Tag Archives: dreams

Invisible Widget

In a world that moves too fast for dreams to take root, no wonder you’re disappointed.  Where is the safe place in your socially networked mind that you go to get some peace? Who are YOU? A profile, a mask, an image, a task, a job, a role, an invisible widget in something that feels like life?  I ask you WHERE are YOU?  What would you call yourself if you didn’t have a name?

I’m filled with many unanswered questions too!  I walk out into the big wide world and think, what the fuck am I going to do? Success may be fleeting, but what else makes living worthwhile? So we figure out where we’ve failed in the first part of life and then spend the second half making a self-improvement plan and celebrating the little victories.  The hope is that maybe everything we do will make just a little bit of sense. Just enough to keep us waking, working, striving, rinsing, and repeating.

Do you have a dream? Remember when it felt like you had time to dream?  You took that for granted didn’t you. And now you wish for naps in the middle of the day where your mind could just float away and nobody snapped you back to anything that was more important – called REALITY.

Recently, I’ve started dreaming again and now it looks like the first step of one of my dreams is about to come true. Nothing could both excite and terrify me more. I wasn’t sure I could allow myself to dream after years of shutting them down. And here I am again, almost 40 and about to start school again en route to a new career (middle school science teacher!). It feels different that it did when I was in my 20’s in grad school. Sometimes I wonder if I can make it through!

I think acting on your dreams is scary business especially when you stopped even daring to dream for so long. When we take the next step into action, we make it real. We bet the house on ourselves. Sometimes, that bet doesn’t feel like a sure thing. It is an act of faith towards ourselves. Sometimes we need time to prove to ourselves that our faith is well placed.

One step at a time.

–<3 with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 18 of 30

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Day 18 of 30 – Gratitude for something that fills me with hope

These past few years post-divorce have left me pretty hopeless. Where as once upon a time I knew what I would do five years from now, I found myself barely motivated to make it to the next day.

Something really needed to change. One day I got this idea into my head that I could combine my background in science with my newfound passion for education and become an science teacher. So before I left to walk the Camino de Santiago I took the Middle School Science Praxis test for the hell of it. This measures whether or not you’re capable in the subject matter. I thought, if I don’t pass it is a sign. If I do, no more excuses. Get to it!

While walking on the Camino I learned that I did in fact pass. When I realized that there were no longer any excuses left for not taking the next step, that I was capable of even more than I realized and I was about to walk 500 miles across an entire country, hope along with motivation, suddenly returned.

So, I am filled with hope for becoming a science teacher and I am so grateful that I have something to look forward to again.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Why Bother Doing Difficult Things?

One of the questions I got when I returned from walking the Camino de Santiago was – “Why did you think it was a good idea to walk 800 km across a country?” Basically, what’s the point?

French Pyrenees - No guarantees what's ahead.
French Pyrenees – No guarantees what’s ahead.

I had a lot of reasons for walking the Camino, but I realized that for someone who asks this question, none of those reasons would justify a 500-mile walk.

I wanted to be able to reach people with an answer, regardless of where they are at in their understanding, when they ask me “Why?” There is some curiosity there to even bother asking at all.

I took some time to really think about how I could explain the “reward” of taking this journey.

In fact, why bother doing difficult things at all, really?

To be totally honest, the rewards of the Camino are not predictable, but the effort and pain and fatigue are guaranteed. And frankly, those rewards may not be in proportion to what you invest.

Roncevalles, ES
Roncevalles, ES

Some people can look at the pictures of the landscape and the historical buildings and think, “Wow! That looks cool!”. “I want to do that”. They say things like, “How was your vacation?” There is so much beauty, but they also don’t see or feel the wpid-20140625_161727.jpgphyscial, mental, and spiritual pain and exhaustion it takes to get to that rewarding vista.

You don’t get something amazing by doing no work. It is the willingness to do hard work itself that transforms you into a better person.

As I thought about answering the question, “Why bother?” it occured to me that you can substitute “marriage” or “parenting” or “my career” etc. for the word Camino in the above sentence and it reads just as honestly.

“The Camino” is a living breathing metaphor for the path we take in our lives towards anything we consider worthwhile.

