Expanding your territory

17 November 2020 | Columns

Elizabeth Joseph

The expansion of my territory is a term I’m very well acquainted with. And the last few months have been a complete test of this.

Having relocated to a smaller and slower town in the south of Namibia called Keetmanshoop has allowed me to have a) absolute freedom and peace; but also b) extreme FOMO.

This tiny place, with fewer people and less nightlife than I’m comfortable with, has taught me so much in such a short amount of time.

There is absolutely nothing acceptably enjoyable to do here except “grow” and apparently find yourself.

These are all things that I believe one can do anywhere anyway, but here in this small town there are so few distractions, especially for me, that I find myself taking more walks and watching the sun rise and set as I rush to finish reading a powerful novel.

I have more time for self-care Saturdays and binging my favourite TV shows. I also have ample time to work on my master plan that will make me known as a professional all over the south and the country. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit ambitious, but why not?

Moving away from everything and everyone I know initially brought me so much peace. I was at a point of my life where I lusted after adventure and exciting change. In short, I wanted to run as far away from the life I had made for myself in the big city because I felt like there was so much more I could do.

What I didn’t expect was that I would be stuck in a furnace, on the outskirts of town (literally the last known road). Don’t judge me for calling my home a furnace before you’ve visited Keetmanshoop when it’s 35 degrees and more on an average day, with no AC or fan in sight.

I wasn’t prepared for the constant want to fight against the peace and quiet because to be quite honest, till now I am not sure what my neighbours do because I don’t see these people. Ever.

I didn’t expect to sit dead centre of my living room floor and cry, wishing I was back with my friends, having a cold one at our favourite spot, talking about our dreams and aspirations.

To be fair, I did agree to move here. I wanted this, but sometimes the things you want more than anything else turn out to be the most difficult challenges. As humans we constantly want to challenge ourselves without wanting to fight through the difficult times.

Yet, despite all these difficult times I’ve experienced in the last two months, some of the most beautiful and pure lessons have created themselves right here.

For a long time, I had forgotten what it felt like to do things for Elizabeth. Have you ever felt like that? Like doing anything for yourself is selfish. Like there’s this constant demand to be only that which people want you to be…

Well, I was there. Now, on weekends, instead of recklessly gallivanting through the town at ungodly hours, chasing the next move, I do self-care. I get lost in a novel and fall asleep at 06:00 on a Saturday morning. I then roll out of bed a little later than I usually would.

I do things that make me happy for a change. And, above all else, and probably my favourite part, I save. I save so much money, which makes me content because every day I am one step closer to reaching my goals.

Life as a new resident

The sense of community in Keetmanshoop still surprises me. The fact that I can go to the shop and have every passer-by greet me, irrespective of their age, ethnicity or social status.

In the beginning it definitely unsettled me because I thought that people wanted something from me, until a friend told me that in a small town such as this, people take community very seriously.

Although gossip spreads like a wildfire here, so does generosity and regard. So many people have invited me into their homes and families that I’m beginning to have a bigger family than I had ever dreamed of.

I have met so many amazing people already and I still have a long, long time here, so the fact that I know I have so much time to expand my territory, both in my professional and personal life, brings me so much joy.

The challenges that are worth taking normally scare you cold, but what is life without thrill and wanderlust anyway?

With that said, find that one thing that sets your soul on fire, close your eyes and never look back or regret anything. Finally, be good to yourself, and others.

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