Big changes are a natural part of life; sometimes they're planned and expected, sometimes they hit you out of nowhere. Regardless of how they come about, change always brings with it a wealth of newness that is rooted in a range of possibility and hope.
That's the magical part about change; it's entirely unknown.
But with the unknown, as human beings, we can find ourselves struggling with that uncertainty. When our future or a situation is unknown it can become overwhelming because we're not quite sure how we're going to navigate through it. More often than not, for many of us, big changes also bring about high levels of anxiety or chaos, too, and as a result we convince ourselves that we've made a mistake or that things aren't working out for us.
We aren't wired or brought up to find the struggles that come with chaos and change as actually some of the most amazing moments in our lives - even though we usually look back and feel that way.
So why is that we feel the struggles of change so heavily and aren't able to embrace the waves that that do define life?
I've found myself pondering this notion today as it's the first day I've woken up and felt at peace since our journey of transition began.
Two weeks ago today I flew down to Christchurch to pick up our van. Then in just over a week Sam and I packed up our house and renovated the van from scratch all whilst both working full-time jobs.. It was incredibly stressful and I think for the most part we were both running off adrenaline because the day we moved out we experienced the most connecting, intimate and overwhelming emotional release together as we closed the door to our first home.
It always amazes me how we can look back at certain moments or phases in our lives and relate such a different set of emotions to it than the ones we actually lived. I know that Sam and I will look back on this time and feel so much joy and appreciation for it because we already are beginning to. And yet little joy or appreciation existed while we muddled through..
And I think that's really interesting and an important topic to explore considering we're the only people who can create our realities. We don't want to suffer through the entirety of an experience and it be only when we take the time to look back that we feel any beauty or wonder in what we went through.
I reminded myself yesterday after days of living in the burn-out and overwhelming stress, that actually happiness doesn't flutter along and sit on your shoulder just because you reach a new destination or something new comes to fruition. Happiness won't just overcome me when we leave Wellington and are free from work life. Of course, there are a lot of reasons why it will, but the truth and practice of happiness is so much more than that. If you're not happy now, nothing you achieve or wish for or look forward to is going to change that. Happiness must be created. It must be found in the moments as you live them. And it must be nurtured. You must live in happiness because you choose to; not because something happens externally to you.
So yesterday that's what I decided I'm going to do. For anyone else who's done it, living in a van and working full-time in a city is not really a fun combination. There's definitely a reason why people travel around in vans, rather than live in them whilst they work their office jobs... But to be honest, now that we're finding our feet a few days into adjusting to life in our new tiny home, and now we've had some time to rest and find stillness and take care of ourselves as individuals first and foremost, everything feels really good again and it doesn't matter that we still need to work. We're finding our feet and it's all beginning to make sense.
I woke up this morning grateful for exactly where we are. I don't want to waste the next two weeks we have of working whilst living in the van in Wellington because that's a unique experience for us, and whether there are stressful moments or not, it's an experience that we wanted and chose for ourselves. We decided together that we would move out of our flat ahead of leaving Wellington because we wanted to save the extra money, and honestly, there are so many benefits to us having done that. We've figured out things that we need to change or want to amend in the van whilst we're still here; near the shops and near family and friends. If we'd moved in full-time and left Wellington at the same time, we would've had to try and amend these things and iron out the final kinks whilst traveling and trying to live freely, too. So the stress wouldn't have stopped. We wouldn't have been able to experience that time as well as we know we want to, and so I'm really glad that when the time comes for us to leave for good, everything will pretty much be perfect and suited exactly to our desires and needs. Now the day we leave will be able to be rooted in feeling the euphoria, freedom and excitement that picking up and leaving your life behind entails.
I set myself the intention that over the next two weeks I am going to find happiness. I am going to stay deeply connected with myself so that I don't take any moment of this time for granted. Yes, it can and will feel difficult at times. Yes, there are definitely struggles ahead. BUT, I am choosing to find the magic; to live in the excitement and truth that once upon a time this was exactly what I wished for.
That dream of mine is currently coming true and I will not allow myself to be the kind of person who is never satisfied or happy even when I get everything I want. I will be the kind of person who appreciates every moment for what it is, who embraces all the waves of life because I know that that's where the magic lies. That with each struggle I will find a greater sense of myself and love within my relationship. I will smile, even if I have to force myself some days, and take myself out of an immediate difficult situation because I choose to focus on and honour my life path; this life that we're creating.
The last few weeks have been the most insightful, educational, difficult AND inspiring, but Sam and I have grown in strength together as we always do. We've learnt a lot about what we do and don't want; what works and what doesn't; we've supported each other through various emotions I don't think either of us were expecting to arise; and our love has conquered all the nightmares we've faced and guided us out the other side together.
The quality of our lives and how much happiness we feel is directly caused by our mindsets and our perspectives. If you choose not to challenge your sadness or your fear or your frustration, you will always fall short of happiness. There's a fine balance to be discovered. We need to give ourselves the time we need to feel sad, to process the things we need to, to let overwhelming emotions and negative feelings flow through us. But what we mustn't let happen is for them to find a home. When those feelings find a home within us reconnecting with our happiness becomes a much more difficult task. So try not to let any of the negativity latch onto your soul. Design your life with undeniable intentionality and revel in all that accompanies it - the good and the bad.
It genuinely is within our struggles that we discover who we are and where our happiness lies. Don't let yourself be blind to the lessons and the love just because things feel heavy or difficult or overwhelming. It's okay to feel that way sometimes, just don't invest too much meaning into it like I did this time around. Life never reaches a point of perfection; the only thing that does is your ability to embrace every part of your journey. Let change motivate you and inspire you. Give in to the uncertainty and the chaos.
Things will settle and the world inside your mind will still once more.
Love yourself today, and harder on the difficult days. Everything is working out.