I made the conscious choice to completely change my life just 3 weeks before I did. I got rid of half my junk, saved what money I could, quit my job, packed my car, and said goodbye to a life that no longer suited me.
The future can either stay its course or change directions, based on our choices. The day I tore out of my mom’s driveway like a freaking banshee, I hit restart, created something else. Lots of transformative moments happened as a result, including, in 2016, my time on Koh Ta Kiev.
Picture a remote Cambodian island, off the Coast of Sihanoukville; sprawling, secluded beaches, pink and orange sunsets over the sea, bioluminescent plankton at night. You fall asleep to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. And with limited electricity, available only in the common hut from 18:00-22:00, there’s no WiFi on the island, so no real distractions from yourself.
Without social media, and before I made friends, I found myself flipping through the guest book at Kactus guesthouse. Someone had coloured a whole page with an artfully done message: “You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.” Holy crap, I thought. It’s true! I mentally scrolled through some of my own big moments, blown away by the wisdom scrawled in felt-tip marker before me. I felt the spark of inspiration, and hurriedly began to pen a journal entry.
On Koh Ta Kiev, I made a few more, “life-shall-never-be-the-same-again,” choices. I started the actual writing of the novel I’ve been “writing” for years (currently sitting at 53 000 words, and counting). I officially decided on the move to Japan, a plan I’d been semi-committed to, but had been questioning in recent months. After all the flip-flopping, and after a lot of self-examination, I firmly decided what my priorities were. I also made the choice to cease the fuck-giving in relation to how other people saw me. Upon leaving Koh Ta Kiev, during the hour-long ride on a fishing boat back to the main land, I decided that my life deserved my best effort, and that I needed a new best that would surpass the old. I realised I kind of didn’t like who I’d become. Well, part of me, anyway. And I definitely didn’t like how I’d been acting –rather, reacting to things. Be it because of unresolved issues with my dad and his death, or limitations I’d given myself long ago, or even past expectations dictating my present. Whatever the cause, the effect wasn’t me, wasn’t who I wanted to be. So, yeah. I decided to change.
And then I cut my hair. I’m big on symbolism.
I think almost every decision can lead to a different variation of your life. The universe has infinite possibilities; why not us? The big moments are all well and good, but plenty of mundane-seeming moments matter, too. How we choose to handle frustration, at work or with a loved one, impacts the course of the relationship. What we decide to fill 20 minutes of free time with can influence our entire day, week, month, and so on. The sort of news and information we seek out affects how we see the world, what we believe in, and what we choose to speak for or against. Every decision impacts who we become and how we live our lives. We can only hope to always choose well.
Failing that, here’s hoping we learn from our mistakes!