Last weekend marked my three year kiwi-versary. Three years since I got off a plane not knowing what would happen next, or how long I’d be here.
It’s been quite the journey so far. I posted my thoughts a year ago, when I’d been here two years. It still felt pretty new, and still quite raw.
This year it’s different. These last twelve months has seen a settling. Settling into life and friendships, but more importantly, settling into myself.
COVID-19 had a part to play, slowing me down and changing my world as I knew it. Forcing me to think about being here and what that means. Choosing to move to New Zealand was an easy choice when I knew I could return to the UK at any time; it didn’t seem so far away. Being effectively trapped here, unable to leave (well, I can leave, I just can’t return if I do, so it’s not an option) was, and continues to be, a difficult thing to live with.
I no longer think about the relationship that brought me here, as it seems like a different life. Now, we’re friends, and I’m grateful for that, as well as what was, for it led me to what I have now.
It’s been an adventure, but I’ve also had some incredibly challenging times. My job, over the last year, has become pretty stressful. Throw COVID into the mix and not being able to go back to the UK and I’ve felt very isolated, frustrated and trapped. I’ve experienced physical stress symptoms for the first time in my life. I’ve spent more time replying “not that great” when people ask me how I am than ever before.
But I’ve also grown in ways I never thought I would. I’ve written more than I ever have, and I understand myself that little more. I’ve sat with discomfort and looked inward when it was hard to do so. I’ve slowed down and started to purposely look at my life and what I want. I’ve lost the urge to do right now, rather I’m just spending some time being. This weird-COVID impacted world where I can’t travel, and my visa-restricted status of not being able to try some stuff leaves me in a slightly-uncomfortable-yet-unpressured limbo position where I can relax for a little while.
I have the most fabulous man in my life, who came along at the point when I’d just made sense of not wanting a relationship for the right reasons. But I was curious and gave it a chance. It’s been, and continues to be, a wonderful exploration of fun and partnership where we’re making up our own rules as we go along.
I still can’t say where life will take me, because I don’t like to plan. Rather, I make lots of little decisions which feel right, which seems to work pretty well. For the first time in my life though, I do have some kind of direction. I’ve figured out my purpose, and I know what I want to work towards in the next few years. There’s a few things to do, and I’m not in an immediate rush. I’m just enjoying the here and now.