Single, unemployed, homeless and broaching 30. Failing miserably at life?
In my early 20’s I was sure I had my life all mapped out. By the age of 30 I was going to have made my way to the top of the Alfred Hospital’s Dietetic Department, be well and truly married and about to pop out a baby or two. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that nearing 30 (OK so I am 29 this year) I would be single, unemployed and homeless with all my worldly belongings consolidated to a few boxes here and there scattered across Melbourne. If I had of known I was to become nothing more than a transient wandering the earth I think I would have just put myself out of my misery right there and then. But that is the beauty of life, it takes on you wild adventures you could never have dreamed you would want.
So it appears … single, unemployed and homeless … and surprisingly the happiest time of my life.
At 20 years of age, 30 seemed like it would never arrive. I imagined myself to be so mature, so grown up and more importantly so ready for all the responsibilities of an adult. But after almost a decade passing in many ways absolutely nothing has changed. The idea of children still terrifies me, I cannot for the life of me imagine being in a relationship let alone married and I don’t even own a car let alone have a home! On paper it might seem like I am failing miserably at life or that I need to get my sh*t well and truly together before I end up a hopeless old spinster – or worse still a cat lady! However most days I am smiling from ear to ear, I am exploring, I am growing, I am learning and more importantly I am living. So while yes on paper I may seem to have it all wrong, in life … I have it all right.
I have never been one to follow the crowd. Give me a trend and 9 times out of 10 I will do the total opposite. When I was younger and everyone was off travelling; travel didn’t interest me in the slightest, it took me years to give in and buy and iPhone and now that it feels like everyone in my age bracket is settling – I have well and truly taken flight. One of the greatest validations in life is that others chose to live their life in a similar way to you. It is the reason that when you are single, you have mostly single friends; when you are getting married, so too is your friendship group and when you have children, what do you know – so do all your friends! When you decide to live your life in a less conventional way, it is often difficult to feel like you belong in regular life. It is easy to question yourself and why you don’t seem to want things that you should want for your age – I mean, you aren’t married and don’t want to be? What the hell is wrong with you?
At 20 I use to admire those who were top of their field. Those who had ticked all the conventional life boxes. Now nearing 30, I admire the ones who have thrown caution to the wind and followed their hearts in choosing to spend their life doing what they love. There is something truly inspiring about people who base their life choices on what makes them happiest. I no longer look at a job and imagine being happy when I have made a successful name for myself or when I finally have made enough money (because let’s face it, there is never enough!). Instead I am inspired by the many different countries around the world whose people have next to nothing and yet appear to be far happier than their Western counterparts. There is something to be said for having less and there is something to be said for being able to be grateful and feel genuine happiness from some of life’s smaller triumphs. Be it clean clothes, a decent meal or bed I have found more happiness in the tiniest of wins since travelling than I was ever able to appreciate when I had more. Why? Because having more will usually result in wanting more… and it’s the wanting that leaves us unsatisfied.
So where to from here? I guess at some stage I will entertain the idea of returning to a somewhat more normal lifestyle. But only when I am sure that these new found life appreciations are so well ingrained that there is no way I could ever return to my former self. For now I will continue to enjoy the sheer freedom that comes from being single, unemployed and without a responsibility in the world. Where my biggest concern is where my next meal will come from. Where I wake up each day and ask myself ‘what would you like to do today?’ and smile knowing I have the total and utter freedom to answer that question any way that I wish. If future Chloe could have a word with past Chloe she wouldn’t be telling her that everything turned out just as she planned, but instead the total opposite … and that it will be the best thing that ever happened to her.