In order for an adventure to be an adventure one has to allow room for the unthinkable, unpredictable and tap into the forever present (however faint) hope of finding magic on this quest.
This year threw some curveballs and I wasn’t always so willing to oblige. But sitting down infront of the computer and making time to reflect on the year that was, I am surprised at how life brings to the foreground what we need and not necessarily what we want. Trusting it should be at the order of the day.
Things are bound to change when you move. I often underestimate the ripple effects change bring - the adaptation period in a new environment, the lives I will no longer be a part of, the new lives I will have to work hard to be a part of. New things can be exciting but new things can be rather uncomfortable as well, a slight state of discomfort lingers.
I tried to find an appropriate dictionary analogy for this word, but I couldn’t. It doesn’t give it enough credit. Discomfort to me is the moment my heart is so overwhelmed by what it’s feeling that it makes me physically uncomfortable. My mind is flailing arms in the air shouting I don’t have the skills to channel these emotions. The simple act of miscommunication between heart and mind results in discomfort and systems start shutting down, a temporary sensory overload malfunction or short circuit. The hearts confused, the brains confused, both confused over each others confusion and just before you want to join the party bus of confusion, there’s a black out. All systems reboot, calm and peace ensues and some times, much later some clarity.
Discomfort is the most side-stepped word, feeling and action in my vocabulary. If my life could evolve around not feeling uncomfortable in my own skin in social situations, loud environments or experiencing fast moving visuals, I would really appreciate it. I literally don’t know what to do with it. I wait for it in anticipation as I round the next corner. It shows up unannounced with a big smile on it’s face. Trip you just as you find your rhythm. Yet has the incredible capacity to sweet talk your brain after a massive melt down into believing that nothing ever happened and you get right back out there for round two.
So, what’s in a move you might ask? All the answers you weren’t necessarily looking for. All the truths that you’ve been hiding from, all the uncomfortable shortcomings about yourself that you’ve so neatly packaged in pretty paper for people only to look at but not get to know, the bittersweet realisation that I need people in my life to be witness to who I actually am, it makes life mean something. It’s like learning to walk again - this moving thing. Actually, most things in my life at the moment makes me feel like I am learning to walk again. Spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, especially emotionally.
As usual, my deep rooted desire to get to know myself is ongoing. Does it take up the majority of my everyday life, sure. Is it normal to dedicate so much time on my own journey of self-discovery, I don’t know. Is it entertaining, that’s a resounding yes. Life lately has definitely stopped looking like a walk in the park and more like a game of hide and seek. Forever seeking the hidden meaning of life, emphasis on hidden. Can I just have a laugh at something that is hilariously funny, yes. Can I appreciate pure simplicity of the sun rising and the moon shining, yes. But is that enough, I don’t know. Is it exhausting being me, well now that’s a question. Is it exhausting to be around me at times due to my in depth journey of wanting to know everything there is to know about everything that ever existed to infinity and beyond, well, I’ll just let you ponder about that one a little longer. But if you aren’t willing to walk a mile in your own shoes and get to know yourself, who will?
I’ve spent the last three years building my career, nursing a vulnerable mess of a heart back to life, changing and refining my views on marriage, kids and what it means to me to be successful. Making time for those I love in my life, willingly slowing my life right down in order to put healthy balanced routines in place for a life worth living. It’s what I needed. I needed the time to get to know myself and my journey through Knysna gave me exactly that - time.
When I turned thirty life threw me a bit of a curve ball. I’m sure plenty of factors lead to this exact moment, but I was blissfully unaware and happily living an adventurous life with a loving partner. I woke up one morning wanting my own space, my own time, a career. I wanted to pay my way through life, not rely on anyone so much anymore and wanted to know what it is like to be emotionally independent. I wanted out. I wanted more, without even remotely knowing what more looked like. I willingly broke my own heart because the need to know who I was, was greater than the need to stay. So, I left. Growth, it comes when it’s needed, not when you want it.
Off I went to start this thing called self discovery. Was it willingly, I wouldn’t wholeheartedly agree but was it necessary for a more fulfilling life, I have no doubt. In hindsight, a bit of warning leading up to the hundred and eighty degree turn in my life would have been nice, maybe there were subtle tell tale signs but then, not knowing what to look for when change is about to pounce, didn’t leave me with much time to prepare. I woke from what felt like a deep sleep. I woke up to a crystal clear perspective. I was so wide awake that five years later I haven’t been able to go back to sleep.
I have learnt a valuable amount of things in the past few years, one that stands out is how I love taking the long, hard road to anywhere and somehow got hardwired for discomfort. When things get comfortable, I find an uncomfortable way to shake things up, I like ripping the carpet out under my own feet. When things get comfortable I say ciao, bye, see you later. Comfort clearly makes me uncomfortable. When things get comfortable I move, some times to other countries, some times to Cape Town. So, here I am and the dust has settled and I am already fearing the day things get comfortable. Having said that, it’s not that I fear actual comfort or do not desire it, I do, I fear the comfortable getting so comfortable that life starts passing me by.
