‘Cause that was the real you running through the fields of gold wide open, standing in places no picture contains; That was the real you, windows down, we could smell the mint fields crying, sing with the radio to songs we can’t name – Mat Kearney, musician
This weekend I went to the Two Door Cinema Club concert with close friends, played guitar/sang three nights in a row until the early hours with good friends, started the long process of designing the interior of my new apartment, ate many fresh wood-fired pizzas in a backyard, ate crepes for breakfast, made new friends with happy and excitable chats, painted in a park at sunset, cruised around in a supercar, put together furniture with my roomy Dilan, wrote lyrics and worked on my melody at the studio, soaked up the obscenities of the Folsom Street Fair and had an abundance of jokes, hugs and smiles with beautiful boys and girls.
The total of this weekend cost me under $100 and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Being in a city like San Francisco and living so close to the action with good friends, it’s easy to immerse yourself in a cultural and activity explosion. It’s stimulating, it’s exciting, it makes me smile and I feel like a child again.
There’s a sense of fulfilment being surrounded with great, happy and positive people whilst doing the things you love. It didn’t need to cost a packet, be ruthlessly planned or thought about. It just flowed because we allowed it to.
It wasn’t always this way for me. In December 2009, I was running two companies doing work that made me want to cry, for people I felt so disconnected from. It’s like I was living someone else’s life and the people around me weren’t on my frequency. I was lonely, exhausted and broken.
I stayed like this for another year before I decided that my life wasn’t working for me and no-one else was rushing out to help me change it. I’d have to do it myself. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fulfilled and I wasn’t in love with anything. I needed to be in order to feel like my life was worth living.
The feeling of not being in love is more isolating than hate itself – at least in hate you have a focus. A lot of people have confided in me to tell me how unhappy they are with their lives. They share feelings of frustration and helplessness and how in their quest to be ‘strategic’ and smart, they lost touch of themselves. They shed tears, they ‘play’ excited faces when describing boring work and use irony as a means of treating their broken hearts. They’re not in love.
They listen in awe as I explain how I made it to San Francisco and seem genuinely intrigued about how I found the courage to walk away from everything I had in Australia; particularly to ‘throw everything away’ and start again from scratch.
It’s taken me time to change my perspective of my own story. At first I played it down because it felt self-indulgent and really not a big deal, but I realised that just maybe, my story could help inspire others to create possibility in their own lives. It might be small to me but if it’s what someone else needs to find the strength to find love again, I would give it to them immediately.
Please don’t see life as throwing anything away, taking a plunge or even as having courage. Look at it as learning to love again.
Think of the feelings you have for a childhood toy, a best friend, a great movie or just that feeling of being in a warm bed on a rainy morning on your day off from work. Think about what you did to discover those things in your life, to nuture them, to make the most of them when you could and to make the effort to keep them there.
Invest your time into the things and people you love and who make you feel strong and smiley; happiness will beat a path to your door. It’s definite that you will have to remove stuff that makes you unhappy.
Make the growth time available for yourself again, your friends, the world around you and admire the quirky ways we all seem to fit into it. It’s not your courage, intelligence, resources or a plunge that’s need – it’s your willingness to learn to love again.