Let me begin by saying that if you were able to find the answer to the above question please don’t be greedy. Don’t keep it all to yourself. Be a dear and share it.

If you read my first blog post “It’s a Big World out There” you know now that I recently had what I kindly call a revelation. Actually it was more like a life crisis combined with a wee little bit of a burnout and whole lot of crazy. You see, I was a few weeks away from my 40th. Yes, I know, I don’t look a minute over 25. Don’t hate. We can’t all be blessed with good genes.

All joking aside though, while I was planning my 40th birthday party which at that time was still two months away I was all cool with the idea of reaching such a milestone. Everyone says life starts at 40 and 40 year-olds keep calling themselves 40 and Fabulous.I couldn’t wait to be fabulous too.  Then it was a month away and my smile slowly turned into a semi-permanent frown. I went into a bit of a depression. An incredible sadness washed over me. I didn’t know what to do. The fact that I was reaching an age when everyone starts calling you mam instead of miss was not the issue. Although that on its own should be a punishable crime. It was as if I was suddenly standing in front of the mirror of truth. I was forced to take a hard look at my life thus far and I realized one thing: I did not recognize the person looking back at me. Who is this woman? Where did the once happy girl full of dreams and plans go to? The one who straddled that bull called life by the horns and enjoyed the ride? Truth was I lost myself on 37 square miles of rock.

I realized I was so busy living up to everyone else’s expectations that I completely ignored opinions of the one person that matters. Me! What do I want? What makes me happy? I can’t answer these questions but I can say for sure that whatever I am currently doing no longer brings me joy. Something needs to change.

I first arrived on this island 14 years ago after having lived in the Netherlands for about 6 years. Back then I left for St. Maarten in search of myself too. I figured it was madness trying to find yourself in a country of 15 million people. Where to begin? It would take forever. Surely a small island would make less of a tedious search. It’s very easy to fall back into old habits I found. When I arrived I worked on myself for a while but I quickly started focusing on making money. When I left the Netherlands I was looking forward to the uncertainty that was going to be my new life. I was looking forward to new adventures and misadventures. I didn’t care if I wasn’t going to be rich and famous. I left a great paying job in Amsterdam to basically start all over again from scratch and with nothing. But that was the excitement of it all. Back then everything I did or own was thanks to no one else but myself. No matter how little I had back then I was content.

So here I am 40 years old and I still don’t know who I am. I had put that search for myself on hold a while ago. It’s time to restart that search. Sometimes all it takes is asking the right questions. So keep your fingers crossed that I will be successful this time around. The first steps have already been made. I put my career on hold to better focus on myself. I started a blog to put my inner thoughts on paper so to say. I started yoga. And I am now looking for a simple job that does not follow me home after working hours.

Family and friends have a hard time understanding what it is that I am doing. Some are more supportive than others and I have received heavy backlash from those I least expected it from and who are the closest to me.This hurt more than I expected it to. But I am determined to do this. Find myself I must (Good God, I sound like Yoda). Most of those around me see this as taking a huge step back. I say sometimes you have to go backwards to be able to keep moving forward. Stop living a life on auto pilot. One that is dictated by society, family and friends. It’s ok to be different. To want something else or something more. To be you. To think for yourself. To not mold yourself to pre-existing norms. According to Socrates to find yourself you have to think for yourself.

Here’s to the journey lying ahead. I hope it is as much an exhilarating ride as I think it will be.

Any tips are welcome in the below comments. Tell me how you did it. Help a sister out.

Much laughter and love,



  1. Pingback: 5 ways to living a happier life at any age – The Traveling Island Girl

  2. Pingback: 7 New Year’s Resolutions I intend to keep in 2016 | The Traveling Island Girl

  3. My dearest TTIG, I don’t think you don’t know who you are, I think you know exactly who you are, and what you want.

    You see, I think, maybe you’re having a tough time admitting that this person, who is nothing like you used to be, or even what you thought and planned out to be, is fine just the way she is. All of the insecurities that used to be exciting, they still are, but for some reason we feel that at that cross roads of FF shouldn’t be part of our existence anymore. That change in career, or even daily tasks that we feel isn’t good, because we need to be stable in what we want and expect.