I moved six months ago. Things are still a little unfamiliar so I cling to a few familiar routines. Sunrises are spent in studio, to get ahead of the day. Creatures of habit we are, maybe it’s ingrained in us. Maybe we are hardwired for comfort I’m just trying to rewire myself and kick against it. I love the long way around remember. Or maybe it’s the habitual patterns we create for ourselves that bring comfort. Either way, getting stuck in habit or comfort or habitual comfort is lethal!
I got to know Cape Town from a visitors perspective, then it’s all glassy and glittery. Living here is a whole different story, because why - because in between all the fun stuff that any place throws at me when visiting, I actually have to work. Working and living in a place that has so much to offer can be overwhelming at the best of times. Cape Town consists of so many areas and in ones mind they seem to be a stone’s throw away from one another but in actual fact Muizenberg and the city are galaxies apart and I’d be lucky if I see it in 2020. Planning ones life around traffic and weekends is bad-ass unfamiliar to me, I come from the Garden Route, every day is a weekend, it has equally much to offer, yet somehow the work and play ratio was mostly in tune and traffic, what is that even. Here in Cape Town I rejoice if I manage one errand a day. So yes, I’m still adjusting to all the newness around me and how at times I can’t do it all everyday. I’m still finding my rhythm and somewhere in this write up I do have a point, just bear with me.
Moving. That’s where I was going with this. Comfort zones and moving. Ok. I’ve been reflecting on moving while I give myself some grace on the time it’s taking me to settle in and to tell you the truth, moving is hard. There is the initial excitement about the idea of living somewhere else, the freeing feeling of getting rid of things I no longer need, a change of routine, new people, new things, new everything. Exciting right?! As the boxes filled up and my flat got emptier I reminisced about times spent there - it was my safe space, a space I could call my own (it’s a colossal privilege to experience this even once in your life), discovering the capacity within myself to transform an unfamiliar space into a little slice of home (to know this capacity lives within is like stumbling upon unexpected treasure). My heart grew heavy as I realised that afternoon tea at moms house and cooking dinner with dad would no longer be a down-the-road affair. Neither would early morning coffee and walks with my dog, she lives with my parents, she came for sleep overs all the time. I plonked down on the last standing living room chair (the chair I spent many a morning savoring my first cup of coffee while enjoying the next book I struggled to put down) and tears streamed down my face. What is it about me that feels the need to give up what I hold most dear because I got comfortable? I spent a good four years making a life for myself in Knysna, a good four years to really understand what it takes to uncover the tip of the ice berg of loving myself, a good four years to create a life I really loved and now I’ll have to do without those things that made my day on the daily.
This move felt like I only left the nest, officially, at the age of thirty four. It was an exciting idea, then a heart wrenching affair and lastly a welcome sigh of relief as I seem to have found my Cape Town legs. Knysna, my family, my dog has gifted me with so much of me on the inside, it’s Cape Towns turn to teach me to implement. It’s so important to make time for time to gift you with what we sometimes think we don’t want but so sorely need. It has taken me a long time to stand strong in who I am.
I want to say this again - What’s in a move you might ask? All the answers you weren’t necessarily looking for.
Sure, I moved because I got comfortable. But I also moved because every now again I wake up with wanting more from my life than what I am gifting myself with at that very moment. It’s a healthy reminder to dig deeper, find out more and refine all those facets about myself that could easily be forgotten when stuck in a comfort zone. We all have multiple facets and we are the only ones responsible for uncovering and refining them - we have a life time to do so. I have learnt that things that come easy are absolutely to be fundamentals in ones life but things that are harder to learn are definitely to be included in ones repertoire. Things that come easy - sport, creating, discipline. Things that don’t come easy - relationships, music, time management. And then something that should be at the order of the day is dreaming. I forgot what it felt like to really dream and make the impossible a tangible possibility. My comfort zone was so comfortable that life was passing me by.
I willingly exchanged a life I loved for a life I am not yet sure I love. What I do clearly love is laughing in the face of comfort and jumping head first into the unknown without any assurance of what lies on the other side. I’m a little bad-ass risk taker, or I am terrified of actually having to open up, let people in and be loved. What!? The past few months have been spent unraveling my heart space, it hasn’t been an easy space to navigate. There is a lot of walls, maybe like a maze, a damn beautiful, intricate and authentic one, but a bit of a maze none-the-less.
Now that I know what the signs of change feel like long before change comes around. It’s a quiet presence nudging me to push further and ask for more. While I’m finding rhythm and seeking flow I traded my morning sunrise in studio for a sunrise chasing waves. Coffee on the stove at 5h00, wetsuits and boards prepped and ready for an adventure to unfold. 5h30, fresh brewed cup in hand, gear packed and out the door. Sunrise in Kommetjie did not disappoint. Sunrise in general does not disappoint. It up to me to find a rhythm and flow and even that at times doesn’t come easy, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work hard to acquire it. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am hardwired for more and so are you.
A whole month later later and I’m still processing. I’ve never run anything more than 19km’s - I have the iconic 9km Robberg as my base and for something more juicy there’s Cradock Peak. Trail running has never been about the distance for me, it’s about being out there, discovering.