I think sometimes I take my Scouse self-deprecation a little bit too far.
Yesterday’s post was real; I did almost physically die from laughing at being called an inspiration when my life, by society’s standards, is a car crash, but I guess there was an overdose of sarcasm and something I didn’t make clear…
The whole homeless, jobless, single thing is a choice.
Some people like to be swaddled in the safety blanket of a routine existence, supported by stacks of savings and carefully considered decisions.
I am not one of those people.
Admittedly, I have always had The Bank of Dad bailing me out when I get myself into situations, my Mum has forever held the title of full-time Life Administrator and I’ve had seventeen years’ worth of boyfriends playing the role of carer and generally keeping me alive.
But when I decided to set my spirit free, I consciously chose to teach myself a few valuable lessons in life.
Lesson Number One – Homelessness
First of all I wanted to really appreciate the value of a home.
Maslow said that the safety and security of having a roof over your head is a basic psychological human need that we’re compelled to fulfil in order to pursue intrinsic satisfaction on a higher level.
And while I hate to argue with one of the most well-known psychologists of the twentieth century, if there are one hundred million homeless people on this planet then I think it’s more than a basic need – it’s a privilege that those in possession tend to overlook.
In recent times, although I’ve felt the minor pangs of anxiety from not knowing where I’m going to be living from one day to the next, I’m comforted by the fact that if I do whittle it down to my last pennies, there are so many people on this planet who would come to my rescue. So truly understanding a security deficit is not something I’m able to do.
A fundamental lesson I have learned, however, has been the result of years spent packing my life into boxes, suitcases and backpacks, moving from house to apartment to hostel to hotel to dorm room to luxury villa to monk bed and back again.
And it all comes down to a tall wooden panel.
Behind that tall wooden panel is my own little haven. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Instagrammable sanctuary or a basic shack with a mattress on the floor, it’s my personal, private chunk of the planet where I can lock myself away and find some peace. It’s a safe place to keep my things. It’s a nest. It’s where serotonin flows through my veins and I can relax in the luxury of refuge.
It’s where I’ve learned that we really can not and should not underestimate the importance of a door.
LESSON NUMBER TWO – JOBLESSNESS
When it comes to joblessness, there are plenty of things to think about but the most important thing to me is something I’ve always been in great need of; an appreciation for the value of money.
Managing a budget in the office – yes, managing a budget in real life – no. Before this new-found lifestyle, I’d never checked my bank balance and it was an approach to living that definitely had its pros and cons.
I once accidentally saved four thousand pounds by overpaying my mortgage which was a lovely surprise, but I also once accidentally racked up a two thousand pound bill on a company credit card that I’d genuinely forgot to acknowledge wasn’t for personal use.
That last incident got me into quite a lot of trouble but at the end of the day, all of these escapades would only ever make me roll my eyes, tut and laugh at my untameable inner moron.
It wasn’t until I no longer had a constant stream of income, had closed down my overdraft and vowed never again to rely on TBOD bailouts that I really started to understand the value of money.
I became and am still becoming more and more spend savvy and consumer conscious. I’ve found some creative ways to live, some weird and wonderful ways of making money and am learning to reign in my Squanderlust one matcha latte at a time.
And while I’m mastering this administrative art of money management just to keep myself alive, on a philosophical level I’m witnessing what I always hoped to be true; money can’t buy you love.
Whether it was acts of kindness from strangers, my own altruistic treasure hunt, a laugh-attack with a stranger or a surreal homely dinner with my new Chiang Mai family, my moments of true joy have been nothing to do with money.
So just like Bhutan, I now measure my life and my success not in monetary value but in Gross National Happiness.
LESSON NUMBER THREE – BEING SINGLE
And last but not least is the choice to be single.
For seventeen years, despite being adamant I was a #strongindependentwoman, I enjoyed the company of having a best friend who I kiss.
Adventures and holidays, parties and silliness, cosy nights in, romantic meals out, Netflix and Chills and all the other good stuff that comes with being in a relationship. I loved it, I loved them, I loved love and I wouldn’t have played it out any other way.
But it has been important for me to finally be fully on my own, to really be a #strongindependentwoman, to not have the backup of a full-time carer or the reassurance of somebody else telling me I’m pretty.
Because Jerry McGuire got it wrong, nobody can complete me.
Taking time out from the Meat Market has given me the time out I needed to reflect on moments from the past but more so on the present.
I’ve gained a true feeling of self-confidence that I’d only ever fronted before and I think that now more than ever, I’m gaining an understanding of what a deep emotional, mental and spiritual connection really is.
It’s a choice that everybody has but very few make and my conscious choice to be homeless, jobless and single has made me the happiest I’ve ever been.
Mike Neilio 10 November 2018
Completely relatable and internally relevant to my own spiritual convictions about life.