This past weekend I was overcome with a bad case of what I call the ‘wanderlust woes’ or the ‘PLOM’ (an acronym for ‘poor little old me’).
“Why can’t I be in PAAAAAAARIS?!”
“Why does she get to go to Rome AGAAAAAAAAIN?!”
“Why does he get a new car aaaaaaaaaaaand a new house?!”
I wanted to be anywhere but here and doing anything but what I was doing. I was ready to call the whole weekend off. James Oppenheim said, “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise man grows it under his feet.” So, I guess, in the moment, I was being extremely foolish.
In a valiant attempt to cheer me up the idea of making a road trip to Patensie came about. (Patensie is a town in the Cacadu District Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa). I might not have been able to blow the Eiffel tower a kiss while nibbling a delectably fresh, Parisian macron, but – I could embrace what I was able to do – in my own beautiful country. Only, I first needed to take the time to actually acknowledge and appreciate this fact. It was a good lesson of which I needed reminding. I did eventually ‘get it’.
If I had continued focussing on what I didn’t have and where I couldn’t go I would have stayed in pyjamas all weekend, had a pity party with zero in attendance, and had a really glum time. Instead, I drove just 100 kilometres out of town and in so doing I left my stinking thinking, at the city’s perimeter. I’m so glad I did as I was greeted with a plethora of beauty, nature, inspiration and rows of spectacular fruit bearing citrus orchids.
Discovering a delightful farmstall, Padlangs, (meaning ‘along the road’ in English) in the middle of nowhere, was an unexpected surprise. Sipping coffee with the Kouga Mountains as a backdrop was sublime.
I spent most of the day outdoors enjoying the sunshine, breathing in fresh, clear air, picking and eating sticky, juicy oranges and exploring dusty but inviting pathways. I had a glorious time and took a multitude of photos. Although the bright sun thwarted my attempts at fully capturing the splendour, I carry the memories.
The road trip reminded me to appreciate where I am and what I do have. When I don’t do this, I feel stifled and as though life is holding out on me. When I am honing in on what isn’t there or what I don’t possess, life somehow becomes a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. And, when I come to my senses and realise and embrace that I truly have nothing lacking – a sense of deep fulfilment and contentment comes over me. And, it’s generally when in this state of peaceful contentment that I am at my happiest and most likely to achieve the most.
So, if you are like me and sometimes find yourself looking at what you don’t have… And those wasted moments could have been spent so much more productively working towards achieving what you would like to have…rather turn your PC off. Why waste time on social media looking at albums of your friend’s new car (from all 3 684 angles) when you could get going with planning and executing your own success strategy?
Airlines don’t let you pay for tickets in moans… So, instead, I will work with what is currently in my hands, (some awesomely exciting projects, actually) and work really hard and smart, and before long, I will have sufficiently saved up for my next overseas trip. And, what’s more, with the right attitude I will have fun in the process.
It’s great to have ambitions and dreams, they are the driving force in moving forward in life, but I am learning that I do not need to feel that unless I have achieved those exact dreams or gone to those exact foreign destinations that I am not living fully or not achieving great things.
I am able to enjoy myself and make a difference where I am – right here, right now. I may not have the Eiffel tower in my backyard and you may not have that much desired Porsche Cayenne in your driveway… But let’s start to appreciate what we do have, and let’s celebrate exactly where we are. We are here, right now, for a reason. I even have a tattoo ‘For Such A Time As This’ on my arm that constantly reminds me.
Instead of just longing for other lands, places and spaces, I will choose to focus on what is beautiful about my own country. And, choose to play a part in making what isn’t beautiful truly beautiful.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are be a good one.” so wherever you are, make it good.
Very thought-provoking article Cayly. Well done. I am in a place in my life where I am wanting something I can’t have and I need to learn to make peace with that and be grateful for what I do have. I am grateful for your inspiring pieces. Thank you.
Finding the joy in the here and now – not always easy – but always so valuable 🙂
Thanks for sharing , really needed to hear this as I also suffer from time to time , Oh poor me , why am I here stuck in little PE.
I love this! A good reminder of a valuable lesson. Thank you.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!