I blame North America for my wayward world wanderings and misdirection in life. The misguided values I was taught of always ‘reaching for your dreams’, being ‘all that you can be’, and the idea that who you are is based on what you do for a living, left me searching for an impossibly perfect existence.
Like a good Canadian girl, I followed those values for many years by diligently attending school studies, going to college, and focusing on my career and bank balance. Until one day I found myself wondering what the purpose of it all was for. I had achieved a nice house with nice surroundings and I was well on my way to securing a safe nest egg for the future. Yet this wasn’t all that I could be? What next? A promotion, a husband, 2.3 kids, and a picket fence? This wasn’t my dream and I wasn’t satisfied with the monotony of expected existence.
Grief stricken at the concept of a continuous climb up the corporate ladder and the haunting constraints of future children, I jumped off the traditional wagon of life progression, left a blossoming media career and relocated to London, England.
Starting from scratch by serving 6am coffees to burly tradesmen in a seedy North London café wasn’t the most pleasurable of experiences, but proved an easy tradeoff for the joy of experiencing a new and different culture. My work experience soon led me to slightly more sophisticated office jobs and a sense of the bustling London shuffle of life. The glamour of being in one of the most exciting and active cities in the world was electrifying for my twenty something search for worldly sophistication, yet I was still reaching for some sort of career success that I was told would inevitably follow persistence and hard work. After a few years of squeezing onto rush hour public transport and watching my smile fade into a blur of bustling bodies - all scouring to make their mark in the world, the weariness soon took its toll.
I started to wonder if the feelings I was experiencing were of regret? Everything I had achieved still left me feeling empty. Career progression seemed so much easier to find back in Canada. If I had stayed in my birth country, I would now be a tower of corporate success. Everything that I loved about Canada started calling me back – the fresh air, the open spaces, and the comfort of my family and friends. Yet, in my mind, returning to Canada was to be a step backwards – a signal of failure. Despite my desire to return to an easier life, I forced myself to continue forth.
It wasn’t until I gave it all up again and embarked on a business venture to Spain that I realized my journey was one of necessity to lead me here. Granted, the adventure I undertook was not one of peace, tranquility and fortune – but it did introduce me to an incredible new way of living and a place to finally call home after a 10 year search.
Why do I love Spain so? Because Spain has taught me to just ‘be’. This country prioritizes itself not on living to work, but working to live. I am constantly surrounded by the simple pleasures of good food, good wine and good people – all in no hurry to make their mark on the world, simply enjoying the existence they have. Once I stopped trying to find my place in the world, it came to me. I now realize that I needed my beginnings in Canada to understand a quality of life. But I also needed to live in London to understand that life does not revolve around one of the world’s epicenters. I have finally discarded my preconceived notions of what my life should be, and am concentrating on what my life is.
I went from the comfort and safety of my home country to the big city and bright lights of London England, to my new found spiritual home of Spain. No one knows what I do for a living here. And no one cares. No one cares how much money I have or don’t have. What they do care about is who I am.
Who am I? Without the shackles of a corporate ladder beckoning at my backside, perhaps now I’ll have the time to find out.
Dawn Buckler’s book “STRIPPED IN SPAIN - One woman's journey through foreign relocation, relationship, and renovation disaster” can be purchased at www.dawnandrocco.com.
- Dawn Buckler
When in Spain