A few days ago I handed in a much anticipated letter – a letter of resignation. I dreaded it, not because I didn’t want to quit my job, but because I had to give it to people who have been nothing but good to me – people who challenged me, gave me a chance and an opportunity to find my feet in the world of advertising. The job was exciting, something I dreamed about doing for years, set in a location I’ve obsessed about for years and I thought it was everything I wanted, but something was missing – the world – so I quit.
The sense of freedom I’ve been feeling since I’ve handed in that letter has been overwhelming and I know I’ve made the right decision. But I also know I will miss this place – I’ve been fortunate enough to call Knysna home for eight months – a place surrounded by jaw dropping, awe inspiring nature, a place in the heart of the Garden Route with a dramatic coastline and a place home to the historical footprints of forest workers and elephants. It’s a place that was filled with a 13-year long dream and a possible future dream, a place I had to give a chance.
I gave it a chance but I missed the world.
I missed the feeling of living in a place unknown, where the sounds, smells and sights are unfamiliar, where a moment of surprise is around every corner. I missed dreaming about the possibility of future trips to other unknown and undiscovered places and knowing that it is a possible possibility. I missed Asia. The longer I stayed in this beautiful paradise, doing the normal eight-to-five, responsible job, the more it felt as if I’m moving further away from the dream.
I’m almost 28 – when I look at my peers I see babies, wedding dresses, engagement rings, some more babies, high-end jobs and corporate dreams. I see things that make me anxious and scare me to death, things I’m not ready for. Not yet. I see the things that I’ve said 10 years ago, things of “when I grow up I want to…”. A lot has happened in those ten years – failures, achievements, discoveries, disappointments – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because right now I’m living life – not the life I’ve imagined, but the life I’m imagining. A life some would probably frown upon for an almost-30-year-old woman, a life filled with nothing but my own dreams. A life with a future, even if that future is far away from the norm. It’s a life where I don’t have to fill in the gap of “when I grow up I want to…” right now, it’s a life where I’m okay with having absolutely no idea what the future may bring, a life unconventional. Maybe one day I will see babies, wedding dresses, engagement rings and some more babies in my life. But for now I see maps, foreign languages, my bucket list, my bicycle, the road, roaming about and the world.
In the past 10 years I’ve had my fair share of new beginnings. Every time I thought, “okay this is it, let’s do it”. It was never “it” and this got me thinking; who’s to say you can only have one new beginning? Who’s to say that a new beginning should mean “that’s it, you only get one chance”, that a new beginning should be conventional? Through all the stages and phases of life, the moments and every single change, I think I’ve finally realised that it will probably never be “it” for me, I think I’ve finally realised why I enjoy the aspect of floating around so much, why I embrace being what others might call unstable, and now, as the end of November is slowly approaching and glowing with yet another new beginning, I refuse to think “that’s it” and I look forward to what comes next.
There is a reason why Mark Twain’s quote of “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” is my favourite quote and the reason for one of my tattoos. There is a reason why I want to throw off the bowlines. There is a reason why I want to sail away from the safe harbour. There is a reason why I want to catch the trade winds in my sails.
Maybe that’s my “that’s it”; to dream, explore and discover.