Credits to Edinburgh
If you asked me three or four years ago, who is the most shy person I know – guess to whom I would point? Yep, probably to myself. I was shy in the sense of never feeling in control of my surroundings. I found myself following much more often than leading. I was having big dreams in my head, but had no idea how to find courage to pursue them or even believe in them.
I guess we all have this “something” that we keep chasing constantly in our minds. This is not necessarily a huge dream, however it might as well be. It can be stability, or it can be a car; it can be finding our true love, or it can be becoming more brave. Doesn’t matter. Our human nature seems to be pushing us forward, towards achieving something that promises a “happy ever after” life. This is exactly what I am doing now with this writing – chasing a fantasy of a perfect/ freelance/ digital nomad life.
Today, as I am still introducing what this blog will be about, I see no other way but to write some words about my moving to Edinburgh. I can’t help but perceive it as a breaking point in my life. No matter how casually I try to talk about this city, it never sounds casual, but rather a bit pompous. So get ready for this feel.
Two years ago I found myself in one of these moments when you need to take some sort of decision. Graduating from university finally opened new doors for me and I realized that all the time in the world was mine. I felt like I had to find something in order to prove my own worth to myself. And basing on the experiences I had acquired so far, this thing had to be work. So I went with it and moved to Edinburgh in order to develop an art project with my friends. We were hoping to eventually turn it into business and work our asses off doing something we love. I was excited also because I saw an opportunity for kicking myself out of the Polish comfort zone, which I had never before done for more than a month of two. I didn’t do Erasmus during my studies. This was my turn to conquer the world.
Edinburgh was, is and – I suppose – will always be my promised land. Not once and not twice am I going to write about what happened to me in that city. I have been coming there since 2013 for longer or shorter periods and each time this place was a mirror for me, reflecting how I changed since the last visit. It is about the contrast: Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat or Princes Street – they don’t change much. Every time I come they are there, overlooking the city, static and welcoming. And because they stay the same, I can easily use them as a stable background to amplify the colour of my inner transformation. It has always worked like that and that’s the first reason I am so full of sentiment towards Edinburgh.
So when I came to live there for a year, the city obviously taught me more than ever before. First of all, moving abroad is something that urges us to redefine ourselves – know what I mean? New language, new friends, new job, new culture and city… Different circumstances make you realize that you can also be a different person. That there are things to your personality which you never thought you had. But they are equally important and they ask for your attention, right here right now. You cannot ignore them anymore now that they came to the surface. And you have to handle this new information about yourself somehow.
For me this information was so hidden, that it took some time to dig in and see it. But the more I saw, the more I wanted to dig, because this new truth about myself was fascinating. I realized that I cared about being creative and about connecting to God. I discovered how capable I was of FEELING and how I had been ignoring this ability as irrelevant for most of my life. I saw how desperately I was looking for love, as in, romantic life companion. And I was learning this kind of new things about myself and the world every single day.
I mention these self-realizations here and now, because this is one of the main topics I want to be tackling on this blog. Conscious living – in my opinion it involves both self-awareness and the awareness of happenings in the outer world. It is not about recalling what happened yesterday, a week ago or 100 years ago. It is about being up-to-date with the now. As much as we can. This is what I have been exploring and this is where I am coming from with my writing.
Adding a bit more to my “self-exploration” story, in Edinburgh I also came to believe that “in order to find yourself, you first have to lose yourself”. So I brought myself to a couple of places where I definitely felt lost. I moved to France where I lost myself in work. I lost myself in the feeling of being broken-hearted. I felt lost not knowing what to do next, where to live, where to work, or what I even care about in life. I felt lost not being able to take a decision.
Now, from a perspective, I think that the first step to learning from all these difficult experiences is to admit them to yourself. So at some point I allowed myself to accept the state of not knowing. Moving through the unknown. Jumping in to the dark water. There are so many metaphors for this state, which probably means that a lot of people have been there and they needed words to describe it. I have been there, too, and now I think it was one of the most precious experiences I’ve had.
So this is where I am coming from – the unknown. And it was in the unknown that I came to the realization of what I really enjoy doing, which is writing. Then came the conclusion that it actually is a possibility to be doing it on a regular basis, and maybe even earn money from it. There are people who are doing it – I noticed.
And then there was the most exciting, scary and empowering moment. I understood that I will never know whether I can be writing, unless I try. So here I am, trying.
PS: There will be one more “introductory” article explaining the idea of AFOOT project in more detail. After that one, I am going to start with more conceptualized texts.