I'm writing this post from one of the most gorgeous hotels I've ever been lucky enough to stay in. The luxurious Oitavos hotel situated on the spectacular Portuguese Estoril Coast, which is about 40 mins from Lisbon and near the most westerly point on the European mainland. Our balcony overlooks the forest and the sea stretches out to the horizon. The weather is perfect and earlier we borrowed some mountain bikes from the reception and cycled along the coast to Guincho beach where the Atlantic ocean crashes against the rocks. For lunch we had the most delicious local clams and hams followed by fresh sushi. Not a bad way to celebrate being officially unemployed for the first 6 months of the 2011.
The best thing about this is knowing that I don't need to rush back. Even though I'm on my way back to London soon, if I wanted to stay longer I could. I can do my projects from anywhere as long as I have wifi. This is much easier than most people believe.
What a great six months it has been. I've covered off most of the things I planned to do although I've switched a few things around. Instead of driving across Europe, we decided to explore the Portuguese coast. Instead of going to Thailand we went to Goa. Instead of developing a number of different ideas with The Bulb Club and learning to program, I've focused on flup our first web app (and business) which is already getting a lot of interest and a large amount of users even before its official launch.
I've moved. I've got rid of lots of useless stuff (although I realise I could and should take this much further). I've dramatically reduced my living costs (and could reduce them much further if required).
I've had some incredible experiences such as eating at the finest London restaurants including The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston, The Ledbury and Hakkasan. I've become at least 5 times as fit and much stronger than I used to be.
Most importantly though I've learned many things about myself. Like the fact that I often focus on one thing to the point of obsession. That I can be an annoying perfectionist. That I'm never going to be a morning person. That I can't see the point of being stuck in an office. That I'm the one that stops myself living to my true potential. That I can still be risk averse even though the best things that have ever happened to me all came as a result of taking a huge risk.
And yet these aren't bad things, they are just things that I've become much more aware of. Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes they are not.
There's no advice in this post, just an observation. In my own life I've realised that good things happen more when I'm open to them and when I create opportunities for them. It's easy to get stuck in a rut. It's easy to blame your job or your circumstances or other people. The truth is... there is only one thing standing between where you are and the life you want. And that's you. And that's me. It's still me. I still find myself falling into self-created ruts.
My advice to myself for the second half of 2011 is take more risks, create opportunities, push beyond the comfort zones.
This afternoon I dived into the freezing cold hotel pool which felt like ice as I hit the water. My body froze and went numb as it was overloaded by the intense cold. But as I started to swim my body felt incredibly alive, tingling and rushing with euphoria. That's what being alive should really feel like right? More of that please.