TLP 20. My first week back in Barcelona was tough.

Coming back to Europe and Barcelona brought with it a ton of emotions. I felt that I was ready to come back after more than two months of “soul searching” and emotional drama, I was ready for the next step. Looking back at my time in Brazil, it kind of felt like putting myself, and everything I identify with in life, into a closed box, shake it really hard so that all of the pieces that are sitting together fall apart, and then pour it through a strainer, filtering away all the things that have no direct meaning to me, before putting my priorities in line to put together the remaining pieces again.

Coming back to Barcelona I was concerned with how I would react returning to the “crime scene” of my old life. Before I left, Barcelona had been a place of excess to me, a place filled with the “good life”. I had lived a life of fancy living and I had never thought much about the cost of things or of overspending. I was afraid that it would be difficult to not go back to those old routines and habits once I got back here. What added on to this worry was that my new financial situation without an income was different from the one of my full-time working girlfriend, with whom I regularly went out dining and going to various events with before. I was worried that she would have difficulties leaving the life we lived before, with regular late night dining, drinks, spontaneous excursions and concerts, and that it would put a strain on our relationship. Luckily, she is a very understanding and supportive person. Having been back for a week, I still see my financial situation as an exciting personal challenge and I am realizing how my own values of minimalism makes it a whole lot easier. In fact, my values of simplicity and focus have only been enhanced and become even more important and central to my life, and I’ve made some huge shifts in my mindset and in my behavior that I will try to cover in a separate post.

Coming back to Barcelona I was also worried about my living situation. My entire life I have had my own space. If not my own apartment then at least my own room with my own things. I have always had a fixed point, my own home. Coming back to Barcelona, I could have rented my own room in a random apartment from the start, but it wouldn’t make sense as I figured I would want to spend every evening and night with my girlfriend anyway. So we decided that for starters I would crash with her. My girlfriend lives with a roommate and the apartment is obviously filled with their stuff, and we hide away most of my stuff under the bed. It’s a strange feeling, and at the start it was a bit overwhelming. It kind of felt like crashing in on someone else’s life, like I was constantly interrupting. In Rio it had been a bit different since I had my own room where I had my own stuff, but similarly it had felt a bit like I was living their life for a while and not fully my own. The key then was that I knew the end date of my time there so I could appreciate it in another way. Now, on the other hand, I don’t know what the future looks like. As much as it can be liberating, it is also challenging to not have my own base, a home, and having the feeling of living something temporary without knowing what’s next. However, I know that a big part of it is probably that I haven’t had any regular fixed commitments in my everyday life, I still haven’t found the meaning or purpose that I am searching for and that I want to fully commit to.

Coming back to Barcelona I also felt the pressure that the move back meant that the “trip” was over, it was time to come back to the more permanent reality and actually start doing things instead of just thinking and feeling. I knew I wasn’t quite ready, that I needed a bit more time, but the pressure was still there. Financially, but also both from myself and from family and friends asking what I’m doing now that I am back. I had an internal battle between wanting more time to get to know myself deeper, and to start creating something.

Once I got back to Europe I had enormous problem with jet lag, which I normally don’t. The combination of time difference and a slight anxiety from questioning what I’m doing and if I’m doing the right thing, amplified my difficulties of sleeping at night. I fell asleep well and easily around 11 pm, but like an internal alarm I woke up around 2 am and could’t sleep again until 5 or 6 am. This went on for a full week.

So the first week back was tough. It was filled with insecurities, worries and doubts, only enhanced by a deranged sleep cycle. But during those magical hours between 2 am and 6 am every night I made som great progress in my self awareness and I found confidence and peace in knowing that I was getting closer to defining my path through getting to know myself better. Through the increased awareness I felt how I was becoming more of myself, I felt more genuine and I felt stronger. I am now at last back to a normal sleep cycle and I have some exciting concrete actions and options coming up so right now I feel really good and empowered. Once again, I am experiencing how steep and quick the turns are between the ups and downs in a life of uncertainty, and when your roots and supporting pillars are not secured deep into the ground, when it feels like everything is shaking. However, I choose to look at it like entrepreneur Tom Preston-Werner:

“When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say, ‘Wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘Wow, I sure felt safe’.”

All love and no fear,

Philip

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