After four wonderfully enlightening and hilarious years in Wales, the time had come to finally leave. My friends had finished university and were finally moving away to start their careers. Living in that tiny, seaside town wouldn't be the same without them, so I felt there wasn't much worth hanging around for!
I then learnt that I was going to Bolivia in the Autumn. So that was it sealed. The end of the chapter was reached, and it was time to embrace the next step.
I handed in my notice at the supermarket I was working in, and bid farewell to my work colleagues. I felt so proud and relieved that day. Even though it was a basic job, it helped me get on my feet after a tough period of unemployment. That job allowed me to support my family while they too were unemployed, about to lose their home and were visiting local food banks. I even managed to save a little bit of money to put towards my next adventure! Despite all of that, I made sure I had enough to enjoy myself and have decent food. I worked very hard, and got a lot back in return!
Now I probably make it sound easy!
This past year has been the hardest year in my adult life. It began with being unemployed and unable to find a job for months. Then around Christmas time, I had to go through a difficult breakup. I felt incredibly lonely, as though I couldn't reach out to or be understood by anybody. I was miles away from my family and couldn't afford to go home. So I stuck it out. I decided to occupy myself with more pressing issues in my life - my direction, my purpose, my place in the world, and how to make the life that I want. I started spending more time with my friends and reached out to them, and we became very close. We had brilliant times together that I'll always remember!
But despite that, there were many frightening nights I felt lost, trapped, restrained and powerless. I was working over 40 hours a week and I felt my job was consuming my life. My quality of life wasn't bad, but I felt like I couldn't escape my routine and move forward. On those frightening nights I would sit on my doorstep, staring at the moon - the moon always makes me feel peaceful - praying for some intervention or directing force. Now I'm not a religious person at all, but this kind of spiritual practice helped me enormously. I felt so skinned of my options, and the stress that resulted made me recalculate what I wanted to do with my life. I started to ask myself very raw questions to make sense of things:
'What is my purpose here?'
'How can I make myself useful for the world?
'What do I have to give?'
I still haven't answered those questions. But I started listening for answers. I listened to my instincts and I became more receptive of my thoughts and feelings, even the ugly ones! I became more observant and mindful of how I react towards certain situations, people, activities, feelings and thoughts in my daily life. I've noticed particular things that I enjoy and that make me feel good as a person. After a while, I'm sure a recurrent theme will become clear, and I can begin to steer my life towards it. For now, it's noticing the little hints, and trusting that they will take me closer to the answering those questions.
That is what my life is about right now!
So I left Wales. I packed as much of my things into my one suitcase and booked my train back to Newcastle. On a very sunny, still afternoon I said goodbye to my friends, and we parted ways. I'm really going to miss living with them. It's not often I find people who accept my strangeness and my weird imagination, but I felt so comfortable around them and we were always being daft together!
Living back at home in Newcastle is very different, but I'm embracing the change. It's time I make the next step and figure out the answers to the questions I mentioned earlier.
Right now, I think have a good idea of where I would like to go and what I would like to do: I want to go to medical school; I want to help people; I want to travel; I want to improve lives; I want to hear people's stories; I want to talk to people and give them hope; I want to bring people together; I want to give people a chance of happiness. But no doubt the future will produce unexpected and difficult choices that can lead me far away from where I think I ought to be. I just have to have trust in my moral GPS to tell me which choices to make, and wait in hope that it leads me to my optimum way of being.
So I'm going to Bolivia in two weeks.
That's all I have planned so far!
I'm going to see what happens there, and I hope I return home at Christmas with a better idea of what I want, which step to take, and a more resolute answer for my questions!
Thanks for reading! :)