    Not because anyone says so, but mostly because we set that standard. You see, we are our worst critic, we are strong women, who have always defined ourselves and quite honestly have never really done anything because society expected, or parents did.

    Speaking for myself, like you from an island, having lived, worked in a big city, returned back to my roots and at exactly that crossroad of FF, have had to admit that my life at least what I made of it, wasn’t like I thought it was going to be. So I to started thinking about who I am and what I really wanted, and this is what I concluded.

    I am very happy in my life, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t have less good days. I love what I do and have been lucky enough to have been able to make sure that stays that way. I have great friends, and my girls are the best thing I have produced so far.

    Whenever a situation arises that makes me unhappy, I don’t sit around and complain about it, time and time again, to me that’s counter productive, I change it, I have the power to do that. Anybody who complains about the same thing over and over again without doing anything about it loves to live in misery.

    You see my motto in life is and will always continue to be: the only person who can make me happy is me. I don’t hope, wait, pray for that person or that job to come and miraculously make me happy. I have to work, and work hard to make that happen. The only person responsible for that happiness is me.

    So I too left my life, family and friends and moved to this wonderful rock I call home now and you know what? This is me, not afraid of making changes, not afraid of taking risks, because I do what I need to do, for me and my girls to be happy, I don’t complain, I don’t cry and if people who ever that is family, friends and haters don’t like it to bad to sad, this is not about you, it’s about me. I am the writer of this story, and it will evolve the way I think it should.

    So my TTIG, do what makes you happy, there’s no mystery, you don’t have to find yourself. You have arrived a long time ago, YOU are you, beautiful, creative, loving, funny, curvy and whatever else YOU decide you are.

    You are the writer of the blog called one day in the life of TTIG. So the day you moved to this island is the day you found you. The true essence of you.

  4. Hee, lieve Ris!
    It will be a beautiful journey, with ups and downs, at least it was…still is for me. I guess my tips would be, stop saying yes…let me explain, we are always helping others, sometimes we don’t really want to, but we do…because it feels like we should…but the reality is that we don’t have to always be there for everyone, we first need to be there for ourselves, selfish? No, because if we are happy and content in who we are then we can be the best we can be ….also for those around us.
    The next tip is, accept yourself, your body, your looks, your wrinkles…haha, I think you have two…lol
    I realized after 45 that if you do that, there is so much less stress and the fact is one is way more beautiful if you radiate contentment and happiness.
    Don’t get me wrong I still love me some crazy shoes and a mini skirt, but I don’t need to follow fashion, I make my own, I have MY look, my style, my glow…not what a magazine or media dictates.
    I also got rid of “friends” that were toxic, negative, whining, demanding and draining me of energy, I no longer have time to fix, help or be the eternal shoulder to cry on, pick yourself up and get over it, I had to, so can you.
    I am there for my real friends, always was, always will be, but I no longer waste my time, it’s too valuable.
    Meditation also helps, to think clearer, be happier, sharper and overall balanced, as is yoga and I love Pilates .
    Finding yourself is a journey and may well take the rest of our life, but it is a great one and well worth every moment, so play loud music and dance alone, travel as much as you can, listen to everything, talk to strangers, sing at the top of your lungs, hug your friends and pets and enjoy the ride!!
    big hug❤️
    O…and come visit me😜

    • Petra, I cannot express how much your words of wisdom inspire me. I’ve known you a while and you have quite a story yourself. I was lucky to experience some of the highs and some of the lows with you a few years ago. Thank you for being part of my circle. Much love always, Ris

      • Love ya girlie! Time for our next adventure…. Let’s plan soon😉

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