On of my clients got me thinking about resolutions for this year. I hadn’t really given it much thought, not had the time. Her resolution was to spend at least half an hour each day doing something for herself so going for a walk, cooking or watching a television programme. I’ve always said I would spend more time on me or doing things that I enjoy but then life gets in the way. I did however, thanks to my client, start mediation again.
I started to think more broadly about this year and what I want it to entail. What do I hope to have achieved come what December? I’m conscious about turning 30 and ideally I want to come home and catch up with friends and family. I don’t know how long I will stay in London but I know this October will mark three years of being on the road. I want to celebrate this big birthday with my loved ones and catch up with friends and family over a cuppa.
Yes I’m freaking out about turning 30, especially as I have no man and no child. Yes the social norm dictates that one a woman becomes of certain age, she should have settled down or at least be in the process. And if she hasn’t, there is something wrong with her, she needs help and needs to be fixed. Whilst I can’t speak for everyone, certainly within the Indian society, women should be happily married by their 30th birthday. Women typically are viewed by many as having a best before date, after which she is deemed no good. Almost as though, if she isn’t married by 30 clearly there is something wrong with her and consequently she is undesired.
I know following my heart and chasing my dreams have resulted in me not settling down and whilst I’m okay with this, my parents would be much happier if I did just settle down. Had I not strayed from social norms and culture, I think I would have been married by now to a respectable, nice, Indian man. But would I be happy? I wasn’t really made to follow social convention, no, I was made for bigger things. It’s hard for my parents I know and ultimately they just want me to be happy. It’s hard for them to connect happiness with long-term travelling.
There’s nothing to say that travelling solo cannot or does not bring about the same if not more joy as being married. Currently we have few social norms that encourage solo travelling and maybe when this changes, society’s perception will also shift. I like to think my children and my grandchildren will be exposed to different social norms. One’s which don’t solely focus on settling down and reproducing. Not to say there is anything wrong with this, more people, women, should have the choice, the freedom to do and be anyone they wish to.
Freedom is something I continue to value and crave. Travelling sure is liberating and gives people never ending choices and the opportunity to be free from a 9 to 5 working society. Sometimes, these choices are overwhelming and often when I hear backpackers complain about too much choice, I think of first world problems. For me, when people are unable to choose because there is too much choice, I feel it is a cop out. It is not hard to take some responsibility and make a choice. Others miss the structure and the work environment. What they really miss is the certainty, the clarity and the known. There are far fewer surprises at a work place and the challenges are very different to those one experiences when on the road. The tedious routines give a sense of security and direction. Whilst one’s comfort expands, it is nothing compares to being on the road.
I’ve learnt to let go and trust in the universe and those around me. I love the unknown and continue through the confusion. It is not everyone’s cup of tea and whilst I was adamant it wasn’t for me, I was wrong. I wasn’t made for the 9 to 5 society, I was made for others things. I’ve learnt to purchase flight tickets the day before, rocking up at a hostel and hunting down a job. I continue to be hopeful, in everything I do and everywhere I go. I believe in following signs but above all your heart and trusting gut feelings. I continue to think where things don’t work out and fall to pieces, many lessons can be learnt, however hard and painful. I believe it all happens for a reason and I had to go down that bridge to get to where I am now. We are responsible for shaping and more importantly changing destiny. It may be a scary and disputable point but we hold the power to take our life to all kinds of beautiful places.
So while in the next eight months I turn the big three oh and I have don’t have what social convention would like me to show for it, I’m doing okay. I’m happy knowing that these last few years have exposed and taught me a great deal. I have been nothing but fortunate with all the amazing friends I managed to make along the way and I know no matter how old I get, I will have all these experiences and moments to share. We will all turn thirty at some point and I know when I hit it, I will have numerous stories to share. I changed and shaped my fate despite all odds and the hurdles. All I had to do was have the courage to take the first step, to trust in the universe and commit to making the most of every experience. We only get one life so we may as well make the most of it.