2019 was definitely one of my most powerful years to date. I recall having only 3 other like this in my life so far: 1999, 2000 and 2006.
These 4 years all have 3 points in common: they involved extensive travels, they were definitely not the most lucrative and I was the happiest ever.
2019 confirmed my long-held belief money doesn’t equate happiness. Happiness is not something you can buy on any stock exchange….
Let’s briefly move back to the end of 2018. I was really not feeling well at that time. I felt stuck. I felt disconnected. I even felt like I had very little to no options for my life! I am not sure how I came to feel that way.
Although I had made some much needed changes earlier on, such as switching to part-time work and starting my MBA studies, it was not enough.
I needed something more “drastic”
My university happens to have a campus near Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia. I decided to apply to study for a semester there and was accepted.
Early January, I took a 19-hour flight to get there and didn’t look back until mid-April. To write that I thoroughly enjoyed myself is an understatement.
Being away from my usual environment for an extended period was exactly what I needed. I met great people, tasted some of the best food ever, visited 8 countries and learned a lot.
More importantly, I reconnected with myself
I hadn’t felt that way for a very long time.
The disconnection I felt with others was stemming from a disconnection with myself. Since my return, I haven’t had this intense feeling of loneliness that I used to have, and that I couldn’t understand.
That doesn’t mean I don’t feel alone from time to time. I manage my aloneness better than my loneliness.
I finally quit my soul-killing job
This took me some time however. I actually went back upon my return from Malaysia. I needed some income, and I also needed to figure-out what I wanted to do next.
A few weeks back in, I realized coming back was a mistake. At this stage, I wasn’t learning anything new; there was nothing beyond my current position, and it finally became clear that I had overextended my stay.
I quit for good at the end of September.
I became self-employed again
Once I decided to quit my job, I started looking for another, but my heart wasn’t in it. Deep down, I knew that I wanted to become my own boss again. So, I did just that.
I also became clearer on what I wanted
I certainly don’t have everything figured-out, but I am definitely more clear about what I want as well as what I don’t want.
As a result, I am not so stressed-out all the time, and I have also eliminated a lot of energy vampires from my life, whether being activities, things or people.
I have options
And it’s a nice feeling! It’s liberating too.
Traveling to a couple of third-world countries where I saw extreme poverty gave me a better perspective, and reminded me how privileged I am. I needed that too!
I was so engrossed in my first-world problems that I couldn’t see the forest behind the one tree I was obsessing about.
Money is not the answer to all problems, questions or prayers
I am not saying money is not important. It kind of is. But having money will not solve all your problems, nor will it turn you into someone you’re not. It won’t make you a better person either.
So what does 2020 have in store? Well, I don’t know. I am not a fortune-teller. I have decided to take each day as it comes, from now on.