I recently turned 29 and have been reflecting on the accomplishments of my life so far and how I have really found self-love and inner peace in the last 12-18 months.
When you finish school at 18 years old, society/education system, tells you that you have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life and find the love of your life and make a family soon. It took me nearly a decade to throw that outlook in the trash and just focus on what brings me joy and go with the flow like my Dad always told me, “take it easy like the Eagles, Mill”.
I joined the Australian Army 2 weeks after my 18th birthday. I spent the next 7 years working in Sydney and Townsville and spent 12 months in the Middle East over 2 deployments. I enjoyed my career and made amazing friends from all over the world and saw incredible and horrible things.
I got married in 2015 after a one and a half year relationship and 3 years later in 2018 after I had left the army and moved back to Tasmania, where my family is originally from, we got divorced for the best. A verbally, psychologically manipulative, abusive relationship filled with alcoholic and gambling addictions on their behalf was a slippery slope to self-hate, commitment and trust issues.
I suffered a full ACL rupture the year that I also went through my divorce. Soccer was always my mental release from the world, so I had to find other ways to zen out. I got into hiking, being in nature and a different form of exercise in one. I returned to playing state league soccer in 2019 and played a full season uninjured, which was quite emotional for me as I came to realise that there was still a lot of memories associated with my ex and the sport as we met at soccer in Townsville and always played at the same clubs for years to come.
I finally went and saw a therapist 1 and half years after our split and talked through my childhood, overseas experiences and marriage traumas. The hardest thing was getting there, once I had my first session it was easy to see what the real problems holding me back from happiness and content were. Painful yes, but necessary to heal.
Being around supportive people like my parents and siblings was key to healing, but I also knew I needed time to reflect just by myself.
I went to Europe for 3 months solo and explored 26 countries and it was about 5 weeks in when I really felt a click in my brains happy mode. I felt truly free and just seeing the beauty in the worlds different cultures, architecture, nature was game changing.
After my travels I returned home and found my anxiety flared up and I fell into a spiral again of self-hate and not thinking I’d ever be able to give love or receive love again.
I threw myself back into hiking and meditating and reading. I detoxed myself from social media’s and got back to basics again. I sold my house and went back to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where I went to high school for a little temporary change.
I spent time with wonderful friends and made some exceptional new ones too. Always with my beautiful dog Luna by my side, who made me smile even when I was at my rock bottom.
I’ve been back in Tasmania for 3 months now, and no longer feel a rush to complete anything, it will happen when it happens, me being anxious won’t bring anything around faster.
I’m playing soccer again this 2021 season and finally having fun and not taking it as seriously. Kicking goals literally and figuratively and laughing more now with my family and friends than I ever have.
Sometimes I look at the sunset, moon, just the trees and feel such full happiness in my chest that I want to cry at the absolute beauty of the world. And bring myself back to the reality that not much matters in the end, I’m healthy physically and mentally, have food and water and amazing people around me, but most importantly I am content on the inside so I can see what truly matters day to day and not let the little things ruin my day/week/month/year.
For the first time in my life I feel like I could give myself wholeheartedly to someone and be comfortable, a person cannot love someone else if they do not first love themselves. When two people are happy with themselves and choose to be together, they just amplify each other’s happiness. Nobody can heal someone else’s pain, they can be a shoulder to rest on, but never the fix. You are responsible for your own happiness. It doesn’t happen after meditating once or reading one book. It has taken a few years of choosing healthy habits that work for me as a lifestyle routine.