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If You Want Life to Be Different, Live Differently

For longer than I can remember, I have said that I want to write a book.  For longer than I can remember, I’ve said that I want to share more on YouTube and see if I could turn my passions (and favourite hobby) into a career.  For many years now, the life I’m living is nothing to complain about on any level … but it’s not spot on how I really want it to look either. 

Through all those years, have I started a book?  Yes.  Started and stopped more times than I can remember.  Have I explored more in the vlogging and videography world?  Hell yes, but never consistently and always without a proper plan. 

That all stops this weekend. 

In recent years I’ve had some valid “champagne problem” reasons for not succeeding and challenging myself more. I was dealing with a hard case of empty nest syndrome following my daughter’s departure from home. I’ve relocated internationally for jobs that didn’t work out, leaving me further and further behind financially while I was still putting my daughter through university. I was alone last year with an injury, which was rough to say the least. And I’ve held way too many pity parties for myself over the above items and it has held me back.

During a short time, and up until a few months ago, I used to drink myself to sleep. I’d stop communicating with friends for weeks or months on end and hunker down solo like I lived in a fallout shelter. And when I’d try to write or shoot video during those times, I couldn’t find enough truth or joy in myself to feel that I had anything to say worth sharing.

Being single and serially unsocial, it took a really long time to snap out of that state but it’s done now. It’s my guess that no one could have pushed me out of the tunnel sooner than I was ready to exit but I do wonder if I was living nearer to my closest friends if things would have gone on as long as they did.

The Key to Feeling Yourself Again

If you’re going through anything similar, you’ll understand what I’m saying. It takes time to recover from whatever you’ve gone through that suddenly stopped YOU from being YOU and turned your world upside down. I know this is true. But I also know that I didn’t really TRY to start changing my life either by doing more of what I love to do (like heading out each day and shooting video). I now know that I did myself a disservice by not trying to take control of my life sooner by taking baby steps and simply “doing something I love” every day.

And that’s the key I think … doing what we love.  This will help us find the joy in our life again. 

So starting tomorrow I’m going to drag my ass out of the condo and start exploring Kuala Lumpur, camera in hand!  It’s not a grand master plan by any means but it’s a step forward until I have a clearer idea for the path I’d like to walk down.  I’m also in the pre-planning stage for a 6-month travel project to start writing my book.  Who knows if it will work but I’m more excited about it than any other project in years so that’s a damn good sign to me!!!

My Best Advice

If you love to ride your bike in the hills, go do that as often as you can. If it’s hiking or gardening or volunteering or singing karaoke or photography … do that. The sooner you immerse yourself in positivity by doing something your heart genuinely feels joy doing, the sooner “forced joy” will abandon you and “real joy” will take over!

My only plan right now is to go out and video the micro-stories that surround me in my daily life … those stories that only I can share. And to limit my alcohol to just a couple drinks a week because I really look like shit the next day when I drink. Since it stopped being a crutch for me months ago, there’s no reason to not nix it from my life almost entirely.

I realise this won’t be everyone’s dose of pure inspiration but for me, Casey Neistat’s video ‘Do What You Can’t’ always makes me feel like I can conquer the world when I watch it. It’s all about how what used to pass for good values and sage advice, in today’s world is terrible advice.  That sometimes, it’s exactly what people tell you YOU SHOULDN’T DO that is exactly what you should be doing!  That doing what we can’t is often what will make us the happiest … and able to live the truest forms of ourselves.  And just because it hasn’t been done yet, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.  Just watch it.  It’s an ode to content creators and youtubers but it’s a message that I think anyone at a crossroads can gain inspiration from 🙂

One last word of concern and advice: I’ve had readers reach out after reading my empty nest syndrome articles who say they’ve contemplated suicide over their feelings.  If you ever start to feel that low, immediately call and setup an appointment with a therapist or call and tell these raw and honest feelings to someone you trust.  Life is full and ebbs and flows.  Those highs never last and the lows always go …. Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us that. 

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!