“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.”
It’s not always been easy, but over the last 12 months I have really discovered who I am and I have never been happier.
Like a lot of people, I got dressed up on Friday night and hit the town for Halloween. I was ready to freak out a few people with my bloody (fake of course!) nose, and catch up with some old friends. The night was actually pretty tame, my costume was a complete success and I didn’t even spend that much money, so why did I wake up the next day feeling guilty and annoyed with myself for even going out?
I know that I’m not great on nights out; I find it hard to exercise any self control and despite my recent 3 month health-kick, I quickly found myself with a glass of wine in one hand (which I definitely didn’t need!) and a cigarette in the other (I don’t even smoke!!)
On Saturday afternoon when I finally awoke I soon realised that I had ruined my sleep pattern, I had barely taken my make-up off, and I felt like the chance of me being able to go for a jog anytime in the next 48 hours was completely off the cards. I was so frustrated!
It was obvious… I hadn’t been true to myself.
Encouragingly, I soon appreciated that this meant I had made so much progress and grown so much as a person over the last year.
Earlier this week I returned back from an amazing 12 month trip around Australia, but when I initially arrived in the sundrenched state of Queensland last October, I have to say that I was pretty shocked by “hostel life.”
Everyone had told me that hostels were the best places to meet people and have fun and as a solo traveller I was definitely keen to make some friends. The majority of hostel residents were young European backpackers who lived a 24/7 party lifestyle, and this presented a lot of questions in my mind.
‘How are these people physically able to drink every single night?’
‘How can anyone afford to drink every single night?’
‘How can anyone feel good about hooking up with a different person each night?’
‘Why would you come all the way to Australia just to do this?’
And then the biggest question ‘Am I a complete killjoy for asking these questions? Am I already this boring at the age of 22?!’
I tried to get involved in a few drinking games and attempted to dance for a little while but it was just all a bit awkward and I soon reached the conclusion ‘Yes, I must be boring!’
I sat with this notion for a few months and just politely declined the weekly invitations to play ‘goon pong’ and ‘never have I ever.’ I was boring and I was ok with it.
Towards the end of my time in Australia I signed up to do 3 months of regional work in order to get a second year visa. My job was to look after an organic garden in a WWOOFING community just off the East Coast. (This experience was so incredible that I will be writing an entire post on it shortly!) Anyway, it didn’t take long before I realised that the farm naturally attracted a certain type of backpacker. These people enjoyed 5am yoga classes, cooking vegan food, going for long walks, and nobody ever batted an eyelid if you just wanted to spend the whole afternoon in a hammock reading a chunky novel.
Suddenly I was normal and fun and people loved being around me. And then I recognised that I was never boring in the first place… I just wasn’t in an environment where I could be true to myself. Since then I have felt happier than ever to be who I am, with the exception of my Halloween night out. This has served as a gentle reminder to stay on my own path, but also to let go of any judgement regarding what others may find fun… whether that involves drinking all night, bird watching, going to comic conventions or playing video games.
Don’t be scared to identify the life you want and then go chase it. You can be anyone you want to be. You may outgrow and drift from past friends, and at first you may feel a little isolated if you decide to leave your job, stay in to watch a movie rather than go out partying or if you make changes like cutting out alcohol or meat from your diet… but trust me you are not alone! And soon you will radiate such a positive energy because you will have been true to yourself and you will have begun a journey that feels natural and makes so much sense to you.
I am the girl who still takes photos on film, who enjoys yoga and making vegan desserts. I’m the girl who loves rummaging through other people’s old treasures in charity shops and actually likes early mornings. I’m the girl who loves buying groceries from markets, and watching terrible 80s movies whilst wearing terrible 80s knitwear… and I happy to say that I am not alone.