A friend asked me a week ago after I shared some of what I'd been up to in Istanbul over the past two months if I took the time to journal or write down some of the things I'd learned, because it was one of the periods in my life where I experienced a lot of growth. I realized that this is the only place where I actual take the time keep any sort of a record so here goes nothing.
I spent the last three months in Istanbul working on a project with impossible deadlines and immense pressure - and I was the project's team leader. We joked about how the project felt a bit like climbing Everest: impossible, exhausting, dangerous and strangely exhilarating. I didn't sleep much and each morning I started the day with a prayer that I was up to the challenges I'd face that day.
I don't think I've ever worked this hard, been under so much pressure or had so much responsibility. It was scary and empowering. I walked away feeling like I could take on the world and like I could sleep for a week (which I did.) I've always carefully filtered myself and my opinions, waiting to make sure when I said something I wouldn't make too many waves, worried a lot about having everyone like me - not necessarily bad traits, but traits that can be somewhat limiting. I felt like surviving this period I broke free, I feel like I've found the confidence to be myself and if people like that great, if not, I don't feel the need to try and be something else just to make them happier or more comfortable.
I'm not sure that lesson will always stick - but just having that realisation once in my life is pretty powerful. And I hope I can always reflect back to how amazing it felt to just be true to myself and not to try and mold myself into whatever it is I think people want me to be. Starting 2013 on a high is an incredible feeling.
Hey Marseilles - Looking Back
"If you're looking back you'll never move your feet"