Yes, today is my 59th birthday.
I remember turning 40 and living a completely different life. I was living in a quiet suburbian village outside Gothenburg, Sweden, in a house with 1 800 square meter garden, a garage, two cars, with three children aged 9, 8 and 7, a husband, running my own business, being very involved in the PTA, taking care of most of my children’s activities, being the one changing tires on our cars, gardening, painting the house when needed, sowing most of my children’s clothes, reading bedtime stories …
And being constantly very very tired.
Since then, gradually, I have changed my life. I made a big decision which had a great impact on me and my life when I divorced my husband after 21 years together. From that moment on I slowly started the process of downsizing. That included everything that influenced me in a negative way. And I mean everything. Things that used to take up my time, things that need space to be stored, things that I really don’t need. People. I need good people in my life. So I downsized. Paying that ridiculous rent for living in a popular area. I downsized and saved money.
I downsized in every area of my life and that was the second most rewarding act I have ever done to myself.
October 2016 I left Gothenburg to travel for one year. I rented out my apartment for what felt like a very long time to be away. But one day it felt like a very short time. May 2017 my tenant told me she had to leave 3 months earlier than the contract stated.
I certainly wasn’t ready to go back. But what if I did. And what if I didn’t. All these questions that belong to the future. The future that we don’t know anything about and still we put so much effort and energy to try and control it.
Living in the present doesn’t mean never thinking ahead. But it definitely means choosing what to worry about and what to let go. What is in my control and what is not.
It’s also about making decisions. Everyday there are big and small decisions waiting for us. This has become my reality since I started this journey. Where to go, how to get there, where to stay when I finally arrive, who to trust. And we all struggle with the most difficult part when it comes to decision making.
Making the right decision.
I was walking a tiny path surrounding the Dalai Lama temple in McLeod ganj, Dharmasala. To me it seemed like a peaceful place where monks and nuns walked slowly. A nun stopped and greeted me asking me what I was doing there, where was I going. She informed me that I should be going clockwise on that path, that clockwise was the right direction, and that at this hour it was dangerous to walk alone. I thanked her for her advise but decided to continue the way I started. On my way, meeting others, I felt a bit bad about going the wrong direction, I was singling myself out, being that odd person in the eyes of everyone else. Then I realised that this was the right direction for me because of two reasons. If it really was dangerous to walk there I would have the chance to see who was coming in front of me and I could make a quick risk evaluation, and the light was on my favour when photographing people. Turns out my direction was as good as the advising nun’s. Different but not wrong.
When we struggle to make the right decision, failure will always be our companion.
Decisions made based on fear will never get us to a good place.
Falling, bruising our knees and getting up on our feet, making mistakes and learning from them, that is living life.
I have no clue what so ever what my life will look like a month from now. Even less a year from now. Taking the decision to not go back, yet, to stay on the road is a good decision for now. The good thing is that I can make a new decision if and when needed.
So, happy birthday Me. Enjoy the adventures to come, stay in the present, continue meeting awesome people, see places, go on saying yes to what life is offering.