And so the countdown began, dop, pram buon, pram bai all the way down to mouy followed by the most almighty explosion that not only shook my bed and the walls of the apartment but dislodged my already cracked Winnie the Pooh mug from the draining board sending it shattering into a thousand tiny pieces on my kitchen floor. 2017 started here with more than a proverbial bang!
And the arrival of 2017 indicates the beginning of another countdown – this one purely for me. In 31 days time my tenure as a VSO volunteer will be complete. My new life in flip flops will be taking on a different shape and the fact that I don’t know what shape that is, both scares and excites me in equal measure.
I have a lot of ideas. A lot of mights and maybes and perhaps’ rolling round and round in my head. I sometimes say them out loud to people, testing out what each and every little one feels like when it becomes real before chucking it back in the jumbled up box in my head that is carefully labelled ‘what next’.
I battle with Norman over should versus could, ought to versus want to, grown up versus child mulling over possibilities, counting them and discounting them in quick succession as I fight the need to conform and ‘do the right thing’ in my search to find joy and peace in a life that’s right for me.
That life of joy and peace has to include sunshine and warmth, fresh air and water, the chance to write and coach, laugh and play and explore what it means to be me. But it also has to help me manage some of the demons deep within. My fear of poverty and homelessness need to be addressed before they overwhelm and ultimately paralyse me as they threatened to do 2 years ago. My need for periods of strong connection, the chance to help, advise and guide can’t be ignored but neither can my intense need for periods of total isolation and introspection. The worry of introspection and isolation turning into depression, a long running storyline in my life made more challenging by the hormonal shifts of my peri menopausal years.
One decision I have already made is to say goodbye to my little home in the sky come Jnauary 31st. I have loved living here – my little oasis in the madness that is Phnom Penh but with the end of my time at the Ministry of Fish comes a desire to live somewhere new.
However, I intend to make the most of every minute of my last 31 days (that’s 44,640 minutes in total) here, starting right now with a brew and birdsong for company as I continue to ponder what next.