Is it greedy to live several different lives simultaneously? It’s uncommon that’s for sure. We are all asked when we are young what we want to be when we’re older and we either know the answer or we don’t, we name a profession or we shrug our shoulders and hope that everything falls into place. By why is it that we are limited to just one style of living? You’re a city person. You’re a country person. You’re an office worker. You’re a labourer. You’re a traveller. You’re a homebody. But what about the people who are a little bit of everything, who like to dip their toes in all the oceans and get the best that each lifestyle has to offer?
I often struggle to decipher what it is I’m actually craving, listening to myself and my body is one of the hardest things I face and I have made a real mess of things in the past when I pre-planned things that I assumed I would like and enjoy, that would make me happy, but have gotten it so very wrong that it crashed and burned before I could do anything to stop it. It’s hard enough trying to work out what it is someone else wants let alone yourself, that’s why it’s sometimes easier to let those around you help decide what’s best, unload the burden of confusing decision making onto someone else. All I can do is take a guess at what I might like, try it, and if it doesn’t work pick up the pieces and try something different.
I like snippets from all walks of life. I grew up by the sea and will always love the beach; scooping up the sand and letting it fall through my fingers, the smell of the salt and the soothing sounds of the waves. I adore trees and fields, all the colours and textures of a forest in all seasons. The thought of being all wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves on an autumn walk with my family is honestly one of the most comforting thoughts and I often close my eyes and picture the burnt tones of the leaves if I’m feeling stressed or anxious.
I enjoy the city, I feel included and alive amongst the mass of bodies and I love the fact that I am right in the thick of it all, like I’m right where it’s all happening. I like the fact I can get half price sushi and the world’s best gelato (La Gelateria, Soho) at midnight. That I can dance to music of all varieties, dine in as many countries as I like without leaving my own city, people watch and not feel strange for doing so. Thrive on the continuous hum that emanates from the bodies of people who’s desire for success overrides everything else, and even if my ethics on happiness and success are the completely the opposite it’s still interesting to observe.
The good thing about my job is that I can be any of these people whenever I like. Each time I come off a ship I can just take up a new lifestyle, try as many as I like until I find one that fits. Last leave I was still a city girl, gin and tonics at roof top bars in Waterloo and brunching to my heart’s content. This next leave I will be a student again, something I have not been since I studied for my sea qualifications and a completely new pair of shoes to wear as although I love to learn, I read a lot and learn a lot from travelling, I haven’t actually been a pupil following a syllabus since school. I will be venturing back to Italy, my second home where I’ll finally be buckling down and improving my language skills before crossing the pond for my first thanksgiving with my pal and his family in New York. I’ll then be volunteering at a farm in the Catskills for two weeks followed by another two weeks at a Yoga and Meditation retreat before heading back to the city to spend Christmas and New Years with my dad who’s flying out to meet me.
This year is for trying new things, not just backpacking and travelling. Not getting lost or lazy in the freedom that travel allows you but to maintain a purpose and a structure as I’ve found my mind operates a lot more healthily if I have a reason to get up in the morning. I want to immerse myself in lots of different situations and live as many different mini lives as I can in hopes that one of them will fit and I’ll be a step closer to trying to define what it is that keeps me consistently happy. Each day is an improvement as I learn more and more about myself but of course, there’ll always be bumps in the road but that just makes life that little bit more interesting, don’t you think?