Darius, my housemate, irritated me this morning and it inspired a post, hooray! He asked me what I was up to today, and I told him I was applying for jobs.
Darius: ‘But, you’ve already got a job.’
Me: ‘Yeah, but I’m a bit bored of teaching and I’d like to do something more fun. I really miss being outside.’
Darius: ‘Well I think you need to learn to be more adaptable, you’ll be off to Latin America volunteering again in September.’
Me: ‘Yeah, but if I can find something I enjoy more, why wouldn’t I do that?’
Darius: ‘What’s that quote about happiness waiting to meet you, you just need to put out your hand?’
And then I pretended I had something to do upstairs…
I instantly warmed to Darius. He’s intelligent, loves talking about world issues and best of all, he’s incredibly honest. So what pushed my buttons?
Well, he was right. I absolutely need to learn to be more adaptable: I’ve always been very emotional, finding it hard to accept that with highs come lows and that makes life much more exhausting than it needs to be, for myself and others!
Again, he was right: true happiness can only come from within, we’ve all heard / read / seen that, and hopefully experienced it, perhaps just momentarily. It’s definitely something I’m trying to get used to.
But equally, why wouldn’t I do something that makes me happier given the opportunity? Yes, I’m blessed that my work have taken me back, but doesn’t it make perfect sense to find something more enjoyable?
I think that’s one of the strangest things about day-to-day life: we seem to struggle to do what we actually want to do. “Isn’t that selfish?” Well, if we deny our own hearts, aren’t we capable of a lot worse to others? From a young age, we’re taught to tick boxes: Get a job, find a partner, buy a house… The monotony makes me feel sluggish and uninspired. I don’t find living for the weekend, craving goodies, fulfilling anymore. Though it would be easier if I did.
Yet when we travel, we’re forced to live in the present: we’re constantly moving, people come as fast as they go, it’s so rich, unpredictable, alive. “But you can’t do that for long, surely it gets dull too?” Yes absolutely, most long-term travellers I’ve met avoid tourist spots, choosing volunteering instead: it’s cheap, we share, we learn, we feel like children again, it’s utterly magical. Others get so into it they get paid work!
Feeling like an outsider here in the UK lead me to travel alone three years ago. After that eight month trip, I tried to get settled at home, but ended up leaving again for another five months. This time, I’m embracing the fact that I don’t need to fit in anymore. I’ve met so many people like me, felt so positive and strong, I know I’m happiest floating around for now. “When you’re not?” I’ll figure that out then.
“We are animals. We are free animals with a divine spark, we’re not in a farm or a zoo or a theme park, we’re free. We’ve forgotten that we’re free. There’s so much to do, so much on TV, that we’ve forgotten that we’re free.” – Russell Brand
Whatever life we choose, we should do what feels right, surely?
Even if we think it’s going to shock / hurt our the people we care about most, pretending we’re satisfied is essentially bullsh*ting, and that never works out for long. Even if making changes makes us feel isolated and scared initially, it’s so worth it. Ultimately, if we don’t listen to ourselves, do what feels right, we suffer and our loved ones do too, a lot more than we might think.
So thanks Darius, here’s to being honest with ourselves and with each other.