The reward ? An absolute certainty that as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will get there. And that I won’t be the only one on the road. And there is great comfort in that.

Keep walking. Don't give up. You will arrive.
Keep walking. Don’t give up. You will arrive.

If you want to be a successful person in life and achieve your dreams and goals, then you have to persevere.

Never give up

Always move forward

Rise up to challenges and overcome them

One step at a time

…until you arrive.

 

— With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

So Why Don’t You Do That Right Now??

Do you ever have a fantasy about what you’d do if you couldn’t take the life you were living anymore?  I do.  My “go-to fantasy” is that I would sell my house and everything in it, walk away debt free and travel endlessly overseas.  Sometimes just having a plan B is enough to keep me going.  That’s all well and good in your head, but what happens when you vocalize it and someone takes it a step further and says, “So why don’t you do that right now?”

Hmmmm….silence while mind is blown! 

So I’ve been pondering on this question since it was tossed at me last week.

Here’s what I came up with….

I am staying where I am instead of leaving because I need something from here.  Otherwise, nothing really would stop me.  

Digging deeper, I thought about my life and how I feel like I’ve been running away for a long time in one way or another.  I noticed that there are patterns that keep repeating in my life.  As the expression goes, “No matter where I go, there I am.” 

I think it is time to stick around and deal with what’s going on inside.  If I don’t, I’ll just leave this life only to recreate it over again somewhere else.  Do you ever notice how when you move or change jobs hoping it will be better, you basically keep running in to the same types of people?  I think this is because you haven’t changed your beliefs about how life is supposed to be.  So you’re destined to attract the same things into it.

What’s your take?

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

10 Great Places to Invest (in yourself)

Overwhelmed 

I feel overwhelmed by the life I am living.  I keep taking on a little more thinking that my shoulders can hack it, but lately I’ve started to notice how tired I’ve become.  I’ve noticed that I’ve given up things that make me happy just to make more money to pay for the things I’ve added to my shoulders. Say what???

For over a year I worked at a low paying job just to have some income to make ends meet.  Then, I got a new job and found myself keeping the other one as a second income.  Little by little, I let other things go just to stay focused on making money. 

Where Am I??

Last Tuesday night, I was driving home at the end of a 13 hr workday and I thought about why I was doing this and how exhausted I felt.  I used to work out 6 days/week and I hadn’t done a thing there in almost 3 months and I ordered take out more.  So, I was gaining weight.  I was letting things go in the house.  I found myself becoming increasingly irritable around people.  I was passing out on the couch and couldn’t even make it to my bed.  I’d signed up for a course to become a personal trainer and every time I opened the manual to study, I fell asleep.  I didn’t even feel like I had time to do what I needed to do to create opportunities for advancement in my primary job.  This was getting ridiculous!! 

Letting Go

By Wednesday, I resolved to take action.  I couldn’t keep living like this.  I reasoned that my second job was bringing me income, but absolutely no opportunity for advancement.  My first job, however held more potential if I put the effort into it.  It came down to deciding if I could struggle in the short term financially with the belief that getting my life in order would open me up to greater opportunity.  I remembered that the Law of Attraction states, that “like attracts like” and if I kept going on the path I was on, I’d likely attract health problems and great dissatisfaction with my life.

So, I resolved to quit my second job and gave my 2 weeks notice Friday.  I left the door open so that I could come back if need be in the future, but I am going to commit to pursuing the things that lead to happiness instead of more money this time around.  I have some money in savings that I will use as a stop gap while I get my life in order again (or maybe for the first time).

Fear, Freakouts…

I guess I’ve operated from a point of scarcity for so long that my fear of loss or fear of not having enough has been holding me back from the joy of focusing on doing what makes me happy.  For me, this is an earth-shattering concept and by no means comfortable. I’m used to working hard and focusing on earning money. Now, I’ve made the choice sacrifice money for the benefit of my personal well-being. 

…and Focus

I’m also excited about what I will learn from refocusing my attention onto my well-being instead.  Will the old adage prove true? – “do what you love and the money will follow”.  I’m about to find out. 

