I’ve been speaking to a lot of my friends recently who feel lost in what they are doing. The overwhelming feeling is, ‘Is this it?’ As kids growing up, the concept of adulthood can feel scary yet exciting, as it’s very much up to you to create a life that you want for yourself. Perhaps it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder, or perhaps it’s the looming knowledge that most of us won’t ever be able to afford our own homes, but there’s a constant sense of tiredness. Is this all there is?
In classic Taurus and Virgo Virgo behaviour (withhold your judgement on my love of astrology, please), I tend to hunker down and go with the status quo. I pick my path, and just do it. Every now and then I slip out of gear, and it’s up to me to raise my head and wonder, ‘Do I still even like what I’m doing right now? What am I missing? What do I need to change?’
A saying that very much struck me is, ‘How you spend your days is how you spend your life.’ If you’re grinding away at a job you despise, chances are your life probably isn’t going to be spent out hiking the Swiss alps. You’ll look back on your life and think, ‘Why the hell didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I spend more time doing what I loved?’
The good news is: how we spend our lives is very much up to us. If you don’t like something? Change it. You hate your job? Quit. You want to go travelling? Move country. Of course, this all comes with a certain amount of privilege, but the underlying fact remains: what you do with your life is up to you.
It got me thinking. When I look at my dream life, what am I doing? What does it entail? Who is the person I want to be – and how do I become her?
My dream life contains a lot more travel. I grew up always on the move, whether it was moving countries or schools every two years, to weekend trips away to faraway cities with my parents. Now I have my own life, I seem to have hunkered down. There are so many places I want to visit, and I want to do it in a way that feels true to me.
When I look to the future I want, I keep returning to this vision of driving along a coastal road in a – wait for it – campervan. I’m laughing with someone, and it’s a place I don’t recognize. This is not to say I see my future on the move, as I also envision a bungalow house on an open plot of land, maybe with children, but travelling is a huge part of it. Wide, open spaces are what I crave, and whether that’s driving to unknown destinations with the love of my life, stopping on a cliffside to set up camp, watch the sunset and cook dinner, fall asleep only to wake up the next morning and keep driving, or whether it’s running around with my future children on an expansive piece of land before dinner during the golden hour – both scenarios have a feeling of freedom that I currently lack. A feeling of being carefree and being laid-back that I constantly must remind myself that I’m capable of. In fact, I’m at my very best when I’m carefree and laid-back.
Maybe neither of those situations may come to pass, but the fact remains – I can create them for myself. I don’t have to wait for them to happen to me, because, like a lot of life, waiting for it to happen to you is simply a waste of time. As December drags on and the new year approaches, it’s all about new beginnings. In 2022, I kickstarted my very-grown-up career by reaching out and making opportunities happen for me. In 2023, I’m going to do that with my life.
Come January, I’m going to plan a road trip in a campervan. Maybe along the coast of Ireland, or even down the Pacific Highway in California. Whether I do it alone or with friends or a future lover, who knows – but the point is, what’s stopping me from doing it? If it’s my dream life, what’s stopping me from making it for myself? The world is large and beautiful and full of opportunity; the only thing you have to do is step out of your house and look inward. Where will I take myself next? What life can I create for myself today?