5 Things that Help Me Live A Wilder Life
Sitting on the beach a couple of days ago enjoying the sweet finale of late September sun like the last splurges of mayo flecked onto a mountain of delicious chips, I felt incredibly grateful. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be.
During the past few years, I’ve become more focused on figuring out what my priorities are. Allowing myself to do this has changed my life for the better in countless ways. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Events out of my control pushed what was important to the forefront, to leave straggling values, false sensibilities and unauthentic pursuits to fade away.
I’ve never tried to put into words exactly what my priorities are, yet, I do feel that writing things down helps me focus and distil my thoughts in a way I can’t orally articulate.
Leaving out the really essential stuff like food and shelter I wanted to focus more on values. Values or priorities that would make life feel significantly poorer if I had to live without, but could survive without. I set a limit to choose just 5. Any more and it would have been too easy to make the list.
Family and Friends
This is a pretty obvious one. Luckily I’ve been blessed with an amazing family who I’m extremely close to. We’ve been through a lot together and that’s created an extremely strong bond, bolstered by our many similar personality traits.
Family and friends, for me, is an essential network that I tap into for moral support and inspiration. I want to be there for them, putting time aside to foster and forge those relationships. Staying in contact, being the first to make that call when we haven’t spoken in ages, making plans to get everyone together… Those things are important to me.
If there’s ever a reason when my calls stop, if something goes wrong and I lose the energy to put into my friendships, that deficit is always and immediately countered. I am met with a wave of love, support and presence of such force that I marvel at the luck of finding these good people.
Experiencing the thrill of discovering more of this beautiful planet and the people who live in it is a passion. Escaping convention, dropping off the side of routine and participating in the world on my own terms. This is why travel is firmly on my list.
Travelling has shaped who I am as a person as well as the path I’ve taken in life. For me, often a physical journey leads to a mental journey and I’ll always be an advocate for the positive change travel can bring.
A love of travel took root somewhere inside my soul on the spontaneous, freewheeling holidays I took with my parents as a kid and teenager. By the time I left uni, I’d been away with friends as far as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
It was my solo travels, however, that shaped much of my late 20’s. Since those travels, I’ve never been without a burning desire to see the sun set and rise over foreign lands, converse via charades and get lost on shoddily signposted streets.
Since I could press a key, speak or hold a pen I’ve been drawn to music, art, dance, drama and a myriad of other creative pursuits. It’s not about being good at it, or there being any tangible point to it – it’s just the way it makes me feel, peaceful and incredibly connected to something deep inside myself.
Spending time close to nature and near the sea
Spending a lot of time away from the sea makes me feel weirdly claustrophobic. I love rivers and lakes too, although they’re not quite the same. They’re peaceful, calming and graceful, but it’s the roar and open expanse of the ocean that speaks to something deep inside my subconscious.
Working and living in London, I spent time seeking out green spots. I would listen to the wind in the trees and wanted to walk on earth, not pavements. The cool wild water of Hampstead ponds beckoned to me as no chlorinated swimming pool could. Missing the salty fresh air of Cornwall, I escaped back to the south west whenever I could.
Being outdoors in nature has so many benefits. It keeps me active and healthy, helps me relax and charges up my batteries. I hope it’s something that will always be on my list.
Freedom and autonomy
Growing up, my parents didn’t have regular 9-5 jobs. They did all kinds of things and ran several totally random businesses but were almost always self-employed.
I don’t have the patience to toe the line when I think people are wrong, or if I don’t respect them. I resent giving up hours of my life to causes that I don’t believe in. But I recognise that if I try hard enough, I can shape my talents and skills in a way that they can flourish on my own terms.
Leaving a full-time job to go out on your own can be scary. I was very lucky that when I realised I needed to leave my job, my colleagues were supportive and helped me transition to freelance. These decisions that take me out of my comfort zone are always the hardest but have consistently proven to be the most rewarding.
What recognising my priorities helps me to do
For me, living a wilder life isn’t about being “wild” or living IN the wild. It’s about trying to find the things in life that make me feel like my truest self and moving closer to them. Being fully aware and unashamed of who I am, open to learning, acceptance, being aware of my own power and how to harness it is all part of that.
Knowing what my key priorities are, empower me to make good decisions and to justify my actions when I doubt myself. It can be easy to second guess myself based on the judgements of others, but peoples opinions are based on their own priorities and not mine. So, stick to your priorities. They might just lead you closer to where you want to be…