Below I’ve created a list that I will call my “10 Great Places to Invest.”  These are the areas that I believe are important to creating sustained happiness in my life.  To hold myself accountable and to track my daily progress, at the end of each day, I’ll give myself a check mark if I do it and an X if I do not.  This way I know where I’m succeeding and where I need work to maximize my happy factor 🙂

10 Great Places to Invest

  1. Kindness to Another (do something nice that makes another person smile)
  2. Kindness to Oneself (do something nice for yourself that makes you smile)
  3. Moderation (Do I really need that piece of cake, extra helping or that pair of shoes, etc.?)
  4. Health (exercise)
  5. Improved Environment (organize/eliminate for greater efficiency, only add what benefits)
  6. Ego Check (defensiveness, harsh words)
  7. Gratitude (what IS great in my life)
  8. Growth (always learning)
  9. Respect Your Money (do I really need that?)
  10. Do more/think less (believe you already know what you want, now go do it)

For example,

  1. Kindness to Another – Give a sincere compliment to a co-worker who you don’t like much
  2. Kindness to Oneself – Tell myself something nice about myself as soon as I wake up
  3. Moderation – Don’t eat the desert for lunch
  4. Health – Exercise 5x/week
  5. Improved Environment – Clear out my closets of unnecessary items
  6. Ego Check – Don’t retaliate insult, just say something like “wow that’s interesting, tell me more”
  7. Gratitude – List 5 things that I’m happy for each day
  8. Growth – Spend 1 hr./day studying personal training manual
  9. Respect Your Money – Don’t buy junk food with my hard earned cash
  10. Do More / Think Less – Sort through 1 box at a time in the basement
And so the journey continues…Thanks for stopping by 🙂 What are you waiting for?  Join me!!  What are your Top Great Places to Invest?
 

Uhh…I Thought You Left??

What Are You Doing Here?

Psst..I have a secret to tell you…I’ve been married once before.  Gasp!! Oh the horror 😉  Catch your breath and stay with me…

It strikes me how after a divorce, your exes can have a way of staying in your life and making you feel like you still have a cord connecting your neck to them.  They’re physically gone, but you’re left with physical and financial reminders of when the two became one.

When my first marriage dissolved, I was “given” the choice to pay him alimony or be sued in court.  I offered a compromise – to pay his student loans because it would cost me less.  I’ve been paying his AND mine off through my second marriage and divorce and I’m still paying them off.  BOY oh BOY do I resent that monthly payment!!

My second husband left me 6 months after we bought a house together.  I had put a lot into it and the market was so bad here that I’d have lost money if I sold it.  My business was phasing out at this time, so I basically had no job, no alimony and would have had no place to live. Sweet deal!  Thank you, honey!!

So, I worked my a** off to find enough income to pay the bills while I searched for a way to get it refinanced into my own name and lower the payments.

I wanted to have some kind of stability in my life.  I felt like I was losing so much, I didn’t want my house to be one more loss.  I pulled it off and when I should have been celebrating, I thought, Damn it! No matter what I do this place doesn’t feel like my own.  His memory, our shared dreams seem to live in the walls!@!

Cutting the Cords

So, I have a student loan that ties me to one ex-husband and a house that ties me to another.  It kind of makes me hesitate to want to get into another serious relationship!

I want to feel like I can really start over free from the cords that bind me to them, to my past life.  Right now I still feel like I’m working to pay off debts held in their names while they have had the luxury to escape any responsibility.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is selling my house since the market has improved.  I could proverbially “kill” two husbands with one sale ;p  Student loan paid off.  House gone.  Some money in the bank to start over.

Sometimes, I imagine traveling overseas again.  Using that certificate to teach English as a Second Language to make an income as I travel along. It sounds so cool to think I could just keep exploring and have some kind of income along the way.

At the same time, I struggle with this feeling that I’m acting like I’m a 20-something gap-year kid vs. the 30-something that I am.  I wrestle with this image of a grown-up and I sometimes think that even having these thoughts is an indication that I am not one even though my age says otherwise.

