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Becoming Real: Dream Jobs, Crazy Loves… And What Happens When the High Dies Down

At the start of this year, I got rid of three-quarters of my clothes. I quit both my jobs (one I loved and one I hated). I sold my car and my bed. I gave up my room in an apartment I loved in Perth, Australia. I had no set plan but I knew, even though I’d lived here for thirteen years, and had people here I’ll be friends with until I die, the life I had was not the life my spirit was calling me to live.

New places and experiences were waiting for me to climb into them like a pair of empty shoes waiting at the end of the bed. Besides the people I loved, there was no gravitational pull keeping me there anymore.

That was it.

People ask now if I was scared, but when you kind of feel like you’re living a video-game life and just going through the motions, you don’t really fear if it all goes to shit. You just kind of take leaps and trust the fact that you’re smart and resourceful enough to handle whatever the outcome is, good or bad.

Since moving to El Salvador six months ago, I have been blasted out of that complacency. I built a new life from the ground up. I started a new job. I fell in love. It’s been an emotional explosion that has kept my dopamine receptors on overdrive, instantly gratifying, constantly high.
Until now.

Here’s the thing. Six months on, it is real. This isn’t my fantasy life now. This is my real life. That dawned on me by degrees… if you settle in one place for long enough, things become real, and the rose tinted glasses slip a little, the high starts to fade. Because it’s no longer your fantasy. It’s your bread-and-butter, your nine-to-five.

My relationship is no longer a constant ‘dayummmm we’re such star-crossed lovers from two different worlds how amazing and crazy is this?’ But now, a sometimes: ‘I THOUGHT I SAID NOT TO USE METAL UTENSILS ON THE TEFLON PAN, YOU PEANUT?! ‘

Three months into this job I still wouldn’t have any other job in the world, (I mean, I can live anywhere in the world and I get paid to WRITE.) But for all the perks it still is for all intents and purposes, my job. Deadlines need to be met, creative differences need to be mediated and when there’s a contract on your creativity you don’t get the luxury of ‘just not feeling inspired this week.’

The thing with these big life leaps, I think, is that your brain gets a little addicted to that cycle. It builds and builds, and then one day you explode, do that ‘fuck it’ leap, leave the job, the relationship, the town, and then you’re in this free fall. Literally ANYTHING can happen…

And the way that feels is literally like dropping into the biggest wave of your life. That gnawing in your gut, the fear, the adrenaline. After making the drop and not dying, you want to do it again and again, you know?

But everyone’s lives plateau at times. Even dream lives.

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Image Credit: Madeline Joy Relph

You settle into your life, into your love, and you start to show each other who you truly are, not just who you want them to think you are.

Sometimes even with your dream job you can wake up unmotivated for work.

It’s in us alone to choose how to react to this sudden plateau of all the crazy, excited, insane emotions, especially the thirsty hearts like us. We can chase after that high across the planet. We can do it for our whole lives. We can leave jobs, lovers and countries, over and over and over, live in a constant state of adrenaline…

“In the East we think that when a relationship cools down, that is the moment for a real relationship to start. But then the relationship will be of prose, not of poetry. It will be of the earth, and not abstract and of the sky. One needs to have courage to go through this process.” – Sacred Dreams

Another option is to stay. To stay, and choose to allow space for those subtler feel good emotions to rise to the surface.

Maybe you don’t need to have sex on every flat surface in the house with your new partner four zillion times a day anymore (one or two is now sufficient). But now you have in-jokes only the two of you understand. You have early morning coffee and surf checks, cloaked in the chi energy of a day not yet interrupted. You have a safe place to exist as your true self, and a bed to collapse into each night next to someone you love.

Maybe it’s your intuition telling you to leave. Or maybe you’re just Becoming Real, and missing all those yummy, instantly gratifying emotions you got at the start.

How can you tell which is which?

I wish I could answer that in a clear, concise way. I do think it’s a little bit gut feeling and a little bit what stage you’re at in life.

Most people choose somewhere in between these two options. Stay sometimes, go sometimes. Last time I sold everything I had and chose to go.

Sometimes you do need to leave a creative project when you have gone so far out of alignment you can never see yourself get back in. But it’s a new kind of magic, I think, to be able to sit down with your bosses and coworkers and on an energetic level, realign. To together bring ideas and inspiration back up to boiling point.

“This time I choose to stay.”

This time I choose to stay. In my job. In this relationship. In this loco little pueblo, at least for now.

I choose to stay and listen a bit harder for the things that hum at a different frequency to the frenetic, high-as-the-sky emotions I chased at the start of the year. Quieter feelings, slower to bloom, but rich and sure in a whole new way.

Patience.

Freedom.

Stillness.

Unhurriedness.

Co-operative, energetically receptive, collaborations.

And most importantly, in work as in my relationships:

Love.

I’ll keep the crazy roller coaster ride of emotions to my surfing for now, I think.

About the Author:

Caitlin is a journalist and writer from Australia. She’s into collecting and sharing the stories of other human people. Mostly women’s stories. You can find her at @caitlincreeper

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