“Is everything all right, Miss?”
The flight attendant must have noticed my smeared mascara and hungover eyes. I had just embarked on a 42 hour journey, rather emotionally leaving my job, family, friends and home in Amsterdam behind. My partner would be waiting for me on the other end: Tahiti.
* * *
To some, my move to Tahiti may have been a shocking one. On a surface level, I had always seemed like the steady good girl, dedicatedly progressing on society’s path towards to success: good grades, great career, nice apartment, solid mortgage.
So it was normal for those who didn’t know me on a deeper level, to wonder whether I was in my right mind to leave everything behind. Especially since I was just recovering from a serious burnout. I guess they would wonder whether my new partner had swayed me, or if perhaps I was desperately trying to escape my city life of constant stress.
But for those who knew me on a deeper level; it was a surprise, sure, but no shock whatsoever.
Because it had been a long time since I’d first started to question pretty much everything about the way we live and the way we work.
It had been a long time since I had began raging about how way too many of us are wasting our energy working on causes we don’t care about, spending our money on things we don’t need, chasing approval from those we don’t like, waiting for retirement to release us from our chains – precisely when our peak health has already left us.
It just didn’t make sense to me.
So it had also been a long time since I’d started to ask myself questions like;
- What would a successful life look like, to me?
- What do I believe in?
- What do I want to contribute to the world?
- How can I combine all of the above?
And over the years, the answers started to come to me. Bit by bit, I got a clearer picture, not only of the life I no longer wanted to live (stressing out to achieve society’s norm of success), but also of the one I did want to life.
I had just never expected that life to take place on an island far away from the people I loved, as well as most of my securities.
But this is what happens when we dare to envision a new kind of life. Before the vision can come into reality, it will dare us to face up to the fears and voices that are holding us back.
But once we do – things can move, fast. Faster than anticipated sometimes.
Because here he was. I had suddenly met a man who elated my heart after years of being single. And he happened to live in a country on the other side of the world, with the kind of lifestyle I desired, where I couldn’t exactly work, apart from online. And my dream just happened to be to build my own business as a coach, in a way that would enable flexibility.
So – I leaped.
And the first six months were not always easy. We didn’t have our own private space to live in. I didn’t speak the local language. I didn’t have a car yet and spent most my time at home. It took time to build my business. I felt alone.
Unfortunately, you can leave your loved ones behind – but your inner demons will always move with you.
So, if we were to assess my decision by the generally accepted norms of success:
- Did my decision improve my credit ratio? No.
- Did it elevate me on the career ladder? No.
- Did it make me more productive or efficient? No.
- Did it bring me a magic pill to instant happiness? No.
Bad decision. Society would say.
Yet, if we were to assess my decision by my own current standards of success:
- Did it start to bring the vision I had for my desired lifestyle into reality? Yes.
- Did it bring me closer to the man I loved? Yes.
- Did it propel me into kick-starting the business I always wanted? Yes.
- Did it teach me more about myself and managing my fears and insecurities? Yes.
- Did it stop my intuition from yelling at me that I was moving in the wrong direction? Yes!
Great decision. I would say.
Success is just a matter of perspective.
And if we have not clearly defined our own vision of success, society will do it for us. And taking a big leap will always feel like a bad decision.
So, if you are on the verge of a big leap, the question you should be asking yourself is not if you are making a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision, but it should be this:
Are you leaping TOWARDS something you want to create in your life, or are you leaping AWAY from something you are trying to to escape?
If it is the latter – just know that you can never escape your inner demons, no matter where you go.
If it is the former – leap, and leap now. Life’s not for waiting.
* * *
“Is everything all right?!” the flight attendant repeated, as it took me a moment to respond.
“No, it’s not.” I told her. “And, YES – everything is perfect. No matter what, I have taken the right decision.”
Puzzled, she left.