Another year, another ode, another opportunity to reflect on the last 365 days. If 2016 was my year of “re-awakening”, by 2017 I was well and truly awake. Up until I quit my full-time job late last year, the image that kept playing in my head was of me sitting in a waiting room, patiently waiting for my name to be called. This year I gained the confidence in myself to make bigger step-changes towards personal and professional pursuits I had always wanted to explore and experience. And with my thirties looming, I knew I had to, as one close friend put it, strike while the iron was hot.
In 2017 my name was called and it was finally my turn to make things happen.
Earlier this year I began freelancing and had the opportunity to work with a bunch of talented, creative and inspiring people on a range of interesting projects. I relished the hustle of going at it alone and felt empowered by the control I had over my life. Finally I was living the well-balanced life I had been craving. A client meeting here and a couple of hours work at home there were interspersed with mid-morning tennis sessions, lunches with mum and evening guitar lessons. I was also able to travel a lot more this year, with extended trips visiting family in Indonesia and my brother in New York. I got to experience a way of working that energised me and the kind of life I wanted to lead in the future.
And then I moved to London. Many people (and when I say people, I really mean my immediate and extended family) don’t understand why I’ve traded in a stable, comfortable life back in Sydney to start from scratch in a completely new city, particularly as I approach my thirties or in Asian family terms the time when “you need to find a husband and get married and have babies now”.
Living and working overseas has always been a dream of mine. It was always an assumed part of my childhood fantasy that I would be working in some fashion magazine in New York City and living in a converted warehouse building in Brooklyn. Well, things didn’t exactly go to plan and I probably should have moved overseas when I was a lot younger. I learned a long time ago that life often doesn’t go to plan and the journey very rarely pans out the way you expect it to. But as an optimist and stubborn dreamer (is that even a thing?) I could never just let go of my dreams and so I knew I was going to make things happen for myself sooner or later.
Apart from the buzz of living in such a global city, the thing I love most about living in London is the freedom and independence I have. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family to death and could never imagine living this far away from them forever. But I do believe in the importance of cultivating time away from the comforts of family to not only learn important life skills but also to establish yourself as your own person. The time I’ve had away from home has afforded me more space to explore and learn more about myself and work out what I want in life (more here).
Although I don’t know exactly what 2018 holds, I do know that I’ve never felt happier and fulfilled about life and the direction I’m heading in. And I’m glad I can finally say goodbye to that waiting room.
x Grandma AL