Every so often I get a hissyfit and have to have a big clean out and tidy up.
So my office has turned into a bit of tip and I can’t get a clear head when I live in mess. I am going through my cupboards, folders, draws, files and chuck everything out that I don’t need anymore.
I came across this photo in my endeavor to clean up my space. This is me, approx. 27 years old. On the outside I had my life sorted. Corporate career as an Executive Assistant and Project Manager at Bertelsmann Springer in Berlin, lovely apartment with balcony with all the bells and whistles, big wage, high heels, make up, fancy hair-does and a clothes closet that would have been big enough for 3 people. Yet I was very deeply unhappy – that picture was just an outside mask I maintained, because I thought I had to. I was so unhappy with myself that no man I connected with could actually love me – because I didn’t love myself resulting in one shitty relationship after the other. I was lonely, disconnected, unhappy and had no idea why I was on this earth and what the heck I was supposed to be doing. Luckily one of those unfortunate man that I connected with suggested I save half my wage and go travelling, which is one of the things I actually enjoyed.
So at the very end of being 28 I reached my absolutely deepest depth of unhappiness and decided I had to change everything. I quit my apartment, I quit my job, I gave half my household away and the other half was stored at my less than happy parents place, who where horrified me giving up my apparently fabulous life and loosing points towards my retirement fund by stopping to work.
I reduced my life to a size of a backpack bought a one way ticket to Thailand and had a working and holiday visa for 1 year for New Zealand to learn english, but other than that I had no idea what to do with myself or where to from here. I was 29 with approx. 10,000 Euros on the bank account and a backpack and absolutely no idea how to spend time with myself without having all the external distractions of household, work, shopping etc. was this easy? NO – it was hard and one of the scariest things I have ever done – I was scared every day leading up to leaving – I doubted myself, I thought I had now gone completely crazy – I was scared a lot and lost a lot but I did it anyway.
Slowly, very slowly I found my way. I enjoyed my travels in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Tibet and New Zealand. I found my husband, my children, I found parts of myself that I never knew, I found my home – not in a physical place but in my heart. I changed COMPLETELY. I still change every day. I haven’t got myself sorted and I have given up to think that I ever will. Its an exploration and I have learned to appreciate and love to explore the unknown and guess what – each time I take a step forward into the unknown I am being rewarded with something beautiful to add to my life experience.
And I am so grateful to have been so unhappy – because otherwise I might have never left to explore possibilities that this little girl from East Germany never dared to dream of, who once thought she would never even be able to travel out past that wall.
Last night I was thinking how proud I am of myself to have been brave enough to step outside the pre-made squares. I am far from perfect and have done quite a few things I am not proud of, but I have been brave more than once to step into the unknown.
Back then I was pretty from the outside and unhappy on the inside – now I am not so pretty on the outside anymore, but so much happier on the inside – I know what I would rather be. I am content and happy with aging. So grateful for all that is in my life.
What unknowns do you want to explore? What masks do you want to shed?