We all know the generic way life is “supposed to go”. Go to school, get into a good university, start a job and work your way up the career ladder, marry someone, have 2.5 children, a car and get the picket fence.
Do you know what I got for checking off everything I could on the checklist by the time I was 23?
BIG, FAT, DIDDLY SQUAT.
It didn’t matter that I was the Head of Content Marketing or making a stupid amount of money for my age. The house I had carefully procured over the years was just STUFF, and the relationships were always doomed against the image Hollywood and one-too-many romance novels had drilled into my head. It got so bad at one point my doctor diagnosed me with depression (I wasn’t depressed…I just wasn’t ME).
So I did what most of us do when we realise society’s checklist isn’t OUR checklist. I went travelling. My very own Eat, Pray, Love journey took me to New York (which was lonely), Cambodia (which was enlightening) and New Zealand (which was full of love with the family).
Along the way, I rediscovered my love for yoga, massage, meditation and spirituality.
It turned out the “girl who just wanted to be the next J K Rowling” had OTHER interests too. This took friends and family some time to wrap their head around for some reason. My advice? Don’t let others opinions stop you. You’re allowed to be a multifaceted person. It makes you more interesting.
Upon my return to the UK, I traded all that money and lifestyle in for a waitressing job while I retrained as a massage therapist (and regained a bank balance). Most of my family and friends thought I was nuts. A lot of them said I would be back to the corporate world.
Instead, what happened was beyond my wildest dreams…
- I ended up starting my own business in less than a year. I now (1 year on) work less than 20 hours a week and make THE SAME amount of money I did working 40 hour weeks in a job that made me miserable.
- I met a man that BLEW romance novels out of the water, because I started loving myself and my life, and he loved that too.
- I moved into a DREAM flat that overlooks a river for my morning coffee at a fraction of the price I was paying for my original one bed house.
But, most importantly…I no longer worried about where the money would come from. Money – that little lifeforce that society clings too as if it’s the be all and end all. It’s not, and I know that now. If everything fell apart tomorrow, I’d know I’d be ok because I’ve already had to start from scratch before.
We are more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.
Our lives are not about the THINGS in it, it’s about what we can DO with it.
For me, the only person telling me I couldn’t do anything else was….well, me. I was telling myself a story about how if I checked off everything on society’s checklist I would be happy. That it was expected of me as a functioning member of society. And if I could do that, I could make more money which would make me happier.
None of it is true.
Create your own checklist, stuff that REALLY lights you up and just go and do it.
You’d be surprised how life works in your favour once you do.