I have no idea what’s supposed to come after this.
When I first came to New Zealand, I assumed I would stay for a solid three months and then go back to where I’d been. Back to the same job and the same gym membership. Back to keeping tabs on AdWeek and partying with the same people and continuing to see the value in Sneaky Dee’s brunch even though they don’t have a patio.
A few weeks in it hit me that perhaps, I wouldn’t do that. Perhaps I’d do new things with new people at new brunch spots. Perhaps my interests would change. Fuck, maybe I’d even start ordering large instead of medium coffees.
And the thing was, it didn’t matter yet! It was fun to think about my future because I still had so much time ahead. I was just getting started. Everything was still set to fall into place eventually and I didn’t give a shit what my post-NZ life actually looked like because it was too far away to even feel real. The unknown was exciting instead of stressful. Not knowing was liberating not challenging.
I’ve been gone for almost 100 days. Had my original plans prevailed, I’d be boarding a plane home within the week. And this is so insanely scary to me; there was a point in time where I thought I would have my shit figured out by now. That I would have a plan. That I would be all set up for success and then some. That I would be ready.
But now that time is here, and I have nothing figured out. I don’t have a plan. I don’t feel like success is waiting for me on the other side. I’m not ready, and I feel borderline embarrassed that I ever thought I would be.
I’m not ready to leave here. I don’t feel solidified enough as a person, which sounds so weird. I feel like so much of me is continuing to change that I’m almost scared to stop the process. I’m not ready to go back to life as usual. To make a decision. To lose this crazy, confident self-awareness that I’ve found along the way. I’m not ready to start making plans instead of changing them.
It’s an addicting mindset, really; travelling and just figuring shit out as you go, having 100 doors open with virtually nothing in your way. And yes, there are moments that are insanely overwhelming, when you feel there are too many options that you couldn’t possibly make the right one. But something always happens to remind you that you’re very fine. You’re very lucky. That this could, if you want it to be, be the case for a very long time.
I mean, you’re meeting people who have travelled for years; people who have mastered the art of being on the move; who are buying vehicles and selling vehicles every six months in a new country; people who don’t get caught up in the tourist traps and overpriced beers; who know what food to buy at the grocery store that ticks all the necessary boxes of a) nutritious and b) delicious, but most importantly c) cheap.
And it’s so inspiring! They’ve created this life for themselves and love living it. And that is cool and so special and you can’t help but feel like maybe this could/should be you. Maybe you are one of the ones whose heart won’t ever settle in a cage; whose life won’t ever be proper and normal. But then, you think about home and you think about yourself and all the big crazy ambitions you have and the fact that you kind of like having a routine and you like spending an hour every Sunday doing meal prep for the week because it makes you feel grownup and healthy and good about yourself as a human. And once you realize this, you’re right back at square one. Of having no clue what’s next or what to do or what you even want. And suddenly imagining your future is stressful, not liberating. It’s very scary and very unexciting.
As my boy John Lennon said himself: Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, baby! And I think JL was onto something. Because that’s the very thing! Life will happen whether I’ve planned it or not. And MAYBE that is why it is so damn important for us to find people and moments that make us explosively happy, because it will never be the plans you made that do that for you.
My five-year plan will never pan out. And no, I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan ahead because even I’m not naive enough to think that could ever work, but fuck. We absolutely should let ourselves enjoy the LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS part instead of stressing over MAKING OTHER PLANS.
So to sum up: I’m in New Zealand. I have literally no idea what is going to happen next or where my life is going to go. Maybe it will end up exactly as it was before, and if it does, that’s pretty fucking beautiful. Maybe it won’t! And that will be fucking beautiful too. But I don’t think I want to know yet – and I think that’s okay. And sometimes, accepting that that’s okay is the hardest part of all. But I JUST DID THAT. So I guess it’s all uphill from here.
Regardless, for now, life will happen, and I won’t be busy making other plans while it does.