1st March 2015
What will your next step be?
One of first steps to where I am now was when I got my first job at Pizza Hut. I was 15 and fairly independent. I thought I knew what was what and looking back I can say with confidence I was a child of a small town and the mentality that came with it. I did not know that much, let alone what I thought I should know or what I wanted to know. I was the youngest on the team for quite a while and being surrounded by managers in their 30’s and 40’s and 18 year olds getting ready to go to university blew my mind! Everyone was so grown up and clued up. They knew things. Many things. I wanted to know so many things but my immediate challenge was to get the Ranch dressing in the crock without spilling it everywhere!
By the time I moved to university in 2001, my scope on the world opened a bit more.I met people from all over the UK and different parts of the world. I met people of different religions, sexuality, ethnicity and many people who liked many different things. University life was a positive learning curve but it did nothing to alleviate my anxiety of who I was and what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be and how I was going to do it. If anything it gave me too many options, I wanted to do everything but committed to nothing.
Fast forward a few years to May 2009, I had committed to teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) and had just completed my CELTA. I landed in Bangkok to teach English at a small private language institute. Honestly, I took this job as it was the first school to get back to me and this combined with working three jobs and sleeping on my friend’s floor back in the UK, I jumped at the chance.
I knew no one in Bangkok.
I knew nothing.
My time in Bangkok was AMAZING. I had to learn everything, how to get about the city, take the bus, order food, pay bills, the list goes on and on. Most importantly I had to make friends. Real friends. Proper friends. Not colleagues or nodding acquaintances but friends, people to share my life with and let me into theirs. From knowing no one this was a real challenge and learning to do everything from scratch certainly gave me more clarity and confidence in making decisions.Why should I invest time in something or someone if it doesn’t bring happiness to my life? It was a giant step getting me towards where I am now and I am so grateful for the 14months I spent there.
Pokhara, Nepal, February 2013. This I can say for certain was one of those life moments that shut many doors to uncertainty and pointed me with confidence in the direction I am still heading today. Volunteering at Dharamasthali through IVHQ for 4 weeks teaching English to Grade 4 and working alongside the wonderful Hari and meeting such an array of amazing people brought something to my life that I never knew I had been missing. Pure joy. There were no conditions to this joy and I never felt in-debt to it. It was an emotion that was new to me but I can happily say now it has become a more regular presence in my life.
Now I am 31 (at the time of writing) and if you had asked my 15 year old me my response would have been something along the lines of ‘that is well old’ and if you had asked my 6 year old me being 31 ‘is ancient’ but I can say that 31 is 31. Nothing more and nothing less. I know I am on the right path and while it took me, compared to some, longer to get here, I took the steps to get here. I am here now and it is my path and I am walking it one step at a time. Yoga has been a huge support and influence over the past 3 years in my journey and I am so thankful I went to my first yoga lesson. I am even more thankful I persisted and went to the second and the third and the fourth lesson. It took me ages and I really mean ages to be able to touch my toes without straining something!
The reason I write this today and not tomorrow or next week or never is because of a song I listened to at the gym today.
It’s one foot forward
Now the other one
That’s the first step
Let’s make another oneRepeat the process
Pretty soon you’ll notice
You’re moving forward
And it’s all good
I have listened to this song many a time, I love the artist and what he has to say but today I heard the song for the first time. I have taken another step on my journey by reflecting and writing this.