My partner, David, and I were reflecting on this trip and the opportunity it gives us to reshape our lives in whatever way we want.
For much of my younger years I was bound in the core belief that "I wasn't enough" and was always striving to be "successful" (what does that even mean?!) according to the standards expressed by those around me and in popular media. I pushed in the ways I was told to push myself and pursued career paths (finance) that didn't match what interested me (directly serving others) or my skillsets (teaching, managing, …) because I was told that this sort of lifestyle would bring me joy. But, guess what….it didn't (surprise, surprise). When I first learned about nutrition and exercise, I latched on thinking it would be my ticket to prove myself once and for all, and I threw myself in the fruitless pursuit of eating the cleanest, most healthy diet and becoming the fittest version of myself. If my job couldn't bring me joy, I reasoned that my stellar "health" would. I kept pushing harder and harder in this realm. However, what I learned is that when you push too much in one area of your life, you're draining other aspects of your life. Not only was I suffering in my career, but spending all my time obsessing about food and exercise (with all the planning/routines/rituals this required) compromised my relationships and connections with other people. What I learned from all of this is that, for me, happiness thrives in a space of balance. I believe balance looks very different for all of us. We have to look at all the things in our life we value (the things that make us come alive) and make sure those pieces all have a place in our life, and in the appropriate measure. At times we might find ourselves pushing harder in one aspect of our lives, but eventually the incremental value of our efforts will no longer bring us the same sense of satisfaction as it once did (law of diminishing returns). If we've cultivated balance in our lives, then we are protected from the loss of our sense of self when the thing we value most goes away.
Giving ourselves this year to explore is helping us continue to weed out all the things that weigh us down, and cultivate the kind of life that feels most satisfying. Each day we have the opportunity to experiment….what/when/how much food, exercise, meditation, fun time, work time, together time, solo time, social time, etc. I am so grateful that we will be able to try new things, create/solidify new habits/behaviors/perspective, and create the life of our dreams. However, the truth is that it doesn't taking leaving the country to take inventory of our lives and adjust. We can all do this anytime, anywhere. What are some of the things you'd like to try weeding out or incorporating more of in your life? What is one small experiment you can start today?