It takes a while to stop running. It’s like braking a car on ice, the faster you’ve been travelling the longer it’s going to take you to stop. Me, I’ve been travelling my whole life at 100 miles per hour. I never stop. The last time I took ‘time out’ and went on a holiday was when I was about 10, with the family to a place called Dunk Island off the coast of Australia. I’m nearly 22 and it occurred to me just before I booked my tickets, that I don’t stop.
I’ve always been told to ‘slow down’ by every health professional under the sun, but the older I get the clearer the picture of ‘slowing down’ becomes. I would always take time out for me, perhaps a cup of tea and a good TV show, perhaps a run or a bit of yoga, but life never actually stopped.
By stop I don’t mean take yourself away from it all and do nothing, I mean stop doing what has become the norm.
At 16 I decided I was leaving school to study journalism and I did just that. I spent the first six months of study having fun and letting loose before I met Alex and I calmed down a tad. Second year was more demanding work wise with study and I began to increase my competitiveness with horse riding. Plus travelling each weekend to see Alex meant life was about doing a series of events which I had titled ‘life’.
In my third year I was juggling full time competition on my horse, completing four internships, finishing a degree and a diploma, and seeing Alex on weekends. I finished study and three weeks later was in a job. And I worked but butt off in that job, because I loved it.
But I never stopped.
And it was a terrifying thought at 21 to realise I’d spent my whole life completing a series of events which I would one day call my life.
So here I am, unemployed, sitting on a balcony in Cambodia, and breathing. My speeding car is slowing down on the ice.
It’s not a holiday from life, it’s a change in my life. It’s me finally saying ‘I want to be happy and I don’t want to be running’. Just because I loved my job and I love competitions, it didn’t mean they were good for me. And it didn’t mean they made me happy. And that’s a really hard concept to get my head around sometimes.
When I first arrived here I had this deep feeling of unrest, like I was unable to pause and not plan. I had this unbelievable desire to find security in things like stress. I like to be busy so I do not have to challenge my way of thinking or being.
Now I am starting to just relax and actually enjoy not having a to do list that takes over my life, I can just stop and take life in.
Change is just as good as a break.