I am probably driving my friends nuts right now, because in the last couple of months most of my FB posts basically say this:
Life. Is. Good.
Or I tell them how much I love my life. Or how much I love my home. And my (new) home town! I think I have finally found my way home here actually… After 7 years.
In my old home town, when you exited through customs at Arlanda International, the corridor out to the arrivals hall had pictures of famous Swedes. Her Royal Majesty the Queen of course. Efva Attling. Ingemar Bergman I think. And it said “Welcome to my home town”. I loved that hallway. I loved the feeling I had when I walked through it and into the crisp Stockholm air. But the last time I flew in, it was gone. It was replaced by a gigantic Huawei ad. It didn’t make me love Stockholm any less, or miss it when I’m not there, but it was an interesting coincidence in time.
I spent 24 hrs in Stockholm and I stayed up almost the whole night. I walked through the few hours of dusk that is the only “night” we get there in late June, through the night and into the sunrise. I loved every minute of it and it is still where my heart belongs. I went to one of my old haunts, the bar at Sturehof, and I saw the same 20-something year old blondes, flirting with the same 50-something year old men with their club jackets and cravats. And it was comforting. It made me feel at home and as if I could come back next week, or five years from now and it would still be exactly the same. And I would still feel just as home as I did this summer. As I did when I left almost 7 years ago.
Perhaps it was those moments and feelings that changed everything for me. That helped break the last chink in the chain that has made me feel so trapped here. Or maybe it was the 15 hrs I spent in London for a job interview, that made me realise that I don’t want to leave anymore… Initially I did really want that job and I really wanted to move back home. I had decided. My mind was made up and I was ready to go. I had let go of my fears and all the “but what if’s”. I had my mind set on getting that job and I aced every interview on the way. I was going to get an offer and I was ready to start negotiating. But that whole process started in end of April and as time passed and I was still in Seattle, perhaps not physically all the time but I was still living there yet emotionally and intellectually I had already left, things started changing…
Slowly but steadily my whole life changed – even more than it already did since last July.
I was so ready to leave that I stopped caring about my job completely. But not in a negative sense, I just stopped being so emotionally attached and I stopped letting the job, and some of the annoying people that come with every job, get to me. I started putting in a lot fewer hours but I got a lot more done, because now I had perspective. I was able to pick out a few things that had maximum impact and visibility and because I was not getting caught up in a ton of BS, I had time to do them really well. For the first time in probably 3 years, I was ahead of schedule and I had time to think both strategically and logically and get sh*t done! I’m more satisfied with the work I do, which makes me a lot more relaxed and happier, which in turn makes me do even better work.
And so the old negative spiral, have been replaced by a positive one, and all it took was 15 months of self-reflection, acknowledgment and commitment to myself and to changing my life.
My colleagues notice the difference and so do my stakeholders and managers. And I am having fun at work again!
Because I work less but get more/better done, I have a lot more free time when I am really “free”. So I have started making new friends and I spend time with them every week, going for Happy Hour, dinners, and even going clubbing. I’ve had a girlfriend stay over for the weekend, having a great time and we speak almost every day and get together at least once a week. She is a right energy bundle and always comes up with a ton of stuff to do, so hiking, camping and skiing are already on the books. I also made other plans with other friends, visited some in NOLA, had another one up for a long weekend, went with one for a girls weekend in Vegas and I’m planning an autumn getaway with a fourth. Right now I am in the Philippines, diving for a weekend, because I was working here earlier this week and made “me” a priority as well as work. Heck, I already have plans for Thanksgiving and it’s 2 1/2 months out!!
I have time. I have energy. I have friends to have fun with and I make that a priority!
But I made other friends too. And I even started dating again! And not by spending hours of time in front of a screen, answering stupid questions and writing wish lists on some dating app but by getting out there just meeting people. And I seem to attract and meet a lot of people! Because I’m happy and relaxed and it shows of course…
When you are happy and you have fun, you make others happy and you are fun to be around!
And as the months passed, the interviews went by, I went to London for a couple and then I met my potential future boss in Vegas… And I liked him and would absolutely consider working for him! But as everything else changed around me, I started really liking and enjoying my life just the way it is. I started having doubts about the new company because they took forever and were a bit weird in some aspects. And I started to ask myself “Why move to London and take a job that gives me less money and 50-100% more work, with higher taxes an higher cost of living… And leave all my new friends and start all over again?”. To be closer to my family and “friemily” in Sweden, was the simple answer, but would I have time to see them anyway was the next logical question…?! If I work 60-80 hrs a week, traveling around Europe half of the time? I doubt that.
So when they called two weeks ago to inform me I did not get the job, I was relieved!
I don’t need to leave anymore and I don’t even need to consider it at the moment. But the most important thing is that this whole process made me see that I’m no longer trapped here. I’m no longer a prisoner of my own desires or cravings to be somewhere else. I’m here because I choose to be here. And I am free to leave whenever I want.
And that’s the moral of this story I guess: I’m no longer trapped. I’m free to walk out whenever I choose too. But I choose to be here. At least for now.
I choose to stay. And I’m truly, madly, deeply… Happy. And I am so grateful for everything I have – and that I finally found it, right here, in front of my eyes – once I stopped craving and desiring it…
And that’s the power of detachment in my own experience:
You don’t crave it – it comes to you.
You don’t look for it – it seeks you out.
You don’t cling to it – it stays with you.