I fell flat at the end of 2018, likely because as my good friend Chrissy suggested, I’d had such an epic and intense year full of travel, work and adventure.
It was my Year of the Nomad, a good excuse to take a one-year pre-retirement vacation and visit as many people across the globe as I could. I learned a lot from this year. Mainly that everyone does this life thing differently. There’s no real right or wrong to it, no formula to happiness or books that will lead you down the right path. Stay true to who you are and who you want to be, fulfil your potential and be kind to others. That’s what I know about happiness, in addition to surrounding yourself with good people, pushing your boundaries, living simply, and leaving a little space for love in-between.
I spent the last three months of this year working in the Middle East to pay off the travel I’d done and save for a little this year. It was the first time in 3.5 years I’d worked back in the fast paced freelance world of international events, and it took me a full two weeks to convince myself I could still do it. I suffered one of the largest struggles with self-confidence I remember having since 2006, when I was 23 and about to get on a plane to the Philippines to plan the Asian Games Torch Relay’s first leg in the city of Manila. It was a huge responsibility for me back then, and I remember bursting into tears in the office bathroom one evening when the stress of the project got the better of me.
I had no choice but to face up to the challenge then, and I had no choice in the matter more recently either. I would have thought after 35 years with everything I’ve done and all the experience behind me I’d be oozing with confidence. But this is not the case; in fact it sometimes works against me. I could hear that little voice inside my head whispering, ‘But what if I can’t do it this time with all these expectations on me?’
I tried an online mobile therapy app called Talkspace at the end of last year, and although it helped put some of my self-confidence issues into perspective and prevent me from falling victim to my own negativity, it didn’t quite match sitting face-to-face with someone in a room to air out my dirty laundry. My ‘To Do’ list for 2019 includes finishing my book, buying a van, and finding a decent therapist. I’m hoping to rediscover my self-confidence, find my own space and rhythm in this world, and let my heart run free. I spent so much of last year observing the lives of others, this year I need to get back to building a life around me.
The ongoing question is always where, and because Canada ticks so many boxes except the fact I hate the cold and suffer the darkness of winter, all arrows seem to be pointing me back there. Prior to my departure from Australia however, I’m going to take my first ever surfing lessons in Sydney and go hiking around Tasmania with Tom who I met in New Zealand. I was tossing up between heading straight back to Vancouver or taking another job in the Middle East, but surfing and hiking are much more enticing options, and were two of the choices that pulled me right out of my end-of-year funk during the last week. Adventure always equals happiness for me.
So as you enter this brand new year, whether it’s with trepidation, expectation, fear, anxiety or glee, remember there are no hard and fast rules to follow. Create your own way of life that makes you and those around you happy. Push your boundaries, try something new, and most of all enjoy the journey. We’re just so lucky to be here.