I sometimes feel my life rushing up to me. It builds in my chest and pushes and flexes until I feel totally overwhelmed.
“I’m not achieving anything. I’m getting old and I haven’t got anything to show. When is my career going to actually feel like it has started? I really should hurry up and have my own kids.”
“Why am I such a failure?”
My mind drags me through the bog when it talks like this.
But sometimes you gotta wade through the shit to get to the field of dandelions on the other side.
Then I get all inspired again and I let those thoughts play in the background while I fly at life like Free Willy jumping over that wall. Man, I love that whale.
My parents inspire the crap out of me.
My step-father is the epitome of hard-working. (My mum works alongside him for just as many hours each day. But I need a whole other blog post to describe the incredibleness that is my mum). I sat with him last week in their kitchen while the ocean played at their doorstep. A steaming cup of ginger tea separated us but our minds were connected.
Across the table from us sat John Camburn, former elite soccer player (he would be cringing right now – ahem *football player) turned entrepreneur, energy bouncing off him in contagious waves as he told me about the incredible work he is doing to help sporting and social clubs boost their fundraising efforts and opening up a whole new world for NFPs. Words were flung excitedly across the table like a hackie sack between friends.
To see my 63 year-old step-dad still excited about new projects and achieving things in a brand new career, it settles me. To see his colleague John so full of animation for a career that is far from the, ahem, football field, that settles me.
I have time.
I don’t need to do it all right now. My future is like the ocean. On calm days it can be deceiving, it can look like an impenetrable slab of aqua marble. But if you watch long enough you’ll notice it crack, the aqua swirling around a green tinged wave as it changes, shifts. Flows. I want to swim every day – not just skid across the marble surface – I want to bob under and when I come up for air I want to be surprised at where I’ve come up. I want to be okay with wherever I am as I come up for breath in my moments of stillness and watch my dreams still playing on the distant horizon. My career and life is not frozen in marble. There is time. Fluidity.
And there is no rush.
My beautiful bestie and I often philosophise about this rushing. We talk anxiously about how we are still relying on our parents to get us through, even though both of us have careers that we’ve worked (too) hard in for the last few years. Even though we are both professionals.
And then there is that moment when you don’t have enough money to pay for the ink that you need to print off some patient invoices. That moment when you hear yourself say “I have 70 bucks cash, can we use that and then try my card and see if it is enough for the rest?”
I thought I would be further in life by now. I thought I would be doing better.
And then I saw this TED Talk “Why 30 is Not the New 20” and I felt the rising panic again. But I waded through it and realised that even though I am not where I thought I would be, I am claiming my twenties. I am using this important time to develop the type of thirty-something I would love to be. I am working on personal development every day even if my career and life goals are still doing cartwheels on the horizon.
I am enjoying the journey regardless of how far away the destination seems right now.
I realised that everyone thinks that they should be further in life than they are. I am not alone.
Although people often say “I don’t know how you work so much, I don’t know how you fit it all in” (sometimes with beautiful awe but mostly from a place of condemnation) I also know that none of those people have as much fun and adventure as I have every day. I know that none of them are meditating each day, creatively visualising the person they want to be (note: I meditate not on what I want to achieve but who I want to be when I achieve it). I know that people who say this are not living mindfully every day because I know that mindfulness opens up many hours each day – hours which I choose to spend indulging in playful adventure – mindfully attending to the present moment with undivided and purposeful intent opens up space.
Sunday mornings I swim in the ocean with the footy boys for Recovery. (Well, I swim and they walk in to their knees or hips, still huddled in their jumpers). While hubs – generous man that he is – cooked everyone bacon and eggs on the beach BBQ, his mate said how awesome it is that we do so many family activities together, he said “we just sit at home”. That day we were taking our youngest “kid” for a hit of tennis, it rained on us and we got swooped by angry mumma birds but we laughed and laughed and didn’t even realise we were exercising.
So yes I work a lot. But while you are sitting on your couch I am out playing. And my job, let’s be honest, is a fun adventure too.
I guess what I am trying to say is this: enjoy the journey. Or the destination will be a massive slap in your face. A slap of disappointment.
Or worse. You will burn yourself out before you reach your goal. And then what was it all for?
I guess what I’m saying is: don’t flop down on your couch in front of the TV or plug yourself permanently into social media because your mind says “what is the point”. The point is: every moment counts in little ways, not in the big ways you might think.
And if you are working too hard, next time you think “just half an hour more before bed” and you’ve found yourself already teasing midnight, let the thought float by, giggle at your mind’s tricks and go to bed. Breathe. It will come.
Work hard at being the best you. Even if the best dream is just beyond your fingertips.
PS. If you are interested in this incredible man that I get to call step-dad, he is the director of Ezyvault (online document storage securely located in Australia where your documents are owned completely by you – no one else has access to or can delete your important documents like in all other storage “boxes” that I know about) and Ultimate Online Shopping (where you can save a buttload of money when you shop online by getting “cash back” with each purchase. Winning.)
These companies have created a massive need for a whole new set of skills in my oldies and I am massively proud of and inspired by their motivation and hard work.