When we opted out of the corporate life, cashing in and springing off the cliff, I never would have imagined all of the things that I would find out about myself. Fact is, when you strip away every single sense of security - job, home, general idea of how the future will play out -- then everything becomes a clean slate. It's frightening because we define ourselves through the framework in which we live. When those things are removed, our definition of ourselves gets removed with it. This means staying strong, and getting creative -- fast.
It means coming face to face with who you really are, and what you really want, and what frightens you and what interests you and what you definitely need to feel safe. In means becoming an expert in things you never knew about. And forgetting many things you were an expert on before -- they no longer matter at all.
It means changing your view of people and forces you to see the stereotypes about countries and other people which you have had in the back of your head. It means getting rid of all of that and being more empathetic to everyone. It means eradicating paradigms and prejudices, even if you don't think you have any.
It means seeing, really seeing, how limited resources are and how so many people have so very little. And it means looking at the coins in your pocket and the water coming out of your faucet in a whole different way.
It means not being indifferent, not being numb, and not allowing yourself to quit -- because you are totally dependent on you. Your wits. Your intelligence. Your ability to move the process forward.
There is always a setback to battle, whether it is the beaurocracy, the weather, the mold, the language. You live much more on the edge because anything can really happen and you don't know how it will effect you. So you are more aware.
The longer you go on with the process, the less scared you get -- and you realize that if you were back in your old life, the life you left, you would be a fearless lioness or lion, just because of all of the things you have learned about yourself.
It was, is, and never will be easy. It is not a free ride. It is all, in the end, down to you. On the other hand it is always important to remember that other options and alternatives do exist. Property can be sold. Plane tickets can be bought. Jobs, however rare, can be found. Knowing that this is not the end of the road, that you can always start again in a more familiar environment, gives you strength. Strength to keep moving forward on the path.
Which brings me back to the door. Opening the next door is something I do with anticipation and with hesitation both. I take care to be prepared for what might becoming at me, but not so much that I won't enjoy if it turns out to be something wonderful.
An interesting life, this.
design note: the door above was found in the stall. I had it refurbished last spring by a restoration specialist. It is one of my favorite design features in our project.