Compare! We all do it, huh? We’re always comparing ourselves to others, especially in the hectic world of social media that we now live in. We are constantly fed images and updates of how wonderful and amazing everyone’s lives are, how inspiring their life is and how happy they are. However, this doesn’t fool me at all. It used to, but I soon grew to learn it wasn’t real. The thing we have to remember is that it’s all a facade. People only choose to post what they want the world to see, and I get it. We all want that perfect life and we want to share that with the world. But the reality is, life isn’t perfect. There is no such thing!
New Years has passed, and it was the end of a defining period in my life. 2 years ago I had set out on a mission to change and find the life I had always wanted to live. I had an idea of what I wanted, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get it. Like a toddler learning to crawl, I started with baby steps. I moved interstate and left everything I knew behind. I enrolled at night school and I just started.. step by step.
Changing your life in your early 30’s is not easy and I knew it wasn’t going to be. Making friends is harder and there are a lot of times where you think to yourself, sitting in your room when you’re having a low day “What the fuck have I done?” “Was this all worth it?” “My life was so much easier before this!!”. The thing I always told myself though, is that I wasn’t happy.
I had great friends, people who I’d known since I was a young teenager. I had a very well paid job, my family was close by and there was no reason, looking from the outside, that I should have been unhappy. However, something was just missing. I wasn’t able to be myself.
When I set out and packed up my things in Brisbane and moved to Melbourne, I thought “This is it, I’ve made this big change, things are just going to happen!” But life doesn’t work that way. Anything that fulfills you in life, you have to work hard and earn it. Otherwise, what is the point? If we could all have everything we wanted, just given to us on a whim, we wouldn’t appreciate it. And man, since moving here, have I met some people who have been given everything and all I can say is that they have no concept of reality!
I had set some very clear goals, to be completed within a 2 year period, before I left and I thought I’d share them in this post, otherwise, this post would just be another post without them.
- Study and complete a Diploma in digital imaging (photography)
- Become a working, professional photographer
- Leave my corporate life behind
- Chase no one (That includes anyone)
- Find me and keep him around
- Find the good in the simple things
- Stop my anxiety or at least become aware of the triggers
- Be content and trust the process
- Be in a stable relationship (yeah, this was a goal)
Some of these were quite measurable, but then some others weren’t. Some of them also might come across to be quite trivial to most, but to me, these were very important goals for me to reach, as they were virtually impossible for me to complete when I was living in my hometown.
The thing is when you pack up and leave everything and everyone you know behind, it gives you the freedom and breathing space to finally explore. Explore yourself, your new surroundings, explore new emotions and express yourself freely. Eventually, you know exactly what you like, what you don’t like, what you want to do, what you don’t want to do, what you’ll tolerate from people and what you will not. You find joy in being by yourself because let’s face it when you move to a city where you don’t know anyone, you’re going to be alone with yourself for quite some time. So, you force yourself to do things on your own, where previously you wouldn’t have done so. The thing I now love to do is to go and do something that you’d usually do with someone else. I take myself out on a date once a month and will have dinner, go to a bar for a drink or take myself to the movies. It’s OK to do it alone and I find it fulfilling!
This all seems I’m now projecting an Instagram post where my life seems so complete and happy. I’ll be totally honest, it’s not. I still have down days. Days where I feel alone, days where I still question myself and where this journey is taking me. I’m still hard on myself on a daily basis and still question my singledom (if that’s even a word). I was hoping to have a stable relationship within this 2 year period. I have dated, but they haven’t worked out. Sometimes it was because of me and sometimes it was because of them. However, I have tried to learn from every encounter and take the negative and make them into a positive experience. The last 2 years has made me so much more aware of myself, something that I didn’t anticipate and something that my psychologist knew would happen, but probably chose not to tell me and let me work it out on my own. Well played Sir, well bloody played!
So when 2017 came to a close, I started to reflect. I thought about where I was 2 years ago and compared myself, to…MYSELF! I couldn’t be happier but more important content. I am no longer in the corporate world and am now working as a photographer. I’m not yet a successful one, but that wasn’t in the original plan. It was to just be a photographer. I am open to my feelings and don’t chase people. If they choose to stick around, that’s a bonus, if they don’t that’s fine too.
I found myself, finally, and absolutely love this dude that I used to suppress. It’s taken me a while, but I have learned to trust the process and in turn, it has taught me patience. I haven’t completed my Diploma in the designated time period, but that’s ok, there’s nothing wrong in changing the goal post when it initially doesn’t go to plan when it’s out of your control. You can make it work if you want it that badly.
The last 2 years has taught me to see the joy in the simple things. Not everything has to be super dramatic and fun, to be enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s also not to say all of this hasn’t come with sacrifices, as it has. A lot. I’ve missed out on pivotal moments with family, I’ve missed out on group trips and time spent with friends. I don’t get to see them as often, but I know that our relationships would have grown harder if I stayed, as the person I was then wasn’t fun to be with. He was lost. I have had to slowly disconnect from relationships that didn’t serve me purpose anymore or were toxic (especially new ones I had created here in my new home) and I have had to learn a whole new way of thinking.
Spending so many years in a corporate environment narrows your thought process. Towards the end, I wouldn’t have been able to rebel against it and make the decision to leave when the opportunity was given to me if I didn’t commit to my creative endeavours with every free hour that I had outside of it. That meant turning down Friday drinks, socialising on weekends and all the fun stuff that you should be doing in your thirties. I have loved every minute of it.
This new life I have created for myself is now only starting to begin and the next few years will be my hardest yet, but enjoyable as I try and reach the next set of goals that I will set for myself for the next 2,3 even 5 years and hopefully, after that, I shall have some more interesting stories, accomplishments, travel stories and above all failures that I will get to share with you.
One thing that I haven’t mentioned, is I am so grateful for the people that I still have in my life. Near and far, new and old. There were probably times when they wanted to kick me in the teeth, but they have stuck around (thankfully I still have most of my teeth..minor the 2 that succumbed to the dreaded killer “sugar”). They have copped my rants when I needed to vent and have always supported me on this journey and reminded me why I am doing what I have been working towards these past 2 years. To you stellar gents, and wonderful ladies (they know who they are) you’re a little awesome!
So, as mundane and boring as it is, here’s to new goal setting and the eventual satisfaction that will come when we complete them, no matter how long they take 🙂