As those of you who are with me on Instagram might know, Monday marked the 1-year anniversary of my travels. Suitably enough, I had this idea to write about all the things I’ve learned from my experiences so far but it didn’t feel right at the time, I didn’t feel like writing about that stuff cause in my head I’m somewhere else.
In my head I’m drowning in… fear.
Fear of what, one might ask, cause everything is pretty well, right? In fact, everything is pretty damn well.
I’ve had the greatest year so far, really, there are no words to describe how grateful I am for having dared to step outside my zone of comfort last year and left home. Ups and downs and all, it’s been an incredible journey, one of so many insights and so much growth that I don’t even know where to begin. Thinking back at where I was one year ago and comparing that to not only where I am today, but to where I think I’d be had I never left, I can’t but sigh of relief and pat myself on the back. Phew.
So, then what is the problem?
I haven’t been able to sleep in the past couple of nights, nor do I feel like I’ve gotten anything done. Feverishly wanting to do something, I feel like I’m wasting my last weeks here in Sydney, which only makes me more restless and frustrated than I already am. Anxiety is followed by a feeling of numbness when it hits me that this is it, this was it. Nooo – was it really?!
13 days and I’ll be on my way to New Zealand and I’m sure it’s going to be amazing, I’m sure it is, but I’m not ready to leave this place. In fact, I’m freaking out a little bit. To me, time is like a waterfall, cascading down from January at the top to the pool that’s December. Right now we’re in September and I’m falling down at full speed and all is planned for so there’s no room for spontaneity, I’m running out of time so I have no choice but to flow with it, flow flow flow, out of control.
New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, home. Lone time, yoga, mum, friends, BOOM.
And then what?
I have no idea, but what I do know is that I’m not ready to leave this place. Part of it is probably the greener grass syndrome, you know: knowing that I’m leaving I do not want to leave, while if I wasn’t I’d be thinking the opposite. Still, this place and these people have become my home, no matter how temporary everything is, and fragile. Everyone is just passing by; people, places, life, and what’s left is me, myself and I.
I’ve been trying to start planning for New Zealand but I don’t seem to get anywhere with it, so what I do instead is I avoid the whole thing, I do nothing. In my mind I have 18 days on the south island, which means 18 days packed to the rim with all the things one has to see and do. Every single mountain top, hiking trail, beach, lake, cruise… Thinking I was over my perfectionism I now realize I’m not.
So, feeling like I’m not getting anything done, I called my dad. He told me to distance myself from my problems for a little while, because what’s my problem anyways? 18 days in New Zealand? 18 days of vacation, doing whatever I feel like with no obligations, no musts? Now, what a problem is that?
A yoga teacher training in Thailand that makes me think what the heck was I thinking to sign up for that, who am I to do such a thing anyways?
Travels in SEA…?
Wow. It is time to put things into perspective, it really is. And I realize: it’s fear.
As Julia Cameron points out in The Artist’s Way, ”setting impossible goals creates enormous fear, which creates procrastination, which we wrongly call laziness.”
Fear of what, one might ask. Of not being good enough; of failure, of success. Of getting started in the first place, because what if–? It is easier to live life in a seemingly safe place thinking ‘I don’t have X and I’m lacking Y to become Z so I might as well accept that I’m never going to get there’ than to threaten that zone of comfort by feeling the fear yet going for what you want, because where there is a will, there is a way.
”Do not call the inability to start laziness. Call it fear.”
In my case: fear, not of going to New Zealand, but of leaving this place, of packing up and saying goodbye to what has become quite the life. Fear of closing yet another chapter of that book of mine that I still haven’t gotten myself around to start writing, to once again go do something that I’ve never done before, all by myself.
To pull up those roots that have slowly started to grow…
Such a paralyzing feeling it is. Sometimes I wish I had someone to share it with.
“Uncertainty is the root of all progress and growth,” though, as Mark Manson writes in my new Bible, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck. Without uncertainty, there is no growth. The more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel. However, the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in not knowing what you don’t know. (Deep shit, I know!)
My dad’s always told me to go out and do something, anything, when things are piling up and my head starts spinning. Action is key, he’s said. Because I’ve been a performer my whole life, though, I’ve felt like no, I don’t need any more things to do. What I need is the opposite: nothing to do, nothing to think of. And now I’m reading Manson’s thoughts and I get it: dad was right. Action is not only the effect of motivation, but the cause of it, too. When you have no idea of what to do or where to start, just start somewhere. Do something, and the answers will come.
And now I’m sick, which means I can’t (or shouldn’t) go and run off all of my aggressions and frustrations, something that I’ve found myself doing a lot lately, so here I am, processing my thoughts while trying to accept that it’s okay to feel like this, it’s okay to not know what will follow.
It’s okay to be… scared?
So I started off by opening some the teacher training materials that I’ll need to print out that I’ve been saving for later for who knows how long, and how good doesn’t it feel to just do something?
All is well.
Baby steps, you know. Feel the fear and do it anyway.