So, 2013 was nothing like I could ever have imagined.
In my New Year post last year, I wrote about the songs that had been inspiring me to make changes, and those that I saw as anthems for my life as I transitioned into a new phase.
Thus started an amazing year of new discoveries and travel. The discoveries were around me and inside me – I feel like I learned a lot about myself and the way I tend to be, and the benefits and challenges of my own unique style as well as discovering a whole new part of the world. I also reminded myself that everyone’s individual style, or personality, no matter what it is, has pros and cons. And I got more comfortable with my own.
We can be our own best friend, or our own worst enemy. Realistically we’re probably a little of both most of the time.
Full circle – but going round again
I’m back in my own flat in Ewell at the moment, writing this in my own living room, with Snow Patrol on the stereo, drinking decaf coffee I made myself in my own kitchen, and eating the darkest chocolate I could find in Sainsburys. The rain is coming down, it’s so dark outside I have to have the lights on even though it’s barely 4pm, and I have thermal leggings on under my jeans and two pairs of socks.
It’s a long way from the flip flops and loose cotton trousers of Chiang Mai, or the hammock and sunsets of Koh Phangan. I’ve come full circle – it was snowing when I left Ewell in December 2012, and when I returned and stepped out of Heathrow airport in December 2013, I could see my breath in the cold night air.
But this time, I know I get another go on the Ferris Wheel of travel and sunny shores. I head back to Thailand at the end of January, planning this time for a full year of being away. But strangely (for me, anyway, a natural planner), I have no strong thoughts on what that time away might look like. I know now that travelling without self-imposed plans will leave me the in the best possible position to take advantage of the opportunities that come up as I travel – for example, I originally went to Koh Phangan for 1 month, and I stayed for 6. If I’d stuck to my original plan I would have missed some life-changing experiences.
It’s all a balancing act
I’ve been back in the UK a couple of weeks, and those weeks have been filled with two things: reconnecting with those I love; and preparing my flat for rental. I came back from Thailand knowing that those were the priority for my stay here, and have reminded myself every day to focus on those rather than other things – it’s the reason I decided not to write a blog post for a couple of weeks (well, that and you’d all be too full of turkey and mince pies to read it!).
I’ve managed to have some great times with those I love, and have more planned for the rest of January. It’s a hard thing to balance seeing everyone with the number of miles that can sometimes involve, and to remind myself I need to build in rest and relaxation time. I’m walking the tightrope of offering dates and being refused, and only having so much time to give. But equally, wanting to see new additions to families, whether they be bouncing babies or blushing brides, and catch up with old friends. But sometimes, friends, and I, are disappointed. I have to make my peace with that. I’ll be back again.
Renting the flat is proving to be challenging for my mental health. A friend remarked to me that what I’m actually doing is moving home, with all the stresses and strains that often entails. I have chosen an estate agent (terrifying!) and the flat is now on the rental market. I’ve visited storage companies with a friend (the same one who gave me the thermal leggings mentioned above – she’s a keeper!) ready to choose one once I know whether my future tenant wants furnished or unfurnished. And I’ve started the uphill task of clearing and packing things away – trying at the same time to keep my flat pristine in case a prospective tenant wants to view. More balancing.
What I want from this year
Deciding to live, work and play in SE Asia for another year was a big decision for me. And some of the stresses that I’m handling here in the UK at the moment are a direct result – I have to let go of some of my life here, like my beautiful flat, in order to enable me to live in Asia.
I’m seeing the year as a continuation of my travels rather than something new. I haven’t written much about my health issues in the blog, as I can’t quite get a handle on how to explain and explore them. Perhaps I’ll write more about them, and my activities around them, in 2014. Either way, this year I want to focus on getting into optimum health. I’m heading back to the yoga school I was at in Spring and Summer of 2013, which is a great place to have this kind of focus (mainly because it’s full of vegetarian, non-drinking yoga peeps!). I hope the environment will give me the best possible opportunity to do this.
So it’s a New Year, 2014. And rather than have lots of New Year resolutions, I resolve to continue on the path I began a year ago. So it’s a New Year, but the same me. And I’m not just OK with that – I’m delighted.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2014. Remember – even the smallest adventures are worth having.