One Life-changing Decision.
My (R)evolution, part 11.
On June 4, I am still asking myself: “Should I stay or should I go?”, not really trying to make up my mind yet, although my life in Nicaragua, a country that quite suddenly has become a revolutionary chaos, is getting less attractive by the day.
In the afternoon of Tuesday June 5, we have a community meeting about the island’s sustainability project. I go to the meeting, although I’ve totally lost my enthusiasm for the project, as I already described in My (R)evolution, part 8.
The atmosphere during the meeting is subdued, quite depressing. It’s obvious to everyone that we aren’t going to be able to push this project forward under the current circumstances of a country in revolution. Most of the time I am not even listening.
At the end of the meeting, one of the members of the organisation tries to cheer me up in a pretty helpless way: “You’re not giving up yet, are you? You’re not packing up and leaving us yet, are you?”
Every time I have made a life-changing decision, I have literally woken up to the decision one day, and all I needed to do was start taking the actions necessary to fulfil the change: write the resignation letter, call the boyfriend about the break up, start the application to go back to school, or book the one-way ticket to Bombay.
Somehow, my subconscious mind is very capable of doing all the pondering, considering, the going back and forth, reasoning for and against the decision, the doubting and hesitating by itself. My conscious mind has no part in that at all.
Once the decision was made, there would never be a way back, never a moment of doubt about any of them, no regret either.
“You’re not packing up and leaving us yet, are you?”
That question is the pivotal moment. At that moment, something breaks inside me, and while my voice chokes in my throat, I can only say:
“Yes, actually, I am.”
A shocking moment, for everybody, including myself. My mind has been made up for me. The decision is made. There is no way back anymore.
My conscious mind slowly wakes up and finally I fully understand: I don’t want to stay any longer.
I start crying, because it is not a happy feeling of relief, which normally comes with my life-changing decisions. Instead, there is a heavy feeling of sadness, of loss.
Even so, my practical mind shoots into action mode.
The very next day I book my flights. I give myself two weeks on the island to properly round off projects, say my goodbyes, sort through all my things and make sure they all get a good new home.
When you decide to pack up your life for good, two weeks is not a whole lot to prepare for it. My mind starts doing funny things, playing weird tricks on me.
I have moments of determined focus, getting things done, sorted, gotten rid of, finished.
But there are also moments of complete chaos and confusion, not knowing what to do first, unable to prioritise, picking up whatever chore comes to my mind first, putting it down, starting something else, going back to the first.
I start to take care of my garden so that it will be easy to maintain for whomever wants to do that. I finally plant those vegetables that I meant to grow for myself for ages, now sticking them in the ground for my landlord to supply him with some fresh foods in the near future.
I take time to sew a bunch of example cloth bags for one of the shopkeepers who wants to slowly wean his customers off the plastic bags. We’ve become eco-warrior-buddies over the past year or so. He is determined to make a change towards a more sustainable island, and I’ve been cheering him on all the time. I will give him my sewing machine and all my massage sheets so he can sew a ton of cloth bags, now that the current situation on the mainland prevents him from getting them made in the capital.
I start painting again on the giant mandala mural that had been put on hold during high season. Although I had officially allowed myself to make it a never-ending project, the idea was to keep working on it, and I definitely feel like taking it a little further into its developing process before I will abandon it forever.
It seems a waste of time, seeing how little I have left, but the painting, the sewing and the gardening help me calm my mind, whenever the sadness about my departure hits me too hard.
Intermittently I sort through all my personal belongings, deciding what I can bring and what I should burn. I put aside a bunch of personal notebooks and journals with the intention to read through them one more time before I will leave, take some notes and then burn them. There are too many to bring, and few options to ship.
I gather all paperwork, signs, ads and other Karma Shack materials and destroy them. Although the Karma Shack is a brand, me, and I can carry that with me wherever, the physical part of the Karma Shack will be over for now. Burning all that stuff was a sad farewell ritual.
I procrastinate from all these departure chores for a whole day, just hanging out in a café, chatting with those people who haven’t left yet. We talk about how we have to take it one day at a time. We can only deal with a situation once it has come up. We cannot prepare for things we don’t know will happen.
I wonder how many of them feel anxious about the future.
There are several moments in which fear grips me: what if I can’t get out of the country anymore? What if all flights will be cancelled, by the time I’m meant to fly?
For a week, I manage to let go of those fears time and again, come back to the moment and continue the clearing and organising. The pile of things I want to bring gets bigger — my bags not packed yet.
My shelves get emptier.
But my heart is full. Full of gratitude for this little island that has given me so much, full of love for all the people that have become friends and made me feel at home. Full of sadness to have to leave it all behind.
Full of fears I’m ignoring and denying.
I pull another bin out to sort through its contents and decide what to do with it.
Reporting from a country in chaos, trying to make sense of my own mind.
This is part 11 of My (R)evolution. Find all episodes here.