I had a great time in Europe visiting my 2 homes, UK and Portugal. In 7 weeks I did quite a bunch of things that filled me with love and joy.
One of the funny things that happened was the amount of people who told me I looked well, better, truly happy, ‘something in your eyes’ they said. Another close friend told me I was different, something was different.
Truth is, I do feel different! I guess through time and experience I have come to fully accept me. My answer to my friend was "I feel comfortable in my skin and proud of who I am". When you are truly at peace with that, little things in life get a special taste.
I have been doing a lot and defying a lot of my own limitations and the results have made me very proud. Physically speaking, I am proud of what I've done over the last few years. I hated running but managed to run 2 half marathons this year. I don't particularly like swimming - I'm afraid of open water and I struggle to stay calm in the pool - and yet, I'm currently training for a triathlon. I am massively afraid of fighting and yet, I've had 3 fights, 2 of which in Thailand, full contact Muay Thai (no head protection, no chin pads, elbows, knees and kicks allowed to the head, etc).
Intellectually speaking, I can feel the difference in terms of the people that I attract, the people I choose to have around me and the people that choose to be around me. It also marks the type of lifestyle I live and mostly, my attitude towards a lot of things. How I react to things, how adaptable and flexible I've become, how generally and naturally positive I have become. How much more peaceful and enjoyable my life has become. All these are things that are built through time and experience.
I find myself thinking how beautiful it is to age and how much more I understand what people used to tell me when I was a child (and even now) "I wanna be 20 again, but with the knowledge I have at 50!".
A good friend of mine told me, not long ago, that our journey on earth should be about growth. Our own personal growth, whatever that means for each of us. (Good friend who was also my Bible teacher as I was growing up. She actually pinned this to the Bible and God.) I didn't realise how much that would make me think and look back on my own life. I've always found myself wondering what decisions would promote the biggest growth and how certain situations could be turned into a growth opportunity but, to be honest, there has been a lot of years where I didn't actively promote it / took it as my own responsibility.
People don't give a damn about you and you shouldn't give a damn about them either! Nobody will remember the details of your life! You can brag about doing 1 marathon or 10 marathons, the difference lies on how you feel about it! Trust me! People do not care! And whatever image of you they create in their heads, is their own problem!! So, live your life and as long as you’re fulfilled and proud, you will (or should) be happy.
While in Portugal, I had an amazing experience that made me realise a small little thing about us human beings. I went to a small coffee shop, and this lady in her 50's was proudly talking about her tattoos to a client. After he left, she took the money for my ice-cream while transpiring her amazing energy. She was lovely, very polite (which can be unusual in Portugal) and helpful. In such a way that the made an impact on me left me thinking. I realised how much of your happiness comes from truly loving and accepting yourself. And that results in a harmony of love, joy and self-pride.
The more I thought about this, the more I could remember different episodes where I had felt a truly amazing energy from another person and how that shines through their interaction with you. The more I am aware of it, the more I can identify it in people.
I guess both these things might be related and maybe this is also why people tell me I am different. In accepting myself, in knowing my worth I know I have no need to prove anything or compete with anybody else. I accept my journey and I will continue at it regardless of what other people are doing.