring post yet, ironically, here I am one year later lacking, and longing for, the same kind of earnest inspiration that poured into those words on the cold, winter morning of June 30, 2020.
Inspiration, by definition, is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something – especially to do something creative. At the edge of 34, I was so inspired. At the edge of 35, inspiration is a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. I feel as though I need her though, I need to hear that voice on the end of the line. I feel as though if I do, she will make things seem a whole lot better. She will make me feel a whole lot better.
I really wanted to go into 35 with the same positive energy as the girl I was one year ago, but that wasn’t the case. On my birthday, Sydney had just gone into the start of what would be the cities worst lockdowns. It had been almost 500 days since the global pandemic threw us all off track, uniquely changing our narratives forever. On a personal level, I had lost a lot of the things that made me feel whole…
October 4, 2021
Wholeness, by definition, is a state of harmony. I feel incredibly lucky to have had 34 years in this lifetime to know myself, and to learn what wholeness means to me. Because wholeness is ultimately unique to each and every one of us. I can’t determine what makes you feel whole, and you can’t determine what influences my wholeness. Just as each of our narratives is unique in nature, so is what drives our own innate harmony.
Yet often, in order to know ourselves in harmony, we must know ourselves in dissonance.
Writing this now, I can look back in gratitude on the dissonance I felt in life this year. However, at the time I just remember feeling quite lost and disoriented, trying to make sense of life in 2020/2021 just like the rest of us. I mean, they were some really trying times (subjectively speaking). I recall months where I’d just cry every day. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know what I was crying about. After a while, I couldn’t even determine if it was my own emotion or the turbulent emotion of the collective. All I knew was it had to be released and so it came out in tears. I could have watered a garden with my tears this year. Maybe in some magical way, I was watering my own metaphorical garden, each teardrop aiding the growth of a new phase in life, helping me to realise what my dissonance truly was at that moment in time.
Fast forward to today, I can’t say I have it all figured out. But one great thing that came from those trying times was my decision to leave Australia and continue on my journey both physically and spiritually. I still reflect on why I felt so unaligned in Sydney. Could it simply be that I just don’t want to live that life? Am I not up to the daily grind? Or is it deeper? Am I destined to continue seeking and growing in places that ignite my soul? I don’t yet have it figured out but I do know that leaving Sydney, despite leaving someone I love so much, felt so right.
You see, congruence occurs when our self-identity aligns with our actions. For a long time this year, I was living in a state of inner conflict where my lifestyle was so far from the reality I desired for myself. For the past 6 years, I had actively participated in creating the life I truly wanted – a life led by freedom of movement, a life where I had the ability to work remotely and be where in the world I wanted to be. A life not governed by time or fear, or societal expectations. A life where I could connect with people, volunteer my time, learn about the world through the lens of others. And yet, I wasn’t living this way.
In all fairness, I didn’t have much choice in the matter dealing with a global pandemic and all. But then again, didn’t I have a choice? Don’t we all have a choice in how we show up to the world? Whether we show up with love or fear?
I believe we all have a self-identity and a set of values and ideas about who we inherently are and who we want to be in this life, whether we know it yet or not. If we can, it’s healthy to embody those values and to align our actions to them. If we live a life that goes against the fundamentals of our self-identity this can lead to inconsistency in who we truly believe we are versus who we show the world we are. That inconsistency may manifest itself as anxiety or if prolonged, cause serious imbalances in mental wellbeing. In my experience, the latter has a lot of truth to it. I’ve felt this time and time again, and feel extremely grateful to have grown to know myself enough to recognise when things are out of congruence for me.
At 35, I’m happy to say that I’m honouring the life I want to live at this point in time. In many ways, I’m still getting to know myself; learning and understanding who it is I want to be in this life; who I want to show up as, to the world. It has been 6 years since I started The Altruistic Traveller, I’ve grown and achieved a lot since then. If I am lucky enough to continue growing, achieving, connecting and finding my way to wholeness that’s all I could really ask for right now.
Let’s see what this new year of life will bring for us all.