It’s been one month. One month since my birthday, one month since I was holed up in a Boston hotel room because of a flight cancellation, one month since I left for my first-ever trip to Iceland for work and the solstice sun that never set.
One month ago, I was absolutely determined to start a podcast. I actually recorded the first full episode. My subjects would be optimism, open possibilities, and knowing that anything you could possibly dream is still and always right there at your fingertips to accomplish.
All this impromptu time alone to think, plan and prepare seemed excellent. And then it wasn’t. I’m extremely grateful for all the meditation and journaling I’ve been able to embrace this year, but all that time looking inside yourself WILL give you results, even if they ain’t the results you were seeking.
I’ll be honest. I’m a wildly optimistic person and perhaps a little too open to all the various possibilities in this world and life. I’ll up and go, or try something new, without a moment’s notice. But what I realized I’m NOT doing is acting on all of my dreams and life-long inspirations, even the little every day ones (don’t panic, more to come). I was creating distractions – sometimes pretty fun ones – but I wasn’t quite committing in any one area of my life. Not 100% on my career, my marriage, my health, mindfulness, et cetera. Classic B student. Can you relate?
Did you plan to live other places? I sure did, and I’m finding ways to integrate that dream now. Did having a family go the way you expected? Even if it was planned, did something about kids surprise you? Is your career everything you hoped? Are you still giving it your all? Have you and your spouse really connected lately? Do you feel good about where your money is going? Do you even know where your money is going? This one gets to me as a photographer, but are you actually in any photos with your children these days? Have you checked in with that old friend, or have you had too many excuses not to for a long time now? When was the last time you wrote a letter? Did you ever learn French or finish that handmade project you were so excited about?
Of course we can’t fit everything into one life… there is bound to be some give and take, some things that push or pull you in directions you hadn’t even known to dream of. The key is to stay true to yourself, even as that self is evolving.
I wanted to tell you to dream big, and that anything is possible – and it is! But let’s step back a little. Many of you are probably experiencing mid life right now like me. Are we going to live the next 40 years the way we lived the first? Maybe yes, but let’s not do so on autopilot. I’m not saying to quit your whole dang job and move to the Galapagos, but how can we stay present to the gifts we have today while also helping them grow?
Since June, I’ve been removing a lot of those distractions, donating a bunch of unnecessary possessions, and practicing saying no to plans and even photo gigs. I traded endless podcasts and business books for poetry of all things, for staring into space, for writing or talking to the stranger next to me.
In a weird way it feels good, healthy, alive and even lonely to go so far inside myself. In the end, it’s resulting in this and some of the blog posts that are soon coming your way. It’s time to embrace where we’re at in life, and my new 2020 and decade mantra is about embracing the joy in not having a damn clue what comes next!
Let’s keep dreaming big, my friends. And let’s make sure we’re sharing this life experience rather than going it alone.