Travelling solo in a campervan around New Zealand, yoga, weight loss, singing lessons, housesitting and a self-portrait project! What’s going on with Naomi?
Last year I realised I was not actually happy with a number of aspects of my life. How is that possible? I have a caring husband, amazing friends, a beautiful house, I work from home, I choose my own hours and I do a multitude of voluntary work — which is extremely rewarding.
But somehow, it isn’t enough. I want more. The part of my life I was not happy with the most was me. I have just turned 47 years old and I still don’t know who I really am or where I want to be.
Mid-life crisis I hear you say? Yep, you are probably right, and I’m quite ok with that. There’s a ticking clock inside us all which will one day be silent and my biggest regret would be not knowing who I am and what I am truly capable of. There’s more of ME inside that has not had an opportunity to come out yet.
I Needed to Take Charge of My Own Life
One of the reasons for this, I feel, is having lived with a chronic illness since age 12 and having pain every day since then. It’s hijacked a good part of my life. I’ve done pretty well despite this but have been a hostage for a long time.
I’ve been given the best treatments of the time over the decades and endured many surgeries, which have allowed me to keep going. I got used to being taken care of, and somehow along the way I forgot that I could play a role in my health (and life too, for that matter). But I didn’t want to be just “ok”, I needed more. And that “more” could not be prescribed by my doctors. It was up to me to make the difference I was seeking.
To be able to do the things I have dreamed of and figure out the “me” I haven’t worked out yet, I needed to become stronger and healthier. My world wasn’t going to change if I didn’t change something. No one can climb mountains while lying in bed, so I started with walking, then walked more. I felt a bit stronger. I did more, then started yoga, which rocked my world. I ate better, lost weight and felt great. Everything fed off each other. As my overall health improved and my body became stronger, I felt like I was unlocking parts of me I’d never really known.
I started yoga with one-on-one sessions, which was wonderful as my teacher could work with my body limitations. Once confident I would do yoga at home most days.
Being Free to Find ME
Physically and mentally, I am changing. Knowing I am responsible for these changes is powerful and scary, but I want to keep embracing and exploring them. Some of them are not easy, particularly the mental ones, which feel very new to me. I always thought I had that aspect of my life sorted.
Having this window of better health has given me the independence that for a long time I couldn’t have. I’m seeing the world through different eyes. A warrior in me has been unleashed and I need to experience this side of me now. Not in 10 years, but NOW.
I’m tired of having to play it safe and not take chances. My whole life has been about that. So I’m starting to do things out of my normal comfort zone and I feel brave for that. I am experiencing things I have dreamed of, without worrying what others think and I am saying the things I’ve always wanted to say, instead of holding them inside until it hurts.
I have a hunger for more — to learn what is needed to make me whole. I have to get to know the person inside I’ve always wanted to be.
So if you see me wandering some more, it’s because I need the space to get to know this side of me I’ve just met.
Left: Completion of 10km walk around Uluru. Middle: Image from 52-week self-portrait project. Right: Housesitting farmhouse on a remote Tasmanian island.