I feel like I have little to share with you right now because I’m in the middle of taking a 2-month hiatus from work. But what I can share with you is the reason why I have the time and enough money, which I see as energy that allows me to do the things I want, to take this break for myself. I want to share with you what this quiet simple life does for me.
I have been traveling for the past few years of my life and though I love exploring, there was a part of me that was slowly longing for a base. I wanted a place of my own that I can go back to after traveling. A space where I can do my arts and crafts, where I can surf, and where I can build a small edible garden. I recently moved to a simple place in Bicol. My days are filled with cleaning, fixing, designing, and turning this space into a home.
I am lucky to be in a place where land is fertile and to have a housemate who happens to be an experienced farmer. Every day, we tend to our small edible garden which gives us a variety of produce almost weekly. There is an amazing surf break five minutes away. Fifteen minutes away from our house, you can see a scenic cliff landscape, similar to Lord of the Rings, where you can rock climb. All these experiences only cost energy, time, and enthusiasm (and if the swell permits hehe). Ironically, I've spent the least amount of money here but my days have never been filled with more lessons. You’ll be surprised what gardening and surf can teach you about life.
Reflecting on joy
I wasn’t always this laid back. I worked in a bank, a foreign exchange brokerage, merchandising, news and current affairs, online shopping, a yoga studio, and a school to name a few. Until one day, I decided to pause, clear my mind, sit down and write down the things that:
- I want to be surrounded with all throughout my life
- I’m naturally good at or can learn to be good at
- I don’t mind doing for hours or days
- Make me feel alive
- Bring me joy or get me excited to wake up early in the morning
- Make me physically, mentally and spiritually sound
- I would do anyway (goes beyond just a means to an end)
During that time, the most consistent things that came out were Flow Arts, Children, Arts and Crafts, and Yoga. Since then, I’ve been circling around these things that have kept me busy for years and have made my simple way of living sustainable. It brings me immense joy to be able to share my craft through Natural dye workshops, Poi and Hoop dance workshops, fire dancing gigs, yoga and my clothing line, World of Patterns (which all started out as hobbies).
I find that when you’re doing the things you love the most, you will find yourself genuinely wanting to learn more and progress naturally follows.
It’s nice to wake up early in the morning to do these things especially if you know that all your efforts are going towards something you have the passion for. We’re lucky to be alive in this day and age where you can be anything you want and get paid for our crazy hobbies.
I have friends who have managed to sustain their passions through surfing, photography, hiking, farming, culinary, drawing, yoga, dance, music, and art. I remember a time where I was encouraged by a society to be a banker or a lawyer and these jobs equated to being “successful” when in fact there are many ways to be successful, no matter what that word means for you.
My list changes through time. Nowadays, my priorities are to take peaceful pauses, do inner work and see the byproduct of living a quiet life. I value nature's outdoor activities, my small edible garden that provides just enough. I savor the opportunity to cook my own food. I value the time I get to spend reading the dozens of books I’ve bought but never finished reading or I have not taken in properly.
My days consist of collecting and learning about rocks and plants, taking photos of insects that come my way, cleaning the house, playing the ukulele, surf when the swell visits, making necklaces out of sea glass and shells I pick up from the beach. Whatever we do, at the end of the day, we decide for ourselves whether this is boredom or happiness.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal, it’s a byproduct of a life well lived.”