About 7 weeks ago, I dropped a blogging bombshell. I announced that I was moving to France for a month. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short days, my time here will be over (at least for now). I did it. I stood and faced that crazy-ass, ultimate, huge fucking dream, and I said, “why not?”
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as easy as that. It took a few days of “what the fuck am I doing”-ness, but ultimately, once I let an inkling of that big dream into my consciousness, I knew there was no going back. I had to do this.
And I’m so….relieved….that I did.
You might recall that post when I announced my big plans. I made a list of all the reasons why I needed to do this. And so that I might wrap this whole experience up with a neat and tidy bow, I thought I’d re-visit that list and give a wee update on where I’m at now:
I want to feel free to be creative, and to create, in whatever way I choose, whenever I choose.
I don’t know that I would say that I’ve done a lot of “creating” while here – at least, not in the way that I envisioned myself being when I first wrote that sentence. I pictured myself composing music, writing lots of blog posts, using my hands and being colourful. But although I haven’t been creating in that sense, I have certainly been creative. I realized I had locked my creativity up for the last little while. I let it out every now and then to play, whenever it felt like it was “appropriate,” but I was not exercising it on a daily basis. Since I’ve been here, I’ve let my mind wander free and I’ve been embracing creative urges, spilling random words into notebooks, indulging in “where to now?” conversations, listening to and reading things that make me feel alive. I have missed this. It’s such an essential part of who I am, and I was hiding it away.
I want to not feel burdened by the weight of intelligence, and instead, feel liberated by the creative resources of my own brain.
I don’t think I realized it when I wrote it, but I was searching for a way out. I felt like I wasn’t living up to my intellectual potential; that I was somehow letting down the world by not being traditionally “smart”. You know, like getting a stable 9-5 job in a cushy, “use your brains” field like investments, or law, or teaching, or rocket science. I was feeling flaky; I felt like I had no right to have a trillion different career paths that I wanted to try. I felt like I was too old for that, that it was time to just “settle down” and “be somebody.”
The first book I read here was The Renaissance Soul, and suddenly my world clicked into place. I’m not designed to do just one thing. I would go severely crazy. I like to have my hands in a bunch of different projects. I like to focus on many things at one time. And that’s a GOOD THING. The working world is shifting – those that are lighting the path are the entrepreneurs, the creative brains, the people that do what they love, the people that do many things. I am meant to be one of those people.
I want to make peace with the fact that I don’t make as much money as my peers.
This one was a big surprise for me. I pictured myself hunkering down and giving myself a good “talking-to” about how money doesn’t matter, and that I should just do what I love, even if it isn’t financially rewarding because, hey – then at least I’m doing what I love. But the opposite happened. I realized that I can make as much money as my peers, and I can do it doing things I love. It just may look different than everyone else. I don’t need to climb a corporate ladder and rely on someone else to give me a raise and a big fancy title. I can make money doing a ton of things. And yeah, I may not be Vice-President of Marketing for some Big Important Company (because that actually makes me want to vomit). But instead, I get to do whatever floats my boat, and if I’m dedicated and good at it, I can charge whatever the heck I want.
I want to determine if I feel that I should be doing something more with my life, or if I am actually content with where I am.
I think I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between being content and being fulfilled. Sure, I wasn’t sad or depressed or poor or lonely or bored (actually, I was pretty bored). But I sure as hell wasn’t doing anything to really feed my soul. I’ve realized that I kinda owe it to myself to do more. And yeah, it might take some work. But that’s ok, ’cause it’ll be worth it.
I want to feel like I deserve to sit and read a book for 4 hours straight.
Well, I definitely did this. A lot. And while I still think it will be hard for me to process this weird guilt that I have associated with sitting and reading a book in the middle of the day while other people are at work, I need to remember that they could be doing that too if they wanted. That while I may get to read during the middle of the day, I also work really early in the morning, or late at night, or on weekends. And most of the time, no one is paying attention anyways!
I want to befriend the cliquey high-school bitches that live in my mind and tell me I can’t/shouldn’t/don’t know how to do things.
This is the one I’m most afraid of. Right now, here in Bordeaux, I’m too excited about the things I want to do when I get home that I don’t have time to stop and listen to those bitchy voices. I just don’t care. But I do worry that once I’m home and settled back into a routine that those voices will start to creep back in. I think as long as I have a plan, I’ll be ok. And when my plan starts to feel stale, I’ll need to take a few steps back and make a new plan. Those cliquey bitches don’t know what to do with plans. In fact, I think the reason they start their bitching is to bring my attention back to the fact that I no longer have a plan that’s working. It’s not a very nice way to do things, but maybe they’re just trying to help (seems to me there might better ways to do this, but hey, they’re only in high school. What do they know?)
I want to be free of the day-to-day things that tie me down and seem to overwhelm any creative urges or instincts I might have.
Day to day things only tie me down because I let them. How long does it really take to do the laundry? Not that long. How long does it really take to cook dinner? No more than an hour, and it’s a fabulous hour if there’s wine and music involved. Everyone has to do those day to day things. But in reality, they don’t take that much time. Seriously.
I want to indulge in some pure and total selfishness (and feel content about it).
Yup, check that one off the list. But I’ve realized that being selfish is sometimes a necessity for sanity. And it doesn’t mean that I have to be all cruel and uncaring towards other people and their needs – that’s a totally different kind of selfishness. It just means that every now and then, it’s pretty damn crucial to listen to yourself. In fact, I’d say it should actually be more frequent than every now and then – it should be a life practice. The fastest way to build unhappiness in my life has been to ignore my own urges and instincts. I think we all need to be okay with being selfish. It’s life-changing.
So, where to now? In a few days, I’ll be home, snuggling my poor lonesome kitties and ready to take on the world. I have some big ideas, and big plans and I’m excited to get going! I don’t know that I’ll ever have everything all figured out, but I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m MORE than okay with that. It’s kind of ideal really.