So here we are. The first day of the year, where hopes and dreams are literally made and we live out the rest of the year praying any of them to actually happen. To be more productive? To be more active? To travel more? To read more? Each year we begin as we intend to end- positive that we can do anything, as long as we make the effort. The thing is, life always does it’s own thing. We make our plans, we follow all the steps, we do everything by the book, but often we find ourselves wondering why on earth things are not working out the way they should. We panic because we may be doing something wrong, and we struggle to admit that sometimes things just don’t happen as we want and when we want, and it is OK to accept that.
I particularly find myself being a victim of this kind of cycle. Everything is thought through and planned out. All steps being implemented and I very much look forward to the end result of my hard work. But I end up feeling unaccomplished and hurt by circumstances outside of my control that get in the way of where I am going and where I want to be. Even more painful is the realisation that somewhere along the line, I will either have to adapt to the new curve, or simply start over — and I think the starting over is the one that cuts deep the most. Because it is the feeling of not being able to get back that time “wasted” trying to chase a dream that was already flawed from the beginning, so to speak. Not so much that the dream was flawed, but rather that often Life as we know it isn’t meant to be predictable, and what may make us really move forward is being forced out of our comfort zone.
2018 for me was an overall good year, one where I did things I never thought I really would have had the courage to do so. By the start of the year, I was already well into my plans of moving permanently to Portugal and starting a new life here. By March I decided that I would, after all, and after many years thinking it over, I would go ahead and have another baby by the end of the year (and no more). I ended up getting pregnant within days, meaning I was definitely going to move to Portugal and have a fourth child. Only to realise “pregnancy symptoms ” would last the full 9 months, and I’d eventually feel enslaved to my own unborn baby. By August I questioned if I even really liked Portugal all that much, enough to move here, or if I just really enjoyed spending a few weeks in the summer there, and that’s it. The panic of making such a massive move from the London I grew up in to the Lousã I knew nothing about literally filled me with fear. And it was a fear of the unknown, and of the little plans in between not working out, making my move even more frightening. But I felt like I left things too late for me to turn back, and so I took that leap, counting the days I’d be back in London once my maternity leave had ended. But who would have thought that a little Mountain town in what feels like the middle of nowhere turned out to be exactly what my body and mind had been craving for after all those years. Years of planning and planning and planning to do just about anything that would give my life a bit more meaning. That waking up and being greeted by the smile of a mountain each morning would erase years of feeling inadequate and a complete failure for never reaching the goals I’d set myself each year. I allowed myself to be flexible and adaptable when plans fell through, and it literally gave me the courage and the mental strength to move forward regardless.
2018 was the year I did what many would not, and I am proud of myself for being the one who would, after all. I feel like a different person than the one who looked for meaning in the things I did. Here in Lousã, I feel happy to just be here. And being this content in myself is exactly what I need to accomplish my goals in life. Surely a life lived well should be based on how we felt, not what we did. And that’s how I intend to live; to be at peace with myself, no matter how many curves life itself can throw at me, changing my course and throwing me off a little. If my mind is at peace, then I am able to steer myself back into the direction I am going. Or perhaps find a new path altogether. My hope for 2019 is to build on this discovery, and not let myself fall into the never ending cycle of trying and failing, bringing back years of stress and anxiety just to feel worth anything. Right now, I am rested, feeling the light breeze of this mountain town and raising my children on my own terms. And as a bonus, I have been blessed with the sweetest little baby once again. How could I have ever allowed myself to feel so inadequate when I have done so well with what I already have?