I love to be in control. I also love to be efficient, organised, informed and good at what I do. The more balls I can juggle, the more exciting and challenging it is. I love finding out how much I can manage…..when it is on my terms. And then I crash, recover and search for the next shiny thing.
As great (or not) as all that was, I guess deep down, I yearned for a real adventure. For an unusual and exciting or daring experience. I didn’t want to just be ‘busy’ and so calculated all the time. However, to me an adventure seemed so out of control, scary, unorganised and often included the risk of failing. Thankfully in my instance, my decision was made for me. I was forced to choose to go on an adventure to be able to fulfil a dream that I set many years ago. To be honest, I don’t know I would have done it if I hadn’t set this goal all those years ago (note – goal setting is good!!). However, I did and all I had to do was rise to the challenge and say “YES”.
2016 was an adventure and it certainly required a different version of myself in areas that I am not as comfortable or natural in. For example – being a beginner and learning a new skill, being flexible and going with the flow, being more present and concentrating on one task at a time and releasing control of my future and desire to ‘arrive’ and bundle each season up all nice and neatly.
My adventure has been confusing, stretching, ugly and exhilarating. I have learnt more about myself than in any other year. So why am I telling you all this??
Well I get asked a lot “Was it worth it? and Would I recommend it?”
Firstly, I am going to be honest and say that I am glad to be on the other side of this year. Adventures like wilderness years or discovery years as they are sometimes called, are massive and exhausting and rightly so. Every area of my life was self-dissected and internally assessed and underwent some sort of change whether outwardly or inwardly. Unconscious change is relentless and can be difficult to see so it doesn’t get acknowledged as much. This sometimes makes the journey seem lonelier or less significant.
So even though I am glad to have made it through 2016, I am pleased to say that it was SO worth it. I am extremely proud that I did it.
Was it what I thought it would be? No.
Did I succeed at everything? NO.
Did I learn stuff about myself that I didn’t know before? Yes.
Did I discover strengths that I didn’t know I had? YES.
This year I discovered that I am courageous – how empowering. I am willing to step out of my comfort zone to follow a dream. I could not have learnt what I did without the challenges I went through this year and if I had remained in a space where I could control everything.
The most valuable lesson I learnt was “I will work it out, it is going to be okay even if it doesn’t work out as I originally thought.” Seems like a funny lesson but it was quite life changing for the control addicted version of me. Very early in the year I discovered that my old mindset wasn’t going to be able to embrace this adventure. A new mindset was required if I was going to make it through the year. So, I learnt how to be less expectant and more appreciative of myself, others and the adventure. What a difference this made. It resulted in heightened awareness, less pressure, less judgement and more joy.
So, as we draw closer to the end of the year and reflect on 2016, ask yourself did you have some cool adventures? Would you like or need more? And as you consider 2017, what kind of adventures could you go on? It could be a travel adventure, a business adventure or a personal adventure. What is stopping you from having more adventures? What needs to change to have more adventures?
Truly living is not about being able to say that I managed to keep everything organised, together and perfect. It is about getting dirty, learning, loving, growing, being hurt, healing, falling over and getting up again and again and being willing to give yourself a go. Who knows what you will discover…..
So stop playing small and safe and start taking more adventures!!
Merry Christmas and enjoy planning your next adventure.