A few years ago, I would never have put myself down as the ‘travelling’ type. My late teens carried the assumption I would meet a Nice Boy, use my decent grades to chase down a high-flying career and eventually incorporate some children into the mix, most likely accompanied by a Volvo estate and a Labrador. And maybe I will do all of these things. Just not yet.
After graduating from the University of East Anglia, I found adjusting my expectations to reality quite difficult. Armed with a first class honours, obviously I would be gliding effortlessly into a swanky graduate scheme and moving to London, rather than continuing in my current administrative role full-time and living back with my parents in sleepy St Ives.
That’s the problem with types; you can spend your whole life thinking you’re one sort of person only to find out actually, you were wrong. I surprised myself aged sixteen when I actually followed through on my outlandish notions of getting my nose pierced, I surprised myself when after mocking the ‘gap yahs’ of those around me, I backpacked through Thailand and Australia and said all the same clichéd things. And meant them all too. Just before my twentieth birthday, I had grown unhappy with my weight and signed myself up for a half marathon in the unlikely hope that I might train for it and lose a few pounds, doubting always that I would even make the start line. I shocked myself when I stuck religiously to the training schedule, astounded myself when I ran it and petrified myself when I finished it. Before long, I had completed my first marathon in Paris even though I’m just not of those people who likes running. All of the best things that I have done have come from doing something that terrified me.
And that right there is my justification for abandoning a steady job, amazing friends and hilarious family in January 2016 and moving to New Zealand with my friend, Char. Without making myself sound like your elderly grandfather, if there’s one thing I have learned during my miniscule chunk of time on this planet, it’s not the value of a plan, but the value of deviating from it when necessary. I don’t think it really matters what sort of person you think you are, because life doesn’t really tend to take it into account when dishing out the destinies.
I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries a few months ago, which may or may not make the aforementioned 2.4 kids plan a little problematic to pursue. Being a hope-for-the-best sort of condition, this was a little hard to swallow. I can’t choose if this condition will affect me in later life, nor can I choose if I am worrying over absolutely nothing, but I can choose to quit my job, and get on a plane halfway round the world with my mate. None of us can choose to be healthy nor lucky, but we can decide to be brave and kind and grateful and a tad ridiculous in all our other choices.
‘For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald.