True North: Living life on your own terms

True North: Living life on your own terms
Life observations and musings from a balcony in the Mediterranean…

It appears common for people in their late twenties and early thirties to come to the realisation that they've waited too long to chase after their dreams

They often feel stuck, caught between the choice of "settling down" and taking risk to pursue a life that holds meaning for them

Those who chose a career, marriage, children and/or mortgages too early in life have inadvertently given up years of adventure, self-beneficial freedom - all ingredients which help people better understand themselves

A question: How do you really know what you want in life if you haven’t lived on your own schedule?

What is your definition of living? Ordering Dominos pizza on a Friday night? Going to bed early on Sunday? Trying foreign looking items at a local Lidl?

Consider this: perpetually waking up without a schedule, in total tranquility. Allowing your mind to wander indefinitely. “What if I decided to book a flight to the Mediterranean this weekend?” And proceeding to do so - alone - on your own schedule, without the need to justify your actions, ask permission or organise anything other than the trip itself?

People instantly dismiss this as some fantasy. It seems to hurt the framework of their imagination and instead of entertaining the thought, they dismiss it as something wildly unattainable

Why? I don’t think it’s because it’s an unattractive concept. I believe perhaps this level of life deviates too far away from the conventional and people falsely believe it’s unimaginably expensive

As I age, I realise the majority of people are reluctant to veer off the beaten path, largely because they are overly conscious of others' perceptions of their lives. - It’s why most peoples social media consists of carefully crafted selfies all in the pursuit of excessive attention and validation from random onlookers

Some societies display an intensely peculiar fascination with specific interpretations of what they perceive as idyllic or ‘successful’. Where I’m from in the UK, owning a home has evolved into a cult-like devotion. The act of paying off a mortgage is strangely seen as a high-level achievement in life. Almost as if it’s the holy grail of existence

These little obscurities exist in all areas of the world; In the 45+ countries that I've visited, I've come across a broad spectrum of such social values

Opting for a course less trodden can seem an uncertain decision. It might first appear as irrational to embrace uncertainty. However, once you comprehend that life's volatility is an ever-present factor, irrespective of the path pursued, it begins to make a lot of sense. An adage that's forever imprinted in my mind says:

“Wind extinguishes a candle and energises fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.”

Ultimately, fulfilment comes from living a life that is authentic and aligned with one's own values and desires. Originality comes from stepping away from the crowd, thinking the unthinkable and cultivating your personality without the influence or judgment of others. This is why I believe; If someone does not appreciate solitude, they will never fully understand or value their freedom.

You see, when you live on your own schedule, uninfluenced by others, only then are you in control of your time. Only then are you truly free.

Actively living my twenties in a format which favours freedom in every possible aspect of the word, has opened my eyes to my own morality. I know who I am and what I stand for. The compass always points true north

It’s not necessary to know the exact direction or path you’re headed. Sometimes, it's about exploring different paths and being open to the experiences that come your way. Understanding what you truly want in life often requires introspection, trial and error, and paying attention to what activities, people, and environments bring you a sense of fulfilment, purpose, and joy

When I travel, I make an effort not to make plans. Instead, I control some basic variables based on the level of adventure I’m seeking - similar to how a gardener may perfectly design the conditions of a greenhouse in the winter. They’re in control of the thermostat and distribution of water. However, everything beyond that is a bit of an experiment. Some seedlings bloom, whilst others perish. You learn what works, and what doesn’t. You repeat, refine and evolve this process based on what you think you know

The secret lies in embracing the journey of life, not fixating on the "answer" or final destination. Life parallels music in many ways - it's not about reaching the end of a song, its more about enjoying each note along the way.

In the grand scheme of things a life well-lived is subjective, and what brings fulfilment to one person may not bring it to another. Everybody has different limitations, and perspectives

I would argue however, there are some easily identifiable and universally objective metrics to measure one’s general approach to life; health, time and freedom

If we assume we all agree that those three items are the ultimate measure of well-being; we should periodically take time to emphatically ask ourselves how our situation measures up

A simple heuristic would be, in your daily conversations, how often do you say things, like; “I wish I had time to do that”

I observe many people getting so bogged down into the details of life they ignore the bigger picture. Us humans have a tendency to over-commit, under-prioritise, and lack the discipline to make time for what genuinely matters. Our desires and dreams become something we'll do "someday," and for those who endlessly compromise and wait - that day will almost certainly never arrive