Tomorrow I'm leaving Sydney for a month in Darwin without my family and friends. When I come back from Darwin I will have 2 and a half weeks before I leave for Spain for a year. It's the last month of the year, the delivery end of a long line of preparation. I've signed up for a skype account, I've packed my bags, I've cleared out my room and begun saying goodbyes.
It's surreal to be at a crossroads in my life when I know everything is about to change. I can look out and see this future self of mine. In my mind, she's a lot more fearless and quite different from who I am now. She's got dreadlocks and wears harem pants all the time, speaks spanish fluently and has stories upon stories of travel. She's meeting people from all over the world and doing things she never thought were possible, laughs at herself more and even drinks beer (this is the most shocking of all, I assure you). She still wants to change the world, but the difference between her and me is that she's a little closer to doing it.
A lot of people speak about growing up. Growing up and growing older. They respond to the zeal and idealism of young people and their wild, larger-than-life aspirations with a sigh often followed by 'You'll understand one day' or 'When will you grow up?'. Growing up for me hasn't been about shelving the dreams I used to have but rather making conscious and deliberate decisions in order to realise them fully. When we were young our parents picked our clothes, our food, every detail of our lives. As we got older we gladly decide where we go out to, what we wear, who our friends are. Beyond that is a world of decisions that smacks you right in the face.
Suddenly, you are faced with a universe of choices that looks less like a platter of delightful possibilities and more and more like a headache of impending doom, failure and the great unknown. 'Who are you going to be?' 'What are you going to do with your life?' 'What job are you going to end up with?' The onslaught of questions begin and they don't stop. The entire course of the rest of your life seems to weigh on what you are doing right this second. No pressure, but this isn't something you want to get wrong.
With all these decisions it weighs simply on the way you look at it. Having the freedom to choose how your life will turn out is scary to say the least but the pay off is taking steps to your future life full of all the chocolate you can eat, the beaches you can swim in and every sun-bathed dream you ever had. That future self is one of your own making, and one that is waiting on you to take those decisions now.
Deep breaths, deep breaths and more deep breaths. Below is one of my favourite passages that drives the dreams I have, the decisions I make and the crazy image I have of my future self. Hopefully you all get to meet her next year and she doesn't disappoint. For now, here's something my now-self would like to leave you with.