Weeks ago, in July, I wrote the following in my notebook:
Let go of the ‘normal’ world
Let go of your own expectations
Let go of what (you think) is expected
Let go of old ideals
Let go of plans and the idea that plans need to be made
Though the blog is about the slow and simple way of life here on the mountain, it really is about our life, whatever it’s like. I live and write even when it’s not slow or simple, or when other factors become more prominent. Right now the sense of not-belonging and the quest to find ‘my tribe’ are more apparent than the still-very-much-present slowness and simplicity.
A friend emailed me recently, asking about our possible future plans or decisions whether we’ll continue living here or go back to Ljubljana. As we were going over the issue of moving and difficulty of knowing what happens next, she claimed that it is always easier (emotionally?) for the one leaving, moving to a new place, than for the ones staying behind. I was surprised. Really, is it so black and white? In my experience: no, it’s not. It’s not a competition, and the challenge does work both ways.
I’ve left twice, big time, in the last three years. The first was the move to Slovenia. I was preparing for the change for over half a year, and for the actual move about four, five months. I had enough savings to throw myself out there, having no substantial plans of income in the immediate future. I was dreaming about the move, I was exhilarated about it. I had a beautiful home waiting just for me, I was in love with the city of Ljubljana, and – to my surprise – with a Bosnian man living in Ljubljana. And yes, I had a lot of friends and family members that were left behind, at least physically, with the over 2000 kilometer distance – but I was leaving with a smile on my face.
The second was this year, suddenly and unexpectedly, to Bosnia. The man in Ljubljana became my husband, and in February this year, my mother-in-law passed away in Bosnia. We weren’t prepared for her passing or our move, we had no savings having just renovated our home in Ljubljana, and we ended with lots of costs we really couldn’t afford or had planned for. We we’re shocked about the urgency of everything, but we understand we have to go. We were not in love with the idea, we just didn’t have a choice. We had a heard of animals and two houses to take care of. We moved, but this time I was leaving a life I loved and wished to sustain.
So I disagreed with my friend about her predigested idea of leaving and staying. As I pictured in my previous entry, we’ve survived and come to love this. We’re happy here. Definitely I feel more free than ever. But it hasn’t been an easy ride, and we’re in transition. It’s been emotional, and I still find it difficult, not having ‘my people’ around me.
Relationships change when you go. Dynamics, daily routines, the physical contact matter. Trying to stay in each others lives merely via Facebook, phones, emails and Skype simply doesn’t work for me in the long haul. I miss being in the same space with my friends.
After over six months of being here, this continues to be challenging. Moving myself, as a person, re-rooting and re-placing our lives is hard. Finding new ground to build upon and weaving a net of friends, like-minded people, supportingly smiling acquaintances – it’s hard. Sometimes it feels like swimming in a swamp. I need more sleep, I drink more coffee than I should. If I had a chance I’d hide myself somewhere with books, in the woods, under a huge spruce and a hefty blanket.
I keep telling myself to let go. To breath and let go. Of whatever it is. Expectations, trying to meet the expectations of others. Old patterns, trying to fit in boxes others have built. Let go of mental baggage as much as possible and see what is left then, after all. It feels liberating, but it hasn’t taken away the occasional will to hide and read. Or – crazy as it sounds – go back to where we left off, or start over somewhere easier.
But life has already happened, things have taken place. We’ve already made a home here, we’re already becoming a part of this community, there are people and animals here that depend on us. And where we left off has changed, too.
We’re getting ready, mentally if nothing else, for the winter. The lodge has been busy this summer, but soon it’s getting quiet. Initially we set a timeline to September. If we survive till then, we might make it for real. Now the ‘real’ begins. We need to start integrating socially as well. We need to meet people, go for drinks, join friends at dinner parties.
The emails with my friend resulted into one realisation, at least: I don’t need or want to know about the future. What a great discovery! It brings me strange clarity and peace to say: ‘I don’t want to know what’s coming next’. Whether we’ll stay here for a year or thirty, I don’t know what the future looks like. Although I’m adding lines in my notebook, making dreamy plans, I’m also reminding myself to let go.
I didn’t understand why I wrote the ‘let go’ list when I did. Only after the emails with my friend, and some other conversations, I realise what it was for.
(Mental note: When letting go, there’s no need to know what’s next, after the turn.)