A juxtaposition in terms, but handstanding on my own two feet is about where I feel right now. You think you are heading in one direction, and comfortably so at that, and then something happens that seems to turn everything in your life and plans upside down. But you go with it, not just because you have to, but because it is a fact of life and an adventure, and if we knew at the start what was going to happen, then where would the fun be in that? Albert Einstein’s theory of the existence of time is “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” So sometimes we have to wait a lot longer than we thought for things to start happening the way we thought they would or the way we predicted, age 5, whilst playing in the garden on a cold Summer’s day, when we started planning the timeline of our life (that wasn’t just me, was it?).
I thought a lot of things about my life and what it would be, I’m sure mostly uninteresting to anyone but me, and I don’t believe one of those child ideas has crept into my life. I don’t see these things as a negative at all, merely a fact of life. I thought I’d be living a calm, status quo like existence that I wouldn’t want to change. I didn’t see an abundance of wealth or materialistic endeavours, just an overall sense of happiness and wellbeing, in a little cocoon of love, family and otherwise. There were things I couldn’t see in my future and didn’t think would happen: I didn’t think my heart was capable of breaking so hard, but I also didn’t think that sort of pain could end up eventually making me stronger and increasing my ambition and resolve in life. I saw myself settled in my early twenties with babies and acting jobs, not struggling essentially alone through my early thirties cycling round London, bending people this way and that through yoga.
I knew I’d never be religious (apologies to my Christian buddies for being quite so blatant about it) but I also didn’t anticipate finding solace and my own form of religion in something like yoga; I just thought it was fun doing the “crab” and trying to stay up longer in handstands (ironically, something I thought I’d never achieve). I didn’t think I’d travel so much…. I knew I loved America from a very young age, but I didn’t think I’d love it this much, and for it to be the catalyst for such a change in me. I thought I’d be able to speak another language (not German the one I actually chose to study as far as possible at school, another interesting choice) and live somewhere in France or Spain, depending on my chosen language, with my toddlers running around the Monet like garden I would have.
These pressures, expectations and ultimately disappointments are all self created. I am lucky enough to have encouraging, loving and supportive parents, so why do I feel guilty for not having achieved the things I set out for myself aged 5, when I had no idea what my life was going to be like. I simply saw other lives and took parts from each one I liked and set those aspirations as life time goals. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hopes and dreams; they are important, but pressure and unhappiness from the delay in these already intangible things being met is not a way I want to live my life. So 2016, for me, is not about setting desperate New Year’s resolutions and then self flagellating when I don’t meet them. It’s about the here and now, and living in the moment, and doing what makes me happy, strong and free. So, essentially, it’s all about handstands.