Why 2015 Is the Year of Enough
In Search of Perfect is not perfect.
For a year, I allowed this simple idea to keep me from writing and doing what I love most — sharing my travel stories with the world. I felt that my writing was not professional enough, my photography not good enough, my website not interesting enough. I was paralyzed by my own fear and let it take over my passion.
Worse than that, as soon as I gave fear a little space in a corner of my soul, it took over the whole room. I beat myself up for not writing more and for not making progress towards my dream and my goals. Everything was a battle and nothing was good enough. I was no longer inspired and the well of my soul was dry.
Somehow I lived through 2014 in this futile state. I traveled. I swam in the azure waters of U.S. Virgin Islands, descended down Colorado’s mountainous slopes, got lost on the streets of Lisbon, and drank Sangria in Spain with a spirited flamenco street band. But the well of my soul was still dry.
A thousand surfs on the shores of Lisbon
And then something happened. I woke up changed one hopeful January morning. Like a shoreline shifting its shape after a thousand surfs, I changed quietly and without notice. For the first time in years I felt free and peaceful. The pressure I used to put on myself was gone. I started trusting my life’s timing and believed that the pieces would fall into place. I began writing again and finished a beautiful piece of work. I came back to my website and realized it was beautiful, too. The writing was enough. The photography was enough. Most importantly, my life, with all of its imperfections, was enough.
I still have my dream of living a location-independent lifestyle and traveling the world slowly. I still have my goal of making a living by publishing travel stories. I still want my work to inspire people, and to do so not through Buzzfeed-style lists, but through deep and evoking pieces that provoke conversation and thought. And even though today’s bite-sized internet consumption habits are working against me, I know that somewhere, someone is surely interested in more than a skin deep reading.
I still have my dreams and my goals, but there is a marked difference between my current self and the one from a year ago. This older self is growing into a person she always wanted to be — confident in her work, patient with her progress, content with her life right now. I love her so much, and I know she is simply enough.
Sleepy groves on a train journey through Spain
This is what I am doing to turn 2015 into the year of enough:
A little simplification goes a long way. I cleaned up my Facebook and other social feeds to have less distractions and more useful, inspiring thoughts. I went through my household items and donated the ones I no longer needed. I took a hard look at my thoughts and left guilt, fear, and self-doubt behind in 2014. It is important to recognize that just like dust accumulates in your house a few weeks after a thorough cleaning, so will negative thoughts and feelings if you leave them unchecked. If you let it, this ‘emotional garbage’ will weigh you down and keep you from being extraordinary. So clean and simplify often.
2. Trust the timing of your life
Trusting the timing of your life is perhaps a function of growing older. I used to give myself deadlines and expectations, and disappointment would follow when they were not met. Now I am much more relaxed and think that timing plays an important role in our lives. Note that this perspective does not mean you should wait for things to happen to you. Rather, it means that things sometimes take longer than planned, and sometimes don’t work out at all because of wrong timing. And all of it is okay.
3. Embrace detours
Related to trusting the timing, embracing detours means being patient. I realized that sometimes detours are faster than direct routes, and sometimes they take you in an opposite direction to where you wanted to go. And that is okay, too, because in the end you will arrive at a place that was waiting for you all along. This is the art of embracing the curveballs that life will surely throw at you.
4. Give thanks for plenty
Realize that you already have plenty. I am not referring to material possessions, although this perspective would certainly still be relevant. I am referring to feelings of dissatisfaction we all sometimes have. Recognize that whatever your peak or valley, someone on the other side of that mountain could have a more serious outlook. As I yearn to untether myself from a traditional lifestyle, an unemployed person is in need of a stable pay check. As someone is going through heartbreak, another person is dealing with serious illness. This perspective by no means diminishes our personal struggles (for we all have our own), but it simply acknowledges that someone, somewhere may be dealing with more.
5. Know what matters to you — and make your year matter
I finally realized that no one, and I mean no one, is responsible for my life and my well-being. I could continue living in fear and waiting for things to happen, or I could take responsibility for what happens to me and start building the extraordinary life I know I am capable of living. And while it only took me thirty one year to figure it out, I know now what matters to me, and I choose to making this next year matter.
I hope that you will join me in this journey and choose to make your year matter, too.
Originally published at insearchofperfect.com.
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I’m a travel writer, photographer, and a wanderpreneur. My work appears in Lonely Planet 2016 Literary Anthology, Upward Magazine, Matador Network & others. Learn more about me here