Another one of those ‘get out of your comfort zone’ kinda posts
I know in writing this, I am repeating the words of thousands before me and hopefully preceding thousands after me, but I have written this solely for myself and also to share my own personal experience.
This year I turned my life around. Well, ‘turned around’ is cliché and lends the idea that I’ve got it all sussed out… But I think that’s the best way to describe my situation. This year was the year I decided that I wasn’t going to sit by and watch my life unfold before me, seemingly helpless in steering its direction.
I had an ever-growing list of dreams and things I wanted to do. I had places I wanted to see. I had things about myself that I wanted to discover and evolve. But I had one huge, anxiety-inducing, demotivating problem… where the f*ck do I start?
For so long I procrastinated. I would flit from book to book, blog to blog. Forever trying to, and failing at, following the advice of strangers to ‘do these 3 things every morning to be successful’ and ‘stop caring what people think of you’ and ‘find and believe in your own truth’. I’d always think “wow, how can I be like this guy?” I would take the advice on board and follow it for about a day, maybe two if I was feeling really determined. But then I’d inevitably fail and move on the next thing.
It was a constant source of anxiety and I became very dis-heartened that I would ever evolve into the person I longed to be.
It wasn’t until I’d used a seemingly endless source of time and energy on these fruitless ventures, that I decided that the major part of the issue lay not in a lack of drive and how to apply myself, but in the not knowing what to apply myself to.
I wanted to volunteer.
I wanted to work with children.
I wanted to live in a log cabin in the woods away from civilisation.
I wanted to live in a beautiful city full of life.
I wanted to study psychology.
I wanted to study ecology.
I wanted to study literature.
I wanted to study ancient tribes.
I wanted to be a free, independent soul tied to nothing and nobody but I also wanted to be grounded to something stable and constant.
The list goes on.
How impossible it is to choose amongst so many options!
It seemed every day I was making the grand statements, filled with determination and certainty: “I’ve finally found my calling in life!!”, “I know I’ve said this before, but this is definitely what I want to do” etc etc. At first the people around me would entertain my idea, offer suggestions and encouragements but eventually they grew accustomed to my constant indecision and would just brush it off and at some point along the way, so did I.
I’d created this false image of who I was in my head and, in turn, lived up to this projection: I was an introvert and the best way I could spend my life would be in a comfortable, well-guarded environment, without too many disruptions to my daily routine. I wasn’t good at making new friends or holding a decent conversation with people outside of my immediate circle. I was awkward and quiet and weird. I could sit back and let everybody else do the living whilst I quietly watched from the background. I’d lost all confidence in myself and my ability to strive for the person I could be and thus, tried to settle with what I had. I was constantly re-assuring myself that I could be happy with this version of myself.
Then one day, I read a post a friend had written on Instagram, thanking 2016 and welcoming 2017. She talked about how much happier she had been this year and how she’d never imagined her life could be filled with this much happiness. She had accepted her old life as the best she was going to get and surrendered to mediocrity. But, thankfully and inspirationally, she decided that this wasn’t enough. She packed up and moved abroad and hasn’t looked back since. Her story had more of an impact on me than the countless articles I had read of this exact nature. But this one was different because I could see how much happier she was. I had witnessed her transformation and understood what it cost her and what it meant. The girl I had known before was nowhere near a fraction of the person she is now; she is literally glowing with life and I can see how much healthier she is.
This stirred and woke something inside me. Why am I accepting a life of mediocrity when there is a huge, beautiful world seething with possibilities, just waiting for me to seize it?
Don’t get me wrong, my friends story did nothing to cure me of my daily pondering of what I wanted to do with my life. But it made me think…. Do I really need to know?
I could continue to sit around in my room for yet another week, another month, surrounding myself with the same people and the same routines and try to work it out; presumably yielding the same results as before. Or I could throw myself outside of the familiarity of my life and let the universe direct me.
And so that is what I did.
I said au revoir to the people in my life that weren’t serving my higher purpose. Relationships that depleted the energy I could have been using towards bettering myself and investing in new possibilities. I was happy enough in these friendships, but I knew there was something more for me out there. This was an incredibly challenging and questioning period for me, but I have already witnessed the sprouting of the seeds I have sown.
I’ve proven myself wrong, time and time again. Within just two weeks of my being in a new environment, I’ve made more friends than I ever imagined possible in my previous state of mind. I have pushed myself into situations I never would have before, and from these I could never have predicted the outcomes. I am most definitely not the person that I had created in my head.
It’s funny writing this and thinking it has only been one month since I made this life-change.
This journey has allowed space for — already countless — opportunities to present themselves; opportunities that there never would have been room for had I remained in my little bubble. Albeit the on-going list of future pursuits is still ever-present, but my horizon has sprung up with real, feasible options and not just seemingly unobtainable emanations of my imagination, whisked quickly away with excuses and ‘maybes’. I’ve also come to accept the latter. Even if they do remain as just that, an un-ticked item on my list, that’s OK. I know that whatever I decide to do, or not do, it is all just part of the journey. A piece in the continuous unfolding of life.
It has equally made room for new, inspiring people to come my way, each bringing their own lesson or gift. Be that a fresh perception of the world, a new idea to challenge my current way of thinking or simply a new piece of knowledge or information I wouldn’t have sought out previously. I have learnt more through these encounters in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years.
All this, simply by standing up and making the conscious decision to live!
I am no closer to knowing exactly what I want to do, but I know I’m on the path that will allow me to carve the way. I’m creating a new identity for myself, or better still, one that is more in line with my core being; stripping away the years of conditioning and negative self-talk that I’d accepted as a part of who I was. And I’m starting to like who I am.
Throwing myself out of my comfort zone is the most liberating and honest things I have ever done for myself and my well-being. There is no room for growth when you are comfortable. There is no room for new opportunities to arise when you are settled and seemingly content with your current position in life.
Once you divest your energy from people and situations that aren’t serving your true purpose and invest it in the unknown future, magic will happen. It is written in the basic laws of the universe.
For the first time in years, I am actually excited for what the future holds. Whatever that may be.
So in answer to my question: “where the f*ck do I start?”. You start by just doing. Plain and simple.
When you’re feeling lost or stuck or angry or unsatisfied or just plain itchy ….. just get up and go! I promise you, the universe will reward you in ways you could not imagine, but only if you’re open to it.