That nagging feeling that something’s not quite right.
During my first few years in the workforce, I used to pride myself on my dedication to the job. On sticking with it, even when most of my counterparts had waltzed off in search of money or promotions. I was proud of my misguided dedication.
Once I felt sufficiently entrenched in my job, I started looking out for a new challenge. It seemed like the perfect time to look at another dream: solo adventures. So I reached out to my AIESEC network, got matched to a dream destination and started prepping for my little adventure. A few weeks later, I was happily vacationing in the Italian countryside.
And that’s where it all changed…
An identity. A newfound confidence. A strong sense of self. Everything I’d been chasing without even realizing it, I found there on the other side of the world. I saw myself in a way I hadn’t before. I glimpsed fragments of a life I could have had. A life I began to want.
An adventurous life.
A contented life.
A life that would challenge and push me.
And there in that moment, I was hooked!
Most people would describe this feeling as wanderlust. But that’s just one facet of it.
It isn’t just the desire for a place on a map. It’s a desire for that moment. That one perfect moment where I felt at home, halfway across the world. More importantly, it’s that desire to be the person I used to be. The person I became in that perfect moment.
It’s an almost impossible feeling to describe to someone who’s never experienced it. It just sounds like a bunch of fancy words. It sounds like a lark that one could throw their life away on. But for someone who’s experienced that moment, who’s been there, they recognize how rare and incredible a feeling it could be. They know how tough it is trying to replicate that moment or trying to assuage that restless feeling. It’s a impatient hunger that feeds your soul and yet, demands more…
That restlessness becomes a part of you. And you have to keep searching for ways to feed it.
It’s why I keep quitting.
I tell people ‘I’m bored’ but the truth is, I’m constantly searching for ways to feed that restless spirit. To recapture that elusive magic I found on my trips.
Every decision or milestone since that fateful trip, has been measured by how close it brings me to that amazing feeling. How much closer it brings me to the magic.
Since I’ve quit (and on occasion even before then), I’ve constantly been asked by loyal friends, friendly co-workers and well-meaning family just what it is I’m searching for and how will I know when I find it. (Travelling the world isn’t exactly a sustainable job option where I come from)
And while the answer seems so simple to me, it’s been a little hard to translate…
“I want to create a life that makes me want to jump out of bed every morning.”
And cue the logistical questions…
What does that even mean?
How are you going to survive?
Where will you get money from?
How will you support a family on that when you grow older?
All valid questions. Questions I don’t have answers for right now. (Remember the bit about finding a way to feed that hunger? That’s the step I’m stuck on right now.)
I’m gradually feeling my way into the future. Adding up my options. Calculating which gambles are too costly. Figuring out which options (though scary) lead me closest to the life I want.
Trying to discover a new path back to the magic.