Sometimes I feel that I am ambling my way through life, not sure of which direction I really want to go in, and despite not always sure of where I’m off to next, my feet continue to carry me forward. Though, forward sometimes follows a zigzag pattern. In my mind, there is no backwards, and I think, after several years of consistently working hard, that I need to take a step back. This doesn’t mean slacking off in the work that I already do, but allowing myself more time to enjoy and experiencelife outside of work.
There have been clues that I’ve needed to do this for awhile. These little flags consisting of burnouts and breakdowns were becoming all too normal. It became clear that I had been checking off ‘not attending’ or ‘unable to make it’ to a lot of events held by friends and family. And what was my reason?
Work. Work. Work.
And I wouldn’t have seen it that way until it was pointed out to me. You never come to these things, you’re always working. In my head, I was doing the noble thing. I was pursuing my career, my next big adventure, and wondering, why can’t they just be supportive? I’ll be at their next birthday when this project is done. But the projects are never done, and I continue to dip my hands in more and more because I like the intoxication of being busy, of letting work consume me. And now it’s consumed me so much, I look back on the past few years and pose the question; was I working to live or living to work?
Birthdays, like New Years, are points of reflection. And as my next birhday looms on the horizon, I realized, I need to stop missing out on these things. These events are important to me. They connect me with my family, my friends. I think we all have times where we have to reconsider our priorities and obligations.
The decisions I’m mulling over for my next steps do scare me. They are some of the biggest leaps I will ever be taking. But I’m comforted in the fact that I’ve been ‘fearless’ before. I’ve skydived. I’ve booked a spontaenous two-month trip to Italy with an agenda that was scrapped once I got there. But the skydiving was when I was 20 years old. The trip to Italy was in 2014. Now I’m just a few years away from 30, and I wonder why I have tossed my bucket list aside. Rabelais’ last words were “I go to seek a great perhaps.” And I fully acknowledge that I don’t know what lies in store for me, but I hope the ride will be worth it.
I say I love travel but haven’t done much outside of weekend getaways or destination parties. Or even the occasional work trip. But in my inbox sits a bevy of travel emails, beckoning me to traverse the trails and wander the primordial lands of some far off place. And I sigh looking at these while on my breaks, checking my calender and seeing I’m already booked up or can’t take the time off because it will coincidence with something else. My busy schedule has allowed me to realize that my little day and weekend trips are travel. I live in one of the most interesting regions in the world. Take for instance, my last post, in which I legitametly stopped to smell the flowers – the lavender flowers. I had no idea that there was a lavender field just a short drive away. But it’s opened my eyes to the possibility that there is so much more just within reach.
This summer I’ve taken a magnifying glass to my behavior and have been reassesing what I want and scarily enough, it may not be the same thing I wanted just a few short years ago. That thought alone absolutely terrifies me. I’ve worked so hard and now I may want something else. My mind spins gut-wrenching thoughts about starting from scratch again. Whatever my next move is, I’ll be glad to have just moved.