12 Months Later

It’s been 16 months since we decided to leave, 14 months since we sold our house, 13 months since we left Sydney and 12 months since we landed in Canada.

It was a difficult decision to leave everything and one we loved behind. Saying farewell to our friends, our material possessions, our near by network, our cars, our things, everything – saying goodbye wasn’t easy.

I’ll never forget the tears of saying farewell to my closest friends in Sydney knowing that it may be months before I see their smiling faces in person again. Or the day we sold the house and I felt like our dreams were shattered but yet open for new ones.

I’ll never forget those months. They were hard as hell, exciting and sad all at the same time. But that was 12 months ago.

Time flies when you’re having an interesting time…

I’m sure everyone thought we were having the time of our lives, all carefree and footloose, and in some parts, those first few months we were, but they were also some of the most difficult times of our lives.

The first 6 months were hard – incredibly hard. It had been 17yrs since I had taken some duly required significant time off. I had always been “on” and ready to go and here I was – without a true reason to get out of bed. I always had somewhere to be, something to be a part of and something to contribute to – it was confronting not being a part of anything. Whilst I was doing a few projects here and there, it wasn’t a rigorous schedule and it had been a long time since I’d spent that much time with myself.

Every business book dominates with the idea of living your Purpose and don’t get me wrong, I believe in it so whole heartedly I’ve built businesses helping companies come clear with theirs so I know how important it is – but when you personally have no idea what yours is – that is pretty damn confronting.

The first 6 months were about exploring that emotion of lacking purpose– feeling considerably empty and frustrated and sad. Mostly sad for the “shouldas”. The “should be working in Silicon starting a massive tech company”, the “should be networking with the movers and shakers I know who are doing amazing things”, the “should be building, creating, moving faster”, shoulda shoulda shoulda…

But I didn’t, no I couldn’t. I couldn’t muster the energy to get out of bed, let alone build a global empire, however, that didn’t stop my brain from telling me I “should” be.

So when most thought we were having the time of our lives, we were really investigating the inside of our skulls, trying to figure out how we really ticked and more importantly – why?

The second 6 months were eye opening. We travelled around the world. We visited 9 countries, hiked, swam, fished, rowed, biked and skied around British Columbia and all of her beautiful wonders and had experiences I could only ever dream of.

I attended ashrams, meditated, explored spirituality in it’s truest sense, became a Reiki healer, volunteered, wrote, sung, played the piano and painted (I’m a terrible painter). I explored the deeper side of my soul and I liked it. In fact, I loved it.

I realised that these quiet spaces between the experiences of flow I am working to define a true understanding of purpose. Not just the nice sounding tagline that works on a vision statement, but the true sometimes confronting reality of what my purpose truly is. This process is not comfortable, in fact it’ downright tight pant itchy, but it’s worth it.

I’m learning to love the discomfort.

Now…well, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but I realise inaction = stagnancy and that’s just not how I roll, so I’m trying new things, exploring and testing waters I’ve never ever swam before.

There are business opportunities in India, a one on one branding course for start ups, a personal website (feeling very vulnerable about that one!), pro bono work for social enterprises and non profits in Africa and Spain, a booze company in LA, incubators in the states, it’s all out of the comfort zone using the skills I’ve got and for the first time in a long long long long long time, I’m deadly excited.

I still don’t know what it means, I don’t know if it will work out or if I’ll be running an RV park by the end of the month as my full time job because everything has bombed, but hey I’m open to that too.

What this last year has taught me is an openness to be truly authentic to who I am.

An extroverted introvert who is obsessed with fashion even though she can’t pull it off.

A woman desperately in love with trees, rivers and lakes, and a true love of leggings and harem pants.

A woman who’s always laughing just that little bit too loud and loves a heated, healthy debate about politics, environment and toxicity.

A woman who believes that adventure is everywhere and that sometimes fear is your best friend. Someone who wants it all, but realizes that “all” means very different things to very different people.

A woman who loves the city, but adores the country and wants to live under the sea.

A woman who breathes dichotomy and used to hate that but now loves it.

A woman who’s almost 40 but feels 28.

A woman who knows she’s meant to be, but is still struggling to be fully with that and learning to lean into it.

A vulnerable, courageous adventurous potty mouth who wants to try everything.

A woman who wants to contribute to the world in a big way but isn’t quite sure how yet.

There aren’t any “should bes” hanging around anymore, there isn’t any comparing success stories, or even dress sizes (god let’s not even go there!) it’s about being, creating and trusting that the process of action towards betterment in every single way will create the life I love.

It’s been 12 months since I had a house, an apartment, 2 cars, an office full of staff, 30 computers, 2 printers, a server, and a cloud of doubt.

Today, I have a car, a trailer and 2 bags of clothes to my name, and my god, I haven’t been this happy in years.

Here’s to the adventure that comes next.

Andrea Culligan


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I've been an entrepreneur for over 17 yrs working in both Australia and Canada.  I now reside in Sydney working to change the world on business at a time.

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