5 years ago, I l was a different person. I was doing yoga every single day, would compliment complete strangers on their haircut, and wouldn’t even blink an eye when seeing my neighbor whose outfit of choice was a tiny golden sock that sort-of-covered his genitals.
I was living in the Castro (the gay village of San Francisco) at the time, and was surrounded by ultra-healthy extraverted, liberal, genderbending hippies. And of course that influenced the way I looked (more about that here), acted and thought.
Living abroad taught me how flexible our identity is, and how much of it is shaped in response to our environment. I have come to embrace it, and enjoy observing what emerges in me in a new place.
Now, in Switzerland, different parts of me show up. I am much more career focused, my signature outfit is a dress instead of yoga pants and a fanny pack, and my yoga routine is replaced with online fitness classes (join me here if you speak Dutch).
It was easy for me to go with the flow and allow myself to show up differently in a new environment, but I know it’s a lot harder for people who want to make a radical shift while staying in the same environment.
What will people think of my big dream to open a bridal shop / date a girl that’s 15 years older than me / eat vegan / become a shaman?
It’s hard to believe that you can make a shift like that if your environment isn’t supportive of the ‘new you’.
Luckily, I have a little hack for that.