Don't fight against the current

My time in Melbourne was an absolute symphony of colour and emotions, highs and lows. In between all the laughter and tears, work and play whirled a tornado of thoughts that affected everything on my path. I have eluded as to why I was back in Melbourne, and hinted at something of a love story from Croatia, but have not yet written about it, because it was all too fresh and raw. In fact I am still not going to write much about it here, because, well there is simply too much to write, there are many stories within the story, and it will just have to wait for another day - when I write my book perhaps. What I can say is that I was back in Australia to see friends and family after so many years of travel. It was a test of sorts; first to see whether I was ready to be back and settled, but the real test lay in whether the love I had in Croatia was strong enough to last through distance and time, and eventually allow me to follow my heart back to Croatia.

Adjusting to life after travel was the first real challenge. I have already written about the dilemmas and emotions I went through trying to re-assimilate myself into reality. The next was an unforeseen challenge, routine. Friend and foe. While travelling many people have most likely experienced the need for routine - while the unexpected, unplanned, and whim of travelling is magical; many times throughout my journey I felt myself longing for a routine, a job, a gym membership, the same group of friends, a local pub. Once I was finally immersed a little more in my reality in Melbourne, I enjoyed my routine, work, friends, gym, drinks... But in the process I lost my inspiration, my spark for life. Like when Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz falls asleep in the field of poppies, I was asleep in my waking day, and felt further away from my goal of getting back to Croatia. I was hardly driving my life or career forward in Melbourne, but nor was I making real plans, financially or other wise to get myself back to Croatia. Almost all of my actions were self-defeating. This only led me to get more down on the entire situation, and I started sabotaging my own happiness in more than one way.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a ball in Melbourne, made some incredible life-long friends, maintained other friendships, my passion for hospitality was reignited through waitressing again, and I rediscovered and grew my passion for fitness and health. This all sounds great on paper, and to the outside world, maybe it looked like I was doing ok. But underneath lay a strong under-current of negative thoughts, pulling me further away from the shore, and my true goal. The same reoccurring negative thoughts and fears of the ego:
You’re no good, you’re never going to amount to anything, this love is foolish, you don’t deserve it, you’re going to fuck it up, you’re no saint, where is all your money, you are going nowhere fast...

What I forgot while I was stuck in this current is something we are taught from a young age when swimming at the beach – if you ever find yourself in a rip, do not fight against the current, let it take you as far as it will, then once out, you can move aside and swim back in without resistance... Just let it be.
Instead I fought tooth and nail with these thoughts and feelings, to the point where I almost lost the battle and drowned in it...

 I didn’t remain faithful and committed to the idea that I would get back to Croatia and this guy. When asked what my plan was, I stopped giving a definitive and convincing answer that I was merely in Melbourne for 6months and was heading back to Croatia... I would say that I ‘kind of had a guy in Croatia...’ with very little conviction because at first I didn’t want to sound naive or divulge such a ridiculous love story, how could I truly explain any of this to someone?? Secondly, I started losing faith and talking myself out of the whole idea – everything about it was ludicrous right?! I mean seriously, what was I thinking, crossing the world for some guy?! It was THE goal, but a goal without a plan, remains just that – a goal. It wasn’t part of my waking intention; I wasn’t making clear precise steps and plans to get myself back to Croatia. I would blow my money, enjoy the present, grow regret and guilt – eat, sleep then repeat.

This was the greatest challenge that I didn’t foresee. My lack of inspiration and determination to get exactly what it was I wanted. It was the first time in a long time that I really doubted what it was I was doing, not just in this instance, but I doubted my path and purpose almost to the core. Throughout my travels, trials and tribulations, I have lost my way many times, but I never truly lost this deep-seeded faith that it would all work out, that I was on the right path, if I just kept pushing forward. The comfort and familiarity of Melbourne made me fall asleep among the poppies and almost lost myself in the process.
The last challenge was one I did of course expect - maintaining a love through the distance and time. I have a history of being extremely fickle with love. One second I love them, the next... meh. Ok, it doesn’t happen exactly like that or exactly that quickly, but for the purposes of not turning this post into a novel and recapping all my failed attempts at love, let’s just say that this is how most stories have gone. So I kind of expected this to happen. I knew that there was something special in what we had, but would it last?

If this were a fairy tale, we would have either a) met, and were never again apart... or b) met, when I had to leave, I then did everything within my power to get back to the man I love. Every waking moment filled with thoughts, of getting back, all intentions and actions springing from this...

But life is not a fairy tale. Life is beautiful, for all of its shades. But it is not a fairy tale. For while all movies and fairy tales show the highlight reel, it is those behind the scene battles and dramas that really make up the story. Of course I had doubts. I am human. And like I said, when it comes to love I have always been fairly fickle. While I love ‘love stories’, and consider myself a romantic, I am probably more attuned to the pessimistic view. So my ego had a field day. Constantly doubting what it was I was doing, creating scenarios and an environment where doubt, fear and guilt flourished, rather than love, faith and trust. I am not perfect. My time in Melbourne was a mixed bag of emotions to say the least. And while I consciously and unconsciously tried looking for others to feel something for, or even fall for, it never came to be. I truly thrashed around in that rip fighting against that quiet, calm voice that whispered ‘accept it, you love him’.

One morning something happened. that voice that had lay dormant in that field, or drowned out among my thrashing in the current, finally found a space between the thrashing and shouted: ‘WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, LET’S DO THIS, LET’S SWIM BACK TO SHORE, BACK TO CROATIA, BACK TO HIM, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?!’ It surprised even me with the strength and power behind it’s voice. And that was it. Within seconds I was on the computer, and booked my ticket. Did I have much money saved? Nope. Did I have a plan? Nope. Was this in any way the actions of a reasonable person? Hell no! But you know what, FUCK reasonable.

Now this story I could have written differently, I could have tried to word it to highlight my time in Melbourne, how I stayed the course, lived my life there with purpose and spark, while never taking my eye off and working towards the ultimate goal of getting back to Croatia. How I stayed committed to the idea of me and this guy, never lost faith, and knew without an ounce of doubt that this is the love of my life, and this is my happy ending... Maybe it would have been more inspirational... But the thing is, this isn’t how it happened at all. I have said it already and I will say it again. This story is no fairy tale. I am far from perfect, and while this may be a brave move, I had many more moments of cowardice throughout my time in Melbourne than bravery. I am no heroine, but I am determined to let no other hold the pen to the story of my life; and I am committed to trying to share the good, the bad and the downright ugly along this journey. While this description doesn’t even come close to explaining all of the emotions and fears that swirled around me and tried their best to pull me under; it hopefully shows more colours of a real story.

Thankfully shoutings of the not-so-quiet inner-voice, combined with impulse made me book my ticket! This is not THE happy ending; it is A happy ending to ONE chapter, but the beginning of many more to come. It is definitely not going to be easy, in fact I have no doubt that some of the harder challenges are yet to come, but I am ready for that, because this is MY life and MY story, I will accept nothing less! Once again the darkness has proven to be as great a teacher, if not a greater teacher than the light. Time again I learn that we cannot reach new heights, without first reaching new depths and crevices of the darker side of our mind. This quote from one of my favourite authors, sums this ending up nicely.

At times when we have to take a very important decision, it is better to rely on impulse, passion, because the reason generally tries to steer away from the dream, citing the justification that has not yet come forward. The reason is fear of defeat. But intuition loves life and life’s challenges.
- Paulo Coelho

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