Lately I have felt stuck; caught between a rock and a far away place, in that almost but not quite there phase of making your dreams come true.
I remind myself daily of the well-known saying that nothing worth having comes easy. I bob around in this seemingly endless sea of chaos, of boxes and backpacks and dwindling belongings, clinging to the words like a life raft. I know that eventually I will reach the shore, but right now it still seems so distant, and at times I wonder if it would perhaps be easier to simply let it all go and sink beneath the safety of my bed covers.
There’s an area of Mount Everest known as The Death Zone. It’s the home stretch, just before which is a small camp where climbers rest prior to making their final ascent to the summit. The oxygen levels are so low that many people fail to make it beyond this point.
That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m so close to reaching my dream, and yet it has never felt further away and I’m struggling to breathe through it all.
I never fully anticipated the emotional effects this whole process would have on me. In the beginning I was just focused on paying off my debt and building my savings. I enjoyed the challenge, digging in and pushing myself ever onwards. For almost two years I climbed closer and closer to the summit, never once doubting my ability to reach the top. I was driven to the point of obsession.
Now I am here in an almost empty room, my belongings all sold or stored, wearing the same pair of jeans and rotating T-shirts daily, with my new life waiting for me in my 40litre backpack. It is a desolate place to find yourself, staring back at your old life, with your new one shining in the distance. I feel like an asshole for leaving my family and friends, and frequently battle with my guilt at having so casually discarded a life that had nothing wrong with it, simply because it didn’t feel right to me.
Lately I do doubt my ability to live out my dreams, and I wonder if I deserve to have them come true. I am arguing with Lee, and testing the patience of everyone who loves me. I am starting to crack under the weight of my own expectations.
And then I remember the one thing that always brings me back; gratitude. I remember how unbelievably lucky I am to be here, standing on the precipice of greatness. I suck it in to my lungs and feel its warmth flood my entire being.
Lee sent me a link to this video the other day. It is a beautiful ode to Palolem, the beach in Goa where we first met, and where we will be setting up home in just a few short weeks. As I watched it for the first time, everything fell away… all my bullshit and emotional overindulgence. It took me back to the bottom of the mountain, and reminded me why I began this long and arduous climb in the first place.
Because life is short, too short not to live it the way you want to.
And so I have found my feet again, and am ready to finish this journey. Except now it is not the top of a mountain that I am walking towards, it is the soft lull of the waves against the sands of a beach where I first met the man of my dreams, and dared to imagine a life of endless possibility. It is where my soul truly feels at home.
There’s a line in one of my favourite songs that goes “Live through this, and you won’t look back.” That’s all I have to do; breathe in and out, and remain grateful.
18 days to go.