The end is nigh… the new day is dawning.
Thinking more and more about my future and the directions it might take, it has been clear to me that I am ready to move on from where I am now. I feel like I have gone as far as I can to challenge myself and learn from this current experience, this current job, this current life. The long hours can be tough and are taking their toll.
The journey of minimalism and intentionality have been lingering on my mind, searching for inspiration amongst the others in my community, shaping my vision and playing out dozens of scenarios about who I want to be and how I want to live. I wholly believe life is fluid and dynamic, that you can change your surroundings and attitude with the right choices and motivation. I am more motivated than ever before, to look at my life and see the changes that need to be made and to take the steps to do them.
This Year, No Fear
Each year for over a decade now, I have mindfully created not a resolution, but a mantra word or goal by which I am guided to live a better life for the whole year. It’s not a resolution that doesn’t stick, but a simple idea that is summed up in a word and easy to follow and easy to question when I’m challenged. The most recent years have focussed around change and thriving and balance. Some have worked out better than others, but the lessons have made their impact. I have become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, my achievements, my failures and the goals I need to make in order to move forward.
Lately, reflection is what I had been doing in those moments of time I get to myself lately. I have now been in my job for almost three years. The second longest job I ever had. Recently, I have been unable to isolate certain memories or thoughts to a particular year or time – Was it 2017… or 2016 … or even 2015? Summer? Winter? When did that happen? It’s all just happened while I have been here and I am fine to lump everything together as just that. But then I start to look at the broader picture, all the things I have done in three years, pushed to accompany children on this or that, and I feel amazed by my achievements. I can’t help but see a shift in my thinking, in my willingness to try new things. Partly motivated by intentional living, partly by seeing young children doing it, so why can’t I? In the past, I was a scaredy cat, afraid of heights and things that go fast. Even some animals. Sometimes, I did have a genuine surge of butterflies in my gut when I tried things, but mostly I realised, I was resisting things for no apparent reason. I hadn’t tried them, why was I afraid? Why was my first instinct to always say no? Of the adrenalin-fuelled experiences I had tried in the past, it wasn’t without careful consideration and questions about safety risks and a full visualisation to talk myself through.
And then I joined a family of adrenalin junkies. And my old habits had to subside. I learned to just go for it – whether I was working or not. Here are some of the things I have done in the past three years, for the first time ever:
- A giant, three storey high inflatable water slide off a yacht into deep sea
- A Tarzan swing into the sea
- Deep sea swimming… and swimming in currents and high waves
- Feeding stingrays
- Holding and touching small animals
- Hot air ballooning
- Indoor sky diving
- Riding camels
- Rollercoasters, Haunted House and other fast/high/scary amusement park rides
- Sand dunes in a 4WD
- Speed boat thrills – double donuts, bananas, giant sofa/biscuits
- Swimming far out from the beach shoreline, or jumping off a boat far from the shore and swimming in – alone with a small child
- Swimming with sharks
- Trapeze lessons
- Treetop canopy ropes courses
- Water toys that sit on the sea’s surface – trampolines, catapults, jungle gyms, a climbing wall
- Whale watching
When I considered all of these things that previously had me quivering in my boots just at the thought, I couldn’t help but realise that I was slowly shedding my fearful skin and becoming more and more willing to give things a go. To say yes instead of no. Even when I had that terrifying flip off the donut in 2015, I still survived, escaped unhurt. In doing that, I experienced one of my biggest fears – tumbling and tossing about like a ragdoll through the unrelenting wavy sea surface.
The more I realised this mentality, this overcoming of fear and the reflex of ‘no’, the more I became open to that same message across a number of books and podcasts I was tuning into. One remark stuck in my mind and cemented the mantra I had already decided on. As I listened to Brooke and Ben McAlary of the Slow Home Podcast reflecting on their year, Ben commented that his discovery of the year for 2017 was a conscious choice to take more risks and he took away from that journey a feeling of bravery and courage and a readiness to do more of it in 2018. Since Teