Today, 27 April 2016 is the day I left South Africa 3 years ago. It’s also Freedom Day, the anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, and King’s Day in the Netherlands, where I now live. An interesting set of coincidences.
What has changed? I left South Africa exhausted: creatively, mentally, physically. I was trapped in circles and spirals of responses and behaviour that I wasn’t even aware were shaping my days. It took me two years to realise how much damage I had done to myself in 10 years living in Johannesburg. Damage through strange decision making, out-of-kilter priorities and just the plain old economic realities of what I had chosen to do for a living.
I am no longer that tired, or likely to be. My livelihood is no longer dependent on the winds of change and my relationship with all things money is under a gradual rehabilitation.
My dreams have changed and so has how I go about realising them.
But I haven’t really changed that much. I am much the same person. I remain as quick to irritation as to enthusiasm. I get angry. Mostly I am not and do not. I am calmer. Amsterdam is a calm and peaceful city by comparison to Johannesburg. And small. The white noise of background stress is far, far weaker here. That helps me.
I still don’t really know where this is all going. I am going to be in the Netherlands for a long time, that much I know. I know that my specific vision of writing books and giving talks is not going to happen very soon. Or maybe it will. It’s OK, I am busy with things, I am enjoying life.
Mostly today I just wanted to acknowledge that it has been 3 years since my decision to pack up my life and business in South Africa resulted in me climbing aboard an aeroplane to London. It has been a success in that my experience of my life has changed for the better. I haven’t taken over the world. I still think about it most nights, but I am not always building plans to do so.
I’ll check in again in another 2 years and see what 5 years gone brings.
But let me say this: thanks for reading. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me. I always like to say that nothing one ever does is wasted. You may not be able to see how it can be useful at the time, but every experience, venture, success, failure, is useful to you. I really don’t know where all this is going anymore. Perhaps less so than ever. But that doesn’t freak me out anymore because I truly know it’s going somewhere and it will all add up. Same goes for you.