I don’t know if you can relate to this, but often I feel like I’m playing at being grown-up; like a little kid dressing up in work clothes, gym clothes, dating clothes, oh-crap-the-washing-machine-is-leaking clothes, etc., etc. What fun it is to grow up and settle down into a fun-filled life of demands and responsibilities!!  Why did we want to play dress-up so badly, again??

It’s Déjà vu All Over Again

It is darn tough to start over and I’m doing it for a second time around, now in my late 30s.

A major life event like a divorce brings everything you thought you knew into question.  Where once you were so intertwined and perhaps even defined in part by your spouse, you suddenly feel like you’re on a raft in the middle of an ocean without an oar.  Here you are floating aimlessly, scared sh**-less and realizing you’ve got to take some kind of action pretty quickly to survive.  And your brain just wants to go over the why’s and how’s of it all.  There’s not a part of you that doesn’t undergo an overhaul.

You’re never the same again, but WHO are you now?  What do you want?  What’s important to you?  What’s not that big of a deal anymore?  You finally settle things enough to have some order and BAM!! Old dreams come rushing back, new hopes, crazy amounts of fear coupled with an earth-shattering loss of confidence in yourself and major trust issues with others.

So, is it so crazy after all to want to scrap it all and take off?

As I’ve said in other posts, traveling alone teaches you to trust yourself. It is moment to moment. You decide what to do next.  How to react.  It’s the best kind of therapy I’ve ever known.

You could spend years in a therapist’s office working through trust issues or take an overnight bus through Colombia*, like I did, and get stopped by a road block littered with guys carrying guns and wonder whether they’re army or guerrillas asking you to get out. Trust me.  You’ll know how to feel really fast in that moment.  And you will trust your instincts.

I’m still working on what to do and what risks I’m comfortable with.  How about you?  What did you do after going through a major life event?  What kind of risks were you willing to take?  How did it turn out? Share, share, share 🙂

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*(As an aside, please understand this is not intended to be a summary of the beautiful country of Colombia.  Definitely visit if you have the chance.  It has so many wonderful people, tons of beauty, deep-rooted culture and tantalizing cuisine to offer. Just maybe pay attention to warnings about taking overnight buses and other security measures as you would in any country you’re living in or visiting because there are real risks.)

And so it begins…

When I was a child, my mother asked me ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up?’, as parents often do.  I said,

 Mom, I want to learn all the languages and cultures of the world so I can get to know what’s in people’s hearts.  That way someday I can show them how to come together in peace.

Looking back, my mom must have thought I was a quite a handful!  I was always the do-gooder type that wanted to help people around the world.

As life progressed, I loved having the opportunity to travel even if it was only for business.  Over time, I’d seen 20 countries on 5 continents and I lived for over a year in Ecuador.  I never wanted it to end.  I thought I was unstoppable.

However, during the past few years, I’ve gone through some really rough times and my confidence was shaken.  A tough divorce, fighting like the be-jesus to try to hang on to my house, watching the business I’d built phase out, and finding myself taking on two jobs to cover the bills rolling in. That’s not even to speak of the wall of distrust that built up around me which has made relationships of any kind pretty challenging to say the least.  I felt alone and isolated.  I was treading water.

Occasionally, my inner adventurer would poke me and ask, “When are we leaving?” or say things like, “What are you doing here?” I learned to squash that voice for awhile reminding it of our “survival” and my “new found belief in practicality”.

Somehow, I connected the events in my life to being irresponsible and impractical.  Because I didn’t fit into a “proper” box, I should work harder to shove myself in there and work it with a smile from 9-5, damn it!  “Then bad things like these wouldn’t happen to you”, I said.

I told myself to grow up! because that’s what I thought all grown ups eventually did.  They gave up their dreams and settled (down). My whole life I rebelled against this for the simple fact that I never met a grown up who was happier at work than they were at happy hour.

No matter how hard I tried to shut myself down, eventually my mind made me listen to that voice.  I was terrified.  I began to sob.  I knew I wasn’t happier in this cookie cutter life.  I proved that I was responsible and practical and that I could work 9-5.  I could get through a divorce and keep my house. And now what?

I felt like I was trapped in the Matrix and I wanted to swallow a red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

So, I did and I’m about to find out what’s down there.