LifeMental HealthTravel

The Power of Choice; I’m actually staying in one place!

At the beginning of this year I decided to try “living everywhere” for as long as I could via family, friends and house sitting, while I saved up and re-adjusted to UK costs. The thing is, I was also trying to work through other things like depression, anxiety, and setting up a social media consulting business (I’m doing it, it’s working!!) and moving around that often, staying in spaces that weren’t really my own, made things like this very difficult to do. Every time I started to get stuck in and make progress it was on to somewhere new, and the short term adjustments stopped me making long term ones.

So, I went and viewed a house share on Wednesday, did a tonne of re-budgetting, made a plan, and on Sunday I moved into my room.

When I’m not hard at work I will be staring out my window watching the gulls, or popping round the corner (literally, the other side of those buildings) to the beach! I’ve moved so many times, packed so many bags and boxes, in so many different situations. It always feels like a new chapter and this one has started so calmly compared to the rest.

The Power of Choice

My last blog and newsletter announced this crazy plan to live everywhere for a year, and obviously that’s not lasted. Past me would have seen this as a failure or worse might have carried on pushing towards a goal that just wasn’t achievable, and more importantly, wasn’t good for me!

I’ve been making a lot of these choices recently and while I’ll never stop day-dreaming and thinking big, creative, ridiculous ideas, I have given up on holding myself to goals that no longer feel relevant. Is it good to have a plan? Absolutely! Should that plan be concrete? No way! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again: As soon as you make any firm plan, Life will inevitably turn around and say “Um, actually no, that’s up to me, not you”.

A Movement Metaphor

A while ago I wrote a tonne of notes in my phone (a common thing for me to do when I can’t sleep in the early hours) all based around this metaphor that life is a bit like learning to drive a car. Until you start to take the controls you’re stuck on someone else’s routine: The buses, the trains, the lifts, the daily grind. Their delays and engineering works become yours, but it’s also convenient, less risky, and overall quite reliable. It can take a while to get yourself in the driving seat, and to learn where everything is and what it does, but once you do learn to drive you finally find your rhythm! Suddenly you can choose the pace, the speed, the route, the destination, and who else gets in the car with you to join you for the ride.

Well, until life takes control. No matter how good you are at driving there will always be bumps in the road, break-downs, even full-on crashes that cause damage to you and your car, that take years of work to repair. Navigating life is like a hard to read map or a sketchy sat-nav. You put in the destination and start driving. You have a plan. For a while the road is clear as day, the music is blasting and you’ve having a great time! And then suddenly out of nowhere you look at the road you’re driving down and think “Um, really, that’s where we’re going?!”.

You then have a choice. There’s the scary route; these usually look so daunting and scary and full of POT HOLES and ditches. They’re a muddy, swampy, bumpy mess and you are sure you’re going to get stuck somewhere in the middle if you take this road. It’s a lot of work. Meanwhile, there’s this lovely well-kept, well-used road just next to it with sign-posts and clear stop-points. You could cruise down that road.

Honestly, there is no wrong choice here. Whichever road you choose, you will never truly know the destination you will end up in. The sat nav of life may decide to steer you off to a different course anyway! Then again if you do choose the road less trodden, if you can see light at the end and a very faint but clear-enough track, you may well find something incredible at the end, as well as a route that others can then take too. Or you might get lost.

Thank you Elon Musk

Thank you Elon Musk for inventing something that just perfectly completes my metaphor. The third option. This one incredible thing that I think sums up how I’d absolutely like to live life if I ever had the means and the guts to… THE TESLA. Choosing a Tesla means you choose to go with the flow COMPLETELY. You put in your destination in, put your complete faith into it, and just let the car (life) decide the route and leave it entirely to the metaphorical fate that is technology. Not everyone can of course afford a Tesla, and not everyone can afford to let life just “do it’s thing”. But just incase you ever do find yourself in such an awesome position – maybe consider taking that chance!

The irony of all of this is that I actually can’t drive a car, and have to present my lovely green provisional driving license with my 16-year-old face on whenever I’m ID’d. So who am I to talk, really?! Just another human who has decided to share their thoughts and perspectives on the internet.

While I will one day (maybe, probably) learn to drive, I will always be practicing how to learn the controls of my own life, and when I need to just let go of them. In terms of the journey so far, I’ve been to some interesting places and found some really cool routes. I’ve been on a lot of trains, I’ve sometimes gotten off at the wrong stop. It looks really cool on Instagram, but honestly, I’ve mostly been struggling to work out which way up the map goes, eventually given up on precision and then decided to follow my vague sense of direction down an inevitably muddy, bumpy, awful road, because at the time I just thought looked more fun!

Welcome to the end destination of this blog post! If you’d like to find out more about where my journey takes me, you can sign-up to my irregularly scheduled newsletter The Journey Journal, right here.

2 thoughts on “The Power of Choice; I’m actually staying in one place!

  1. I think you’ve shown although it’s great having plans and goals, the ability to be flexible and not have them set in stone is important. If they are and you don’t achieve them, you just end up feeling deflated, frustrated and generally pants! So yeah they’re more of a guide with wriggle room, the fact you’ve discovered living everywhere, unless you’re a lottery winner, is not that easy and you’ve opted to have a base is still your choice, so you’re still deciding your own future and tailoring it to suit your needs at the time. As for the car, sure they give you a lot of freedom, but it comes at a price, if the train breaks down it’s inconvenient, but you don’t have to pay to fix it, or MOT it, tax it etc etc 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Cam! The flexibility part definitely makes a huge difference and I’m so grateful for it. That makes me feel a lot better about not being able to drive yet!

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