This life is the only one I have and I’m going to live it as I want it
– Sophia on the day of her 25th birthday
This sentence is the number 1 point on my list in my 25 thoughts for 25 years series. Although the order of this list is mostly random and does not reflect a hierarchy of my values, number 1 is always quite significant.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Where to go, what to do, what to say. Some for now, some for the future, some trivial, some significant, some easy and some scary. Thousands of them every day. How do you make your decisions? How long do you think about something before doing it? Do you ask people around for advice? I know I should probably do it more often.
I made plenty of good and bad decisions in my life. One thing I learned, when it comes to the “bigger” steps in life, is to trust my gut. It does require practice, and definitely works better without alcohol’s involvement, but that’s a story for another time.
A little teaser, me with a glass of rosé.
Listening to your intuition can be a tricky and time-consuming process. I tried meditation for this purpose, but my internal discussions about what to do with my life are too vivid and emotional to just sit in one place and breathe. I usually end up talking to myself. Sometimes aloud, to the horror of others.
My way to go about those millions of things that I want in life is to make a bucket list. On it, I have stuff that varies from owning a dog, through jumping with a parachute, to opening a bakery. It keeps my mind structured at least a bit about the decisions I need to make to make these things happen.
As I mentioned before I rarely listen to others. I know myself well enough to do this. However, having and exercising the freedom to make my own choices also means that if something fails I don’t need to perform an excessive investigation about who to blame.
Long story short, I have a bit of a technology phobia or rather, how heavily we rely on machines. I’m consequently denying their power over me.
A few weeks ago I blocked my phone by not typing the password correctly a few times in a row. I tried again and again, but the harder I tried to figure it out, write it down or envision it on the keyboard, the more confused I got. “I will not be defeated by a machine!” I told myself and stubbornly kept putting in the wrong password instead of waiting until I get home and find this tiny scrap of paper I wrote it down on. The result was that I blocked my phone forever and had to restore it, which meant losing data from the past five months because who on Earth backs up their phones regularly. Apparently, most of my friends. And I must admit they told me to do it a couple of times. But a decision was made and I regret nothing, as you can see in the picture below. Ok, I regret some of it, but that’s it.
Listen to your heart but take your head with you.
– Still hoping it’s not Paulo Cohelo.
a.k.a have a plan A but also B, C and D. Still do everything to achieve plan A.
I first came to London when I was fifteen. It was a 3 day trip with my friend and our dads. Since then, I knew that one day I will live here. I came a year later for a whole week of an English course and I made up my mind. I haven’t been here since, until last year when I moved here. I can’t explain my fascination for this city nor my longing for it. It feels like it’s been rooting within me, out of my control, fed by movies, songs, books and dreams.
I made my first attempt to come here 4 years ago when my university offered an exchange placement at the UCL. I wasn’t accepted. Two years ago, I wanted to do a Master’s programme here. I couldn’t afford it. Finally, last year, I graduated in the Netherlands and was faced with a question:
Do I go back home? Do I stay in the Netherlands? Do I go to Nepal and rebuild houses destroyed by an earthquake? Or do I put everything on one card and move to the city that has been at the back of my mind for past ten years? It took me three days to make that decision. Then another two weeks to quit my job in Amsterdam, find a temporary room in London, pack my bags and go.
I gave myself two months to find a job because my savings wouldn’t let me stay longer. It took 6 weeks. I don’t have to tell you how stressful it all was. But I did it. I completed my plan A, my bucket list point, my overdue dream. And I’m having the time of my life.
Life offers you millions of paths to follow. Some are easier, some are hard. Every once in a while, I try to sit back and have a conversation with myself. I ask:
- Am I happy?
- Am I calm?
- Am I satisfied?
If I answer “No” to any of these questions I ask what do I do to answer “Yes”?
What are your answers? Let me know in the comment section!
P.S. Here is a little bonus for you, me at the Platform 9 3/4 ten years ago.