Over the last week or two I’ve had a few down days. I’ve thrown a few temper tantrums at life, I’ve felt sorry for myself and have had some hardcore homesick moments. Sometimes I get weighed down by my tendency to worry about things, present and future, and this can snowball into a little sad spell.
Usually these sad spells involve me thinking of all my shortcomings, all the millions of things I’m NOT doing in my life, all the ‘shoulds’ I pile up on myself and then fail to live up to. It isn’t a very nice or productive experience.
So, this past week I’ve had a bit more time than usual to truly relax and take care of myself. I’m still nursing a slightly out-of-whack back and this has provided me with a good excuse to stay home, rest, think, reflect in a more positive way and build my emotional and physical strength back up.
Today Richie and I are both off work. Its our rest day and our chance to be together for a whole day! So, I’m celebrating today. I think its all too easy to be hard on yourself, and it is a fact that there will always be a million and one things we could or ‘should’ be doing, but at the same time, its important to celebrate your own personal victories in life and all the good things you have.
So this morning I am thinking of all the things I’m proud of, that make me feel alive and courageous and eager to experience whatever the next adventure in life may turn out to be. I think sometimes we feel ashamed to be proud of ourselves or to think that we’re living a pretty AMAZING life, but whatever! I’m gonna feel proud and maybe even a bit full of myself today!
Well, here are the things I’m most proud of and excited about in my life to date:
1. I’m married to an amazing man and we have a fantastic relationship. We are best friends, we are managing to be responsible adults and take care of ourselves and each other quite successfully, and we are having fun while doing it. I just can’t imagine a better person to travel through this life with.
2. I’ve moved to two countries (apart from my own, obviously) and have managed to make amazing friends that I’ll keep forever, get involved in satisfying and positive pursuits, have worked in numerous jobs and made an honest living in worthwhile ways, have gained tons of new skills and experiences along the way, and have learned how to survive and thrive in new places.
I’m basically living my dream. I always wanted to travel and experience life in different countries, and that’s what I’m doing. Not to say its always a bed of roses, but still. There’s a cost to everything, but despite all that, I’m so freakin’ lucky to be doing what I always dreamed I’d do!
3. I have absolutely fantastic, beautiful and life-changing friends. I must be doing something right in this life if I can manage to be friends with such great people! I’m not the best at long-distance communication (as I’m sure just about everyone who knows me is aware of) but I’ve managed to collect and keep such good people as friends, who have enriched my life so much, have taught me many things, and have added so much love and beauty into my life.
4. I’ve learned I’m adaptable and strong enough to survive the trials and tribulations of being human! I couldn’t do this without the love and support of so many friends and family, and of course, Richie, but I also know that I’m strong, and even though I certainly have weak times, I am able to do what needs to be done, make important decisions and keep working and adapting to make a life for myself.
5. I’m finally teaching, and doing a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. For a first-year teacher anyway. I’m working in quite possibly the best language school in Istanbul, my students have been happy with their lessons, I’m learning lots about my job, I work with great people, and I haven’t got sacked or had any other major professional mishaps! Haha! I spend so much time being a perfectionist and worrying about teaching, but honestly, things are going really well. That’s not to say I don’t have TONS to learn, but that’s normal.
6. I’m feeling as healthy and strong as I’ve ever felt in my life (apart from the temporary issue of my back). I do yoga at least twice a week, I’ve actually managed to have some discipline in my life, I have a pretty consistent spiritual practice, I exercise loads just going about my daily routines, and I make sure Richie and I have a nice healthy diet, so hopefully we’ll live a nice long time and have happy bodies and minds!
7. I’ve become a damn good housekeeper. This might not sound like something that exciting, but keeping things tidy has never been my strong point. This has almost become a discipline too. I love to have clean kitchen when I wake up in the morning, I actually regularly hoover and tidy and do laundry. I’ve even washed the windows, for god’s sake! I love our apartment, and I feel like our home is our castle and I want to make it a nice castle to spend time in. Our home is the most sacred and important place in our life, and the daily routines of taking care of it and living in it are sacred too.
8. Today I also even feel proud of what I consider to be one of my main flaws. I think this obnoxious, annoying, head-wreaking flaw is also the identical twin of my greatest strength. In a nutshell, I am constantly trying to change myself, trying to be something more than I am, always looking for some new thing to make me happy, give me a sense of identity, to fill in the gaps in my life. Its almost like an animal hunger that can’t ever be satisfied and it means that I often thoughtlessly scarf down life like a dog scarfs down dinner! This restless of mine can leave me feeling drained, edgy, dissatisfied with myself and life, inadequate and like I don’t really know who or what I am sometimes.
But on the flip side, this restlessness fills me with energy, creativity, the desire to be a better person and to do something positive for the world. It challenges me to try new things, experiment with new identities and ways of seeing and understanding the world, it make me try constantly to become more and more open-minded, compassionate and wise. It makes me like a roaming animal, who wants to nibble the grass of every field, take a sip from every stream, and taste every good thing in life. It makes me think and think and think, sometimes driving me insane, but every now and again, leading me to have some clearer understanding of the world. Most of all its the constant energy of change, change, change, and this passion for change can sometimes be a curse, but its also a positive defining characteristic of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today, with all the things I have to celebrate, if it wasn’t for my untameable restlessness.
So, there you go. I’m going to think about all those good things today and hopefully for many days. I hope you’ll take some time to celebrate yourself and your life today too. Don’t be shy!