Roadblocks

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb

I am on a journey of self-discovery. I know — insert eye roll and keep moving. But like many others, the pandemic has left me wondering what I really want to optimize my life for… fortune, family, productivity, something else entirely. I don’t know. I also don’t know who I am – the last year I existed in survival mode, focused on keeping my family afloat and happy, and not doing much for myself. The same at work – I focused so much on everyone else’s well-being that I forgot to also look out for myself a little. This has left me tired, questioning and feeling a little unsatisfied.

And so last week I decided it was time to take back control and find what I want and need to be content in life. I did three things to get started:

  1. I got this page in order to have somewhere to write – it’s something I used to enjoy, so I wanted to see if it still is.
  2. I started practicing German every day, because I just need to do that.
  3. I signed up for “a year of writing to uncover the authentic self.”

With all this thinking, you can imagine that I was in a very suggestible mood and Instagram delivered me the right ad. What can I say… it’s good marketing, and just because I know that, doesn’t make me any less susceptible. So I took the leap, paid for the course and here we are. I decided that during the week I’ll do the thinking and reflecting and then share on Sunday (or Monday as it is today) what I discover along the way (building in accountability seems good – even if no one but me actually reads this).

And so here we go on this path of self-discovery, together if you so wish – I hope so…

Even I can’t make this coffee cup work.

Roadblocks are good friends of mine. When I encounter them, I am quite likely to take a seat next to them and cuddle in for the long haul. I am a settler. I do not push through and find the best solution. I take what I’m given and enjoy the easiest path possible. And honestly, it hasn’t been a terrible approach to life on the one hand. Look where I am today: living abroad with my beautiful family working at a job that has provided lots of opportunity and I generally enjoy.

Like I said, settling has been a fairly successful way to get to today. But I also think about all of the other paths my life might have taken had I not taken a seat. They are not regrets – without the path I took yesterday, I would have never made it to this place today. But it’s fascinating to think of all of the possibilities. In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig explores what happens if every one of those possible lives existed and that you had the chance to live those lives when the one you are in is at its end. This book really spoke to me and made me think even more.

Out of all of that thinking – you’ll notice if you go on this journey with me, I’m a thinker – and in the context of life’s many obstacles, I’ve come to realize that it’s no longer okay or healthy for me to settle. No matter the size of the roadblock, I need to reflect on why I’m stuck, where I want to go and how to get past the roadblock to get there. I’m going to work to be more aware of how I respond when something is hard. And like if I encountered an upside-down coffee cup standing in the way of my morning brew, I will push through to find what’s on the other side.

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