A year ago I quit my job, packed my bags and waved teary goodbyes to my loved ones as I entered border security. I wanted to challenge myself to experience life from a different angle, and I did. I left my comfort zone to explore the unknown… and I was so naïve at the time that I had wine at a strip club thinking it was just a regular bar. Oh, how I’ve changed!
Naturally, coming back to South Africa unemployed and still single, I have ample time to reflect on my year abroad. At first, my thoughts were like the Seattle sky – grey, gloomy and awfully persistent. I tried to focus on the things that made coming back worthwhile, but my brain would continuously default to something better over there every damn time. That’s when I realised, “Oh shoot, this is why my gut told me to cut ties and go… again… just like I left here a year ago”. I came back thinking “Great, Nadia, you went on a life adventure and here you are, still not knowing what the hell you want,” when, actually, I had what I wanted all along…
It’s a fact, most people my age want stability: marriage, kids and money for regular manicures. I don’t blame them. Hell, those things are great! (Maybe not the manicures, I couldn’t give a damn about having flawless fingers for five seconds, because that’s just about how long mine usually lasts). Needless to say, the things listed above are not what I want. And why would you care to read on about what “I” want? Because here’s the thing: every day of our lives, we’re all searching for or chasing after things, people, achievements – wants. But what if I told you that you have everything you want within you and what you should really chase is the things that will stimulate WHO YOU ARE.
So now for the golden question: who are you? Well, who knows! You can be whatever you want! I want to be free from other’s opinions, because I don’t hold on to things that don’t grow me in any way. I want to be independent, because I am most productive when I get to do my own thing. I want to be adventurous; because I feel empowered each time I achieve something that scared me a few seconds ago. I want to help people, because I know I would not have gotten anywhere in this life if no one had ever helped me. And most importantly I want to keep on learning from each person that crosses my path, because if I only learn from my own experiences, I’d have to make a hella lotta mistakes all by myself, and one person can only deal with so many consequences… sharing is caring 😉 So, these are the things that I want, because this is who I am. I am not “Unemployed” or “The One Who Is Still Single”. I am Free, Independent, Adventurous, a willing Helper and eager to Learn.
So, I’ll ask again: Who are you? Are you “Married” or “The One With Kids”? No, it’s not even that complicated. You are YOU. You like certain things – do them! You have dreams – make it happen! (Now if you’re married and/or have kids, don’t think I’m telling you to quit your job, pack your bags and go wave your loved ones goodbye as you enter border security. Hello! You are not me!)
Here’s the other thing about who we are: we constantly undergo change. That’s just the way we were made. There hasn’t been one second since the day we were born where every single part of our bodies, spirits or minds were the same. As we change, what we want changes too. It’s all about the present moment. First, we need to become cautiously aware of our relationship with ourselves. Then we need to find a clearer perspective of where we as individuals stand in relation to time. If we’re reluctantly strolling, eyes closed with a steady pace, on a flat road that’s slowly going nowhere, we’ll end up in a deep dark pit of emptiness reminiscing on all the many chances we had to be something great… if only we didn’t miss our moment.
So what if who you are is challenging you to step into the darkness, to take a risk? What if you dare yourself to do something completely insane? Well, doing it might give other people the impression you’re irrational, impulsive or immature. But you know what it will give you? It will give you the key to yet another aspect of who you are: BRAVE. Maybe that means that we will never reach a point of true fulfilment, because the chase is a never ending cycle of unlocking more and more chambers. But that’s the beauty of it all. That gives us an indication of just how great our capacity for happiness actually is. But the treasure can only grow if we choose to extend our walls.
- Learn who you are
- Find what you want
- Don’t miss your moment
- Keep expanding those walls
Picture taken in Los Angeles at one of the walls featuring the Global Angel Wings Project - a project to remind us that we are the angels of this earth.