I'm a week away from being back in the Van, and it's not a day too soon. The last five months in Auckland have been challenging. But they have also taught me a few valuable lessons.
I'm not going to lie, the last few months have been a struggle. I lacked energy, motivation and inspiration. I've been feeling really stressed, and yes, I have been busy but not so busy that I should feel as stressed as I do. I've been a lot more negative and pessimistic than I usually am. I have found it much harder than usual to stay away from sugar and really haven't been eating well. And to top it all off, I've been struggling with a really sore back that has made a lot of everyday things painful and that has prevented me from surfing and kitesurfing for more than two months now. In other words, things haven't been easy.
But despite all that, I am really glad that I had these five months because it has taught me a lesson I needed to learn at some stage - so I might as well get it out of the way now.
I wouldn't consider myself an overly spiritual or esoteric person, but I do believe that things are connected and that there is some overarching energy that has a huge impact on how we feel – both physically and mentally.
I could look at all my challenges in isolation and find logical explanations for them. I'm feeling stressed because I'm working so much. I lack energy and motivation because it's winter and cold and grey outside. I'm more negative because, to be fair, I have had a few setbacks. I'm giving in to the sugar cravings because it helps me deal with the stress. And my back is sore because of some kind of injury.
All of that might be true, but I also know that there is more to it. There is something else that explains why I've been feeling this way and why I've been struggling.
I've been out of alignment with my true self.
Before these past five months, I had found myself. I had figured out what matters to me and what doesn't and how to live a life that gives me everything I need without overloading and distracting me with things I don't need. I had figured out that freedom and independence mean more to me than money and wealth. I had figured out that adventure and inspiration are more important to me than a successful career in the traditional sense or a big house.
I was living by my personal values. I was true to myself. I was happy and healthy.
And yet, five months ago I decided to give all of that up to move back to the city and work a lot for at least five months.
Why? Because I thought I should. Because of that annoying little voice in my head that keeps getting caught up in what everyone else is doing and what society tells me I should be doing with my life. Because even though I knew I was living life my way and that I was on the right track, I still get pulled back into that traditional view of "I have to make more money" even though I know I don't.
But I'm glad I did. I'm glad these last five months happened because now I know with more certainty than ever, that this life is not for me. If I knew before that I was on the right track despite the doubts in my head, I really, fully and absolutely know that now.
The doubts will probably always be there. But I know now not to listen to them. Next time that annoying little voice tells me to go back to working 50+ hours a week so I can afford all the things everyone else is buying, I know not to listen. I know that the price is too high and it's not worth it. I know I rather not go on an exotic trip or buy expensive shoes and instead work less and live more.
I still believe that there is a financial reality to life. And I know I'm not someone who wants to live paycheck to paycheck. There will be times when I need to work more and focus on earning money. But next time, I will find a better way. Maybe it will be for a shorter time, or maybe I just work a bit more year around instead of doing it all in a few months. I don't know yet.
The only thing I know for sure is that I don't ever again want to feel as out of alignment with myself as I have for the last five months.
I'm one of the lucky people who knows who she is, what my values are, and how I want to live my life. The last five months have taught me not to get derailed that easily just because of occasional doubts in my mind.