This week I finally got back to blogging and I excitedly prepared a post. It felt so cathartic to unload my thoughts onto this platform I created and I remembered how much I enjoyed it. Just before I posted it, I found the piece that follows lurking at the back on my website, a draft that had completely slipped my mind.
Written in February 2018, it feels so similar to the piece that I just wrote, many moons later and I couldn’t believe that the same thoughts and realizations surrounded me then too. How proud to feel that I turned some of those thoughts into actions and that without realizing it I’ve created the path I want to be on. It’s still very much a process but it’s a good one and when the next post comes along, all of this will make much more sense.
The drafted post finally comes to life:
A lot happened in 2017, mainly emotionally, as I learnt to truly stand my ground and by my beliefs because I experienced how it made me feel when I don't. This translates equally from human relationships to professional environments. Both need a balance of reaffirming yourself and being flexible.
I've been flexible all m life, easy-going, trying to avoid a fuss and trying to solve a fuss. What I didn't realize though was that I didn't always express myself. My wants, needs and frustrations were suppressed, through my own doing. Because I don't like complaining, because deep down I worry it's too negative for people. But after an accumulation of experiences over the years and 2017's rollercoaster, I'm learning what it's like to truly stand by your values.
Some of this manifested during slightly uneasy conversations with bosses and through accepting personal situations I knew didn't agree with my way of life. And yet I had to go through them and get out of them to be able to reflect on where I am and understand that what I accept and what not is purely my responsibility.
It's a immense thing to handle... responsibility, and scary at times but only this way we have the power to make it into whatever we want life to be. Grab it by the horns, localize yourself and ask what it is you want exactly.
And that's only step one. Once it's clear in your head whether you take steps to turn your desires into reality is completely your responsibility. External factors certainly influence us, but it's how we react to them that differentiates the green light from the red light to the amber.
It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters, says Greek philosopher Epictetus.
Perhaps this sounds utterly abstract, perhaps not. It's essential though to reflect on our process and make conscious decisions.
To express this a little better, I'll share an experience. In December 2017 I finished with both of my jobs which allowed me to unwind, re-energize and think carefully of my next career moves. I travelled around most of December which was a beautiful ending to the year and I came back so inspired by the lives and work of others that I was frustrated I couldn't live that way in Cyprus. And with the idea of moving away, constantly at the back of my mind, I started exploring options abroad.
As the weeks went on and I began building on my writing portfolio, local jobs came my way and I explored them, still unsure about making any commitments. I then ended up confusing myself from saying I want to move abroad, to building a network here. So my intentions were blurry and my desires seemed like a puzzle with missing pieces.
Exhausting my brain with trying to make sense of this confusion, I confided in my mum and she posed a very concentrated question. She said "what is it that you want by going abroad and what do you think will happen if you do? Perhaps it's not a desire of being away but a frustration of not doing what you love here and being rewarded for it".
I let that sink in for a while and just a week later I went to an event about youth in Cyprus and on the topic of moving away for work as a result of frustrated careers, an audience member said: "abroad you can be a small fish in a large pond but here you can be a large fish in a small pond. If you will be great, you can be great anywhere. You have the responsibility".
Dear woman in black, thank you for this.
It immediately made me realize that we have to take control of our actions and make the most out of what is offered to us. In focus, with a clear goal in mind - be it professional, personal or social (or all together if you ask me as they work alongside each other). Sure, we come across obstacles in this island and we are irritated that it isn't like X,Y,Z country. Yet I like to believe that if someone is determined and working on themselves, they achieve whatever they set their mind to and anywhere.
It took me a while to see this and I'm using this blog post as a reminder whenever you or me get side-tracked, to re-position our thoughts and bums and find that little push you didn't even know were searching for.
Here's to consciously creating our lives the way it agrees with ourselves.
Some extra reading that can really put things into perspective is John Kim's 'Transparency'. A short and easy read on adopting a healthy way towards personal growth.