I recently watched Pocahontas for the first time in ages because my partner had never seen it and it is one of my all-time favourites. Re-watching it stirred up all the feelings it gave me as a child. It really explained why it’s stuck with me all these years. It shaped a fundamental facet of my personality. A free spirit.
Having a wandering spirit
Watching the film as a child I loved the way that Pocahontas’ hair would blow in the wind, how she would leap from the top of waterfalls carefree, the ease with which she would skip through the forest and up the trees.
I dreamed of visiting places with clear waterfalls and thick ancient forests when I grew up. I would run through the fields and woods pretending that I was Pocahontas. I would talk to the animals and I would long to explore the world outside of my little village.
Unsurprisingly, I grew into an adult who would spend all of her money travelling to far off remote places if given the opportunity. I am someone who hates the idea of all-inclusive and package holidays spent in the confines of a hotel and the side of a pool.
Instead, I long for homestays, learning to cook local dishes, learning local languages, sometimes even tribal languages. I crave immersing myself in different cultures and learning about the people and how they live. I know that this may sound pretentious, and I don’t mean to be but stick with it.
As I reach my thirties, my friends are all settling down, getting engaged, married, having kids, progressing through their steady (if somewhat boring careers) and I feel that I should be following suit. More and more I am feeling that it is expected of me to get engaged, get married, start having babies, and above all, land a steady nine-to-five job that pays all my bills.
More and more, I am feeling that that isn’t what I want. Would I marry my other half if he asked? In a heartbeat! Would I have babies if he really wanted to? Of course! But I want a nomadic lifestyle.
Do what you want, no expectations!
As a society, we like to encourage young people to go travelling, find themselves, experience different ways of life, different cultures, and different people. We use other countries as a commodity with which we make ourselves more rounded people, but there always seems to be an expectation that at some point we will come back home, settle down, and start a family like we’re supposed to. Why can’t we begin to change that? Do we have to always have that underlying thought that we should be doing what everyone else is doing?
Must we still insist on measuring success in life with marriages, babies, promotions? Why can’t we start measuring success with happiness, contentment, living the life we’ve always wanted to? I want to be almost forty, fifty years old, travelling regularly, spending my days leaping into natural pools and showering in waterfalls, surrounded by my family.
And whether that family is just me and my other half, whether it involves kids, or whether it involves friends we’ve met that have become family, I don’t care. I just want to be happy. That’s how I will measure whether I have been successful. Forget the expectations of others, they don’t matter. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is that you don’t regret the life you make for yourself.