How to “Find Yourself” on a tiny island

By The Traveling Island Girl on 15th October, 2015

Let me begin by saying that if you were able to find the answer to the above question please don’t be greedy. Don’t keep it all to yourself. Be a dear and share it.

If you read my first blog post “It’s a Big World out There” you know now that I recently had what I kindly call a revelation. Actually it was more like a life crisis combined with a wee little bit of a burnout and whole lot of crazy. You see, I was a few weeks away from my 40th. Yes, I know, I don’t look a minute over 25. Don’t hate. We can’t all be blessed with good genes.

All joking aside though, while I was planning my 40th birthday party which at that time was still two months away I was all cool with the idea of reaching such a milestone. Everyone says life starts at 40 and 40 year-olds keep calling themselves 40 and Fabulous. I couldn’t wait to be fabulous too. Then it was a month away and my smile slowly turned into a semi-permanent frown. I went into a bit of a depression. An incredible sadness washed over me. I didn’t know what to do. The fact that I was reaching an age when everyone starts calling you mam instead of miss was not the issue. Although that on its own should be a punishable crime. It was as if I was suddenly standing in front of the mirror of truth. I was forced to take a hard look at my life thus far and I realized one thing: I did not recognize the person looking back at me. Who is this woman? Where did the once happy girl full of dreams and plans go to? The one who straddled that bull called life by the horns and enjoyed the ride? Truth was I lost myself on 37 square miles of rock.

©The Traveling Island Girl

I realized I was so busy living up to everyone else’s expectations that I completely ignored opinions of the one person that matters. Me! What do I want? What makes me happy? I can’t answer these questions but I can say for sure that whatever I am currently doing no longer brings me joy. Something needs to change.

I first arrived on this island 14 years ago after having lived in the Netherlands for about 6 years. Back then I left for St. Maarten in search of myself too. I figured it was madness trying to find yourself in a country of 15 million people. Where to begin? It would take forever. Surely a small island would make less of a tedious search. It’s very easy to fall back into old habits I found. When I arrived I worked on myself for a while but I quickly started focusing on making money. When I left the Netherlands I was looking forward to the uncertainty that was going to be my new life. I was looking forward to new adventures and misadventures. I didn’t care if I wasn’t going to be rich and famous. I left a great paying job in Amsterdam to basically start all over again from scratch and with nothing. But that was the excitement of it all. Back then everything I did or own was thanks to no one else but myself. No matter how little I had back then I was content.

So here I am 40 years old and I still don’t know who I am. I had put that search for myself on hold a while ago. It’s time to restart that search. Sometimes all it takes is asking the right questions. So keep your fingers crossed that I will be successful this time around. The first steps have already been made. I put my career on hold to better focus on myself. I started a blog to put my inner thoughts on paper so to say. I started yoga. And I am now looking for a simple job that does not follow me home after working hours.

Family and friends have a hard time understanding what it is that I am doing. Some are more supportive than others and I have received heavy backlash from those I least expected it from and who are the closest to me.This hurt more than I expected it to. But I am determined to do this. Find myself I must (Good God, I sound like Yoda). Most of those around me see this as taking a huge step back. I say sometimes you have to go backwards to be able to keep moving forward. Stop living a life on auto pilot. One that is dictated by society, family and friends. It’s ok to be different. To want something else or something more. To be you. To think for yourself. To not mold yourself to pre-existing norms. According to Socrates to find yourself you have to think for yourself.

Here’s to the journey lying ahead. I hope it is as much an exhilarating ride as I think it will be.

Any tips are welcome in the below comments. Tell me how you did it. Help a sister out.

Much laughter and love,

The Traveling Island Girl

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