Returning home to Nashville, TN after being in India for 6.5 weeks was an incredible feeling. I loved the homecoming, walks in Centennial Park, reunion with my dog Fitz Roy and friends and family. I felt accomplished and grateful to be home. However, I was ready for the next big adventure. Instagram showed me pictures of everyone else on their adventures in Iceland, Spain, Patagonia and everywhere else. I was adjusting to “normalcy” and had a difficult time. I was bored. I was itching to travel, to “live” if you will. Because you’re only living if you’re traveling the world and pushing your comfort zone, right?
I came across the Perito Merino Glacier in Argentina and felt immense jealousy. I had to go. So I did. (See the Just Another Patagonian Day post). It was a quick trip and I LOVED every minute of it.
I returned to Nashville in January 2017 and began to plan the rest of my year of adventure: 50 mile ultra marathon, Fort Knox Trail Ragnar, 48 mile Zion Traverse, Chattanooga 70.3 Ironman, Louisville 140.6 Ironman, and Iceland.
Then something happened. I sprained my ankle again a week before my 50 mile ultra, so that race was out. I began to feel less enthusiastic about all my “plans” for the year. Motivation was lacking. The novelty of it all seemed to be wearing off.
Then, I stumbled across the concept of “doing less.” Not being lazy, but choosing quality over quantity. Choosing to do things that were a 9 or a 10. I gave myself permission not to do and see and experience everything, but only the things that are hell yea, I want to do that. I’m finally realizing I can’t experience everything in life. No one can. And that’s okay.
It’s been freeing and challenging at the same time. All my life I’ve had goals. Goals are good and necessary. But not planning everything out and taking things as they come is the season I’m in now. It’s outside of my comfort zone and I’m not sure what to do with myself sometimes. But I’m focusing on appreciating the here and now more, finding joy in simple things, and increasing mindfulness. Defining my values (connectedness, consciousness, contribution, health, autonomy, and growth) has framed my days and narrowed my focus.
So what am I focusing on now?
- Regular meditation. Utilizing the Calm app, I’m learning how to observe my thoughts and feelings without being totally consumed by them. It’s not easy, but I can legitimately say I don’t readily get worked up about certain things as much as I have in the past.
- Growth: Podcasts and Book Club. I stumbled across the podcasts: Optimal Living Daily, Optimal Finance Daily, and Optimal Relationships Daily. The creators read popular blog posts on minimalism, health, finance, and relationships for about 10 minutes every morning. I honestly believe I have become a more consistently positive person by starting my mornings with these podcasts. I’m learning about finance, better ways to interact with people, and general overall well being. I’ve also decided to start a Book Club.
- Connectedness. After reading the book Attached, I came to the realization that I lean towards having an avoidant attachment style. I tend to withdraw in relationships (platonic and romantic), so I decided to make relationships more of a focus for 2017. During this process, I discovered I had feelings for someone that I had been friends with for about a year and half. We’ve been dating since the day after Valentine’s Day and it’s been an incredible journey. I’ve certainly struggled letting my guard down, but he’s been so very kind and patient with me. It’s funny how a small shift in perspective changes everything.
Doing less. Minimizing my fear of missing out. Being present. Focusing on only a few things that truly matter most to me. These are all outside my comfort zone. In a culture that seems to encourage being on the go all the time in order to get ahead, I’m challenging myself to let go, slow down, and enjoy the journey.