Note from Dan: This is a guest post by my sister, Mel, who was inspired by the articles I’ve written and decided to try her hand at writing. I think we have a blogger in the making. Take it away, Mel!
Three years ago on Christmas Day I found out that my boyfriend of seven years had been cheating on me for six months whilst we were in the middle of planning our wedding… and it turns out it was the best thing that could have happened to me!
At the time, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, which when you think about it, is actually quite lucky as there are much worse things I could have experienced. But nonetheless it was an awful time and really threw my world into turmoil. Everything I knew and planned for had been ripped from under me and I wondered how I was going to survive in the big, bad, scary world on my own!
Three years on, looking back, I can safely say the last three years have been the best of my life and although most of that is down to the decisions I have made myself, I owe some credit to my ex, who caused me to really evaluate my life!
I had really fallen into a routine. I was very content with life, comfortable. The problem was, on reflection, I had stopped living. Having my world turned upside down really made me evaluate what I wanted from life. I decided I needed more adventure in my life. I needed to see more places, meet more people and have more fun!
One of the first things that helped me make some much needed changes to the way I lived life was reading the book ‘Yes Man’. Something about it really inspired me and I decided to follow the principles of the book by saying yes to every opportunity that presented itself to me.
This was a way of breaking some of my habit and routine and having some more adventures in my life! Through following these principles I went to Luxembourg to visit a school friend that I had not seen for ten years, I went to Dubai with a girl I had never met before to stay with another school friend for a week, and I went away with my brother to visit some friends in Cape Town where we climbed Table Mountain, went Kloofing, and had adventures galore!
I said yes to everything my friends suggested however big or small. Following this rule really got me into the habit of saying yes to things I would normally have put up barriers to, mainly due to fear. Now it just happens naturally without me thinking about it. In fact the other day one of my friends said she loved how I would always be up for doing anything that she suggested.
Follow Your Dreams
The next thing I realised was that I wanted to fulfil my dream of living abroad. I remember being on a business trip with a friend from work. We were sitting in the Dome Bar in Mumbai. I was sipping on a Cosmo, watching the sun set over the sea from our roof top position, and thinking ‘I need to live here!’
Much persuasion and organisation later, I had managed to bag a nine month assignment to Mumbai, setting up an HR shared service centre. Obviously it wasn’t all Cosmos and sunsets. It was by far the most challenging thing I had ever done in my life, but also the most rewarding.
Simple day to day tasks could often be hard to get done. Getting the internet installed in my apartment actually drove me to tears!! I was one of only very few females that had moved over to India on their own, most people were with partners or families, so sometimes just surviving day to day life on my own was hard. But I had wanted to live abroad and have that experience so I decided to really throw myself into living in India and make the very most of the experience.
I learnt Hindi and got my team at work to help me practice. People were so impressed that I could speak a bit of Hindi and it helped me get by a bit more easily in situations where English was not widely spoken.
I bought loads of Indian clothes. The material was so beautiful and they were so easy to wear, by the end of my stay I was virtually living in them (also partly due to the benefits of elasticated waists – helpful for the vast amount of curry I had been eating!)
I also had the opportunity to attend two very different and amazing Indian weddings, where I got to wear a sari, learn about the ancient traditions, meet the families and sample the exquisite food.
I travelled around India on weekends and holidays, visiting Goa, Bangalore, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Matharan, Pune, to name but a few. I made loads of friends both local and expats. I went to an untold amount of brunches and nights out. I learnt to cook some Indian food. I leant to do some Bollywood dancing. I met a few Bollywood stars. I did all the sightseeing there was to do around Mumbai and the surrounding area. I didn’t even own a TV, but I was never short of something to do.
Those nine months in India totally changed me as a person. I made some amazing friends that will always be in my life. It gave me bags of confidence and it opened up my desire for adventure even more! I wouldn’t swap that time for the world.
Live Life Like a Tourist
When I got back from Mumbai, I realised I wanted to continue to have more adventures in life. I now try to live life like a tourist. I’m always looking for something different to do, somewhere new to go, someone new to meet. It’s surprisingly easy to do and a very far cry from the girl I was three years ago, in her same old routine week in week out.
If I had got married as planned, I wouldn’t have experienced anything I have mentioned. I would still be in my old routine and missing out on so much that life has to offer. My only regret is that I had to wait for such a life-changing event to make me re-evaluate.
Don’t wait for something big to happen to make you question whether you are living a fulfilling life, check today!
Are you stuck in a lifeless routine, or did a life-changing event force you to re-evaluate your life? We’d love you to share your story in the comments below.