Thankfully, it didn’t take someone dying for me to re-evaluate my life. Being morbid and existentialist comes naturally to me and I am painfully aware how easy it is to die.
This means I’ve always believed in living a full life and that patience is not a virtue. We should be impulsive and make and take opportunities. Life is to be lived. It’s these principles which guided me into my London life as a high school teacher. The job was challenging and demanded versatility and there was always something new to be doing in London. I got long holidays and had the time and money I needed to go traveling once a year.
However, somewhere along the line it had all gone wrong. I went to work, pushed paper, came home, and watched the Big Bang Theory. I was constantly waiting for some event or the holidays or for someone to do stuff with. It wasn’t awful but it certainly wasn’t good. I felt a responsibility to myself to be living a “big and full life”. When I pictured my future at the perfect school, with the well-located flat, my two beautiful cats and the considerate and caring partner, I saw myself standing between two mirrors, my identical reflections never-ending into the future.
So I quit. I quit the job, the flat and the boyfriend, and some caring friends gave my cats a new home. I quit the normal trajectory of life. Nothing pushed me, there was no tragic event and nothing to run from. It was a natural decision and it felt like fulfillment. I didn’t need a sign to know I was doing the right thing.
Within the next year I moved to the mountains. I’ve skied since I was 4 years old but the idea of being a ski instructor had previously been something that “other people did”. I spent ten weeks In Switzerland training — easily the best ten weeks of my life so far — then I went to Japan to work as a ski instructor for the rest of the winter. Japan was much more of a challenge. I was the only girl in the ski school, most of the boys were ten years younger than me, and the flat and buildings I lived in were dismal and freezing. I felt small and trapped. However, not a single hair of me regrets it. I didn’t expect my big and full life to be perfect and easy. I want to live a life of experience and learning — I can’t think of a less cringe way to word it.
The main challenge I have faced has been from some of those close to me at home. A 28 year old woman is normally pushing for a mortgage, marriage and babies. That’s what people can relate to and I didn’t know how abnormal my decision was until I was doing it. In stark contrast some of my nearest and dearest would be ecstatic for my newly engaged friends but pitying to me. I didn’t understand why I was getting comments of sympathy when I was doing something which I was so happy and excited about. The months I was waiting to move were more isolating and alienating than I knew they could be. This was a big struggle for me but I know that the life I was rejecting was exactly the life some of them were praising. Whenever someone now says something that shows they don’t understand my decisions, I take it as a sign that I’m doing something different and, for me, right.
When to Jump™ is a community dedicated to exploring the fundamental question we all think about: when is the right time to go do what you really want to be doing?