I’ve had a couple of lovely messages and conversations recently where people have remarked that I have my fingers in a number of different pies (they put it more eloquently, but that’s what it boils down to.) And well, guilty as charged. I do indeed do a bunch of different things, and I’ve done a bunch more different things before (boot manufacturer anyone?), and I have pinged back and forth between basing myself in Australia and England several times whilst also touring with bands, and I think what it all comes back to is that I’m basically very nosy, pathologically averse to routine, and easily capivated. And possibly commitment-phobic. Although… I’ve been married for eleven years (to a very patient man) so maybe I can give myself a pass on that one.
But nosy, routine averse and easily captivated?
Sorry, um, yes. And I don’t have kids, which, let’s be honest, helps if you want to live like a fingers-in-many-pies gypsy.
But there’s soooo much cool stuff out there to be curious about that I find it impossible to restrict myself to just one thing. I have had to accept that I have limitations – this whole ‘only being one person’ thing is a pain in the neck frankly – and I’ve managed to focus my energies on the three things I’m most passionate about, which are music, yoga and writing. There are, after all, only so many hours in the day; and as those are just the ways in which I make a living, and I enjoy several other things simply for fun and am also a huge fan of doing absolutely nothing…. well, eventually I had to prioritise.
Which is why I’m writing this in between packing up boxes. Regular readers will know that last year we bought a tract of rainforest in South-East Queensland, where we’d planned to build and open a yoga retreat. We got a fair way down the path before it started to dawn on me just how much, well, business is involved in running a business, even a yoga-y one. Reader, I am not a businesswoman. Also, we’d have to stay in one place, and neither of us is very good at that.
So that dream was shelved – I adore teaching yoga and running retreats, but what works for me is doing it where the infrastructure and business is already set up and I can do the bit I’m good at. But what about the place itself, this crazy beautiful rainforest. Could we possibly stay?
Well maybe I’m going to regret this, but deep down I feel the answer is no. It’s magical, stunning, one of the best places I’ve ever set foot in. It’s also isolated, exhausting, expensive, and can’t be left alone for more than a week at a time. I want the place, but I don’t want the life that goes with it. The things that I place my highest values on – freedom to travel and the time to create – don’t exist in a place that requires constant maintenance. I can’t fulfil my personal purpose when I have no free time. And it turns out I bloody hate gardening…
(So maybe we can add naïve fool / impulsive romantic skilled at blinding herself to the facts to that list.)
Ultimately though, I have no regrets about having lived this particular adventure. For one thing, if I hadn’t tried it I’d still be thinking that running a retreat centre was my dream. For another, I got to live in a rainforest – and not many folks get that experience. I’ve learnt a lot about myself – both my strengths and my limitations – in the process. Things that were never part of my repertoire in England – snakes, tropical storm fall-out, chainsaws, being flooded in, two-metre-long lizards, going without power for three days, faceplanting into giant spiderwebs without screaming and bursting into tears – can now be checked off the ‘been there, handled it’ list.
Life is for living, not for hiding from. I believe in taking risks, grabbing opportunities, being nosy about things that intrigue you. My way of life would certainly not be a lot of people’s cup of tea, but it feels authentic to me, and that’s something that everyone deserves. To live by your own passion and intuition. To carve your own path. To tear up the script if it feels wrong and live your own life.
A life that feels like you.