“Knowing what you want makes it easier to get it,” I am saying, to one of my dearest friends on the phone, as I prepare for another flight to another country I have never been.
I’m talking about marathon training, (for a race which I never ran, choosing to go to Egypt instead) but the phrase could apply to a whole slew of things- travel, graduate school, jobs, etc.
Here’s an example: why do we need so much stuff anyway? I noticed this today, when my house is messy, it’s not because it’s UNclean, it’s because there is so much damn stuff everywhere! I enjoy looking fly and feeling beautiful as much as the next woman, but I deplore messiness, disorganization and the general lack of peace I feel when all of my stuff is everywhere.
Problem: messy room. Solution: get rid of my stuff. This is how my true brain works; I look at the stuff and think, it would be easier if I had less. I wouldn’t have to clean as often! Normal-er people than myself may think, “Why don’t I put some of this stuff away, no, I can’t throw that away, I might use it…” And so on.
Don’t give yourself the option to give up, just go do something and then, it will be done. Eliminate all the obstacles in your own way. Less debt? Less stuff. More freedom? Less work. Less work? Smaller scale living, and so on.
my first glimpse of the mountains; Whistler, BC
Sometimes, someone who hates running as much as I used to before I started running, will say to me, ” How do you not quit?” And I will say, ” The key to not stopping is to keep going.” That’s it.
When you have kids, and they’re making a mess at a restaurant, you’re not going to leave your baby, life of your blood, strapped into a borrowed high chair, because he or she is making a mess. No, as much as sometimes you’d like to leave your baby there, all alone in the world, you’re his father, goddammit! So you’re going to clean the baby, strap him or her into the car seat, put on some music, and forget the mess every happened.
This is your life. You do this all the time. Maybe stop doing it for the thing that isn’t serving you, and start doing it for the things you actually want.
the corner of a bar; Charlotte, NC
If I want to go to Africa, I’m already there, I’m already in line, waiting with my boarding pass, and getting on the plane. I’ve done this four times now. The details in between- how will I save money, how will my parents react, where will I work when I come back, where will I leave from- I trust God and the Universe to direct the right people and situations into my life to help me figure it out. Honestly, that’s all it takes, not too much planning, not a big parade to say you’re leaving, just an idea.
If you want to run a marathon, picture yourself at the finish line, taking a photo with your best friend, screaming, “I DID IT!”, at the top of your lungs, smiling proudly for all to see. Don’t start by saying, ” I’ll never do it, I’ll never beat anyone, why start?” Might as well saw off your own foot, then start the race prep. You will be equally as effective, if not more so, running a race with one foot then you would be with a terrible attitude.
And work, do you know that you’re not going to die if you don’t have a traditional, 9-5, 401k, retirement benefits and health insurance job? No, really, it’s true- let that sink in for a minute. Your retirement may be in the real estate purchased from a crazy stock boom you experienced when you thought you’d like to dabble in stocks, or from the story you published after slaving nights in a kitchen as a chef to pay your bills while you wrote the next bestseller, all when you should’ve been sleeping.
getting lost inside El Museo de la Malba; Buenos Aires, Argentina
Your health insurance might pay for itself when you’re happily working and don’t get sick as often, choosing to opt for a lower premium. Maybe you’ll take a job for fun, instead of for the sole purpose of paying off your student loans, when you’re in another country, and make twice as much, paying off said loans faster.
Am I crazy, or is life meant to be lived? I’m not staying home and waiting for my family to pass away, a job to come in, a man to find me and put happily ever after on my ring finger. I’m going out to where ever strikes me first; is it Peru or Prague? Nepal or Berlin? How can I live with myself, knowing all these years went by and I sat in front of a TV screen, watching other people live their lives?
In conclusion, I’m a ‘seriously inspired by doing’ kind of person. And you may not be this way. Have you ever felt skinnier, just by ordering a salad? Or happier, because your favorite song came on the radio? Can you picture: ordering the plane ticket to the destination of your dreams, putting in the two weeks notice to the job you hate, going on a whirlwind, Middle Eastern adventure alone, all because somewhere, some idea came into your head, and said, “Maybe this is a good one.”
full wheel on my Jeep Wrangler
How it works; try, decide. Commit to the idea and you’re already there. Cancel the expectations, the wisdom of experience is worth the doubt you’re experiencing now. Dive in with the crocodiles. Save yourself the heartbreak of future ‘nos’ by giving yourself a big, sloppy ‘YES’ right away; say ‘yes’ to yourself, your dreams, your goals, your plans, right NOW, instead of waiting for someone to give you permission to do so.
Life is hard, period. It’s difficult to not see your family, it’s difficult to be alone, it’s hard to feel lonely, it’s easier to give up. I get that. But you have to keep going because you have to. There’s something to look forward to. By living life to its fullest degree, you’re not only honoring yourself, but being an inspiration to another who is just stepping up to the plate. Trust. Keep trying. You’re going to be fine, I promise.
Heather and I, the Botanical Gardens; Montreal
Don’t sell yourself short.