“Your second life begins when you realise you only have one.” – Raphaelle Giordano
I lack the vocabulary necessary to articulate the content I feel for my life and all it currently encompasses. It is unbelievable to even acknowledge that it has been three months since I surrendered the life I had always known in search for the life I had always wanted. Upon reflection, it often feels as if I only boarded my flight to Italy yesterday, in other cases it feels like a lifetime ago. Three months of pasta, pizza, vino, limoncello and gelato is as wonderful and dangerous as it sounds.
There is a significant contrast between what I’m currently doing in life and what I imagine I’d be doing if I was still at home.
Now, my day typically consists of waking, without an alarm might I add, and taking the time to enjoy the birth of a new day over breakfast. After that, it’s very relaxed – depending on the type of day, I’ll either stay in and write or learn something new, catch the bus into the city or explore a nearby town. The most rewarding thing about my decision to move overseas is that I have no where I need to be, and everywhere I want to be. Having very little responsibilities allows me to invest my time into developing certain aspects of my life.
If I hadn’t made the decision to move to Italy, I’d probably still be doing what I had always been doing – working towards fulfilling a checklist of achievements that I had no interest in. Go to university – get a well paying job – buy a house – get married – start a family – work until you die. A checklist that was created centuries ago, by someone I’d never known, and who I imagine, would have lived a very different life to that of my own. And although there is nothing wrong with the people that choose to live this life, it’s not a life that aligns with my values or the life I see for myself. I envision my life without marriage and without children of my own, without owning a home, without an obsession for attaining more money and definitely without living to work – I want my life to be about exploring the world and new cultures, helping and connecting with people, and experiencing as much as I possibly can.
The human race is slave to a culture of not enough. Not enough money; not enough material items; not enough devotion. Not enough of anything. We spend our lives accumulating in excess because we believe life will be easier, more valuable, if we have more than what we currently possess. The hard truth is that no matter how little or how much you have, there will always be room for more. The scale is infinite. There is no end. There is no point of satisfaction in this culture. You can get far living this way, but it’ll never be far enough.
I became so overwhelmed with life because every time I gave into this culture, the shackles around my wrists and ankles got tighter. I based my entire existence on fulfilling these expectations because society made me believe that my life would only be worth something if I did. I was in a constant state of shrinking myself and taking up as much space as I could, pushing and pulling at my being, in search for my position in the world. I hung up my dreams and desires to pursue a life that always left me feeling like I was behind – no matter what I did, it was never enough. I wanted my life to be about what I already had, not what more I could have had.
Who was I and what was I supposed to be doing with my life? The answer, I still don’t really know. Perhaps the answer isn’t as simple as we think. Perhaps it is meant to evolve and change as we do. Perhaps the fluidity of life means that it cannot be defined. Perhaps we are many different beings fulfilling many different purposes at the same time. Perhaps we should be governing our lives under the premise of what feels right in this very moment. What I am sure of, is that I am free to explore every possibility of who I am and what my life will entail.
The truth is, though, I’ve always possessed the freedom that I revel in now – it was just buried beneath life’s expectations and the never enough culture. The sole difference between who I was and who I am now? A revelation. My life changed instantly when I realised that I don’t have to live my life based on a checklist of achievements if I don’t want to. I don’t have to buy into the never enough culture if I don’t want to. I am in control. I am the composer; I am the artist; I am the author of my own life. And you know what? I could probably get a whole lot further than what I would if I followed that checklist and I’d have the time of my life doing it.
Now, I’m not telling you to quit your job, sell everything you own and move to the other side of the world – unless it’s something you want for yourself, in that case, go for it. I’m telling you to stop and really consider what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and if it’s something you actually want to do. I’m telling you to stop doing what everyone else is doing and what everyone else thinks you should be doing. I’m telling you to leave behind the idea that creating your own path is not an option in life. Because it is. You will have doubts, and failures, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much more enjoyable the process of life is when you’re doing something you actually enjoy.
Life is not a fact of right or wrong and neither should the path you choose be considered the same. None of us ever receive a map in life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create our own. Success in life shouldn’t be measured by the sum of money in your bank account, by how much stuff you own, or by your status – it should be measured by the content you feel.
So, when you see me next time, instead of asking me if I am studying, if I have a partner, if I own a house, or if I am starting a family, ask me if I am happy. Ask me if I am truly happy with the life I have created for myself. Ask me what gives me a sense of fulfilment, and ask me what I do every day to move closer to that.
I wish you all courage in whatever path you choose to take in life, and whatever order you decide to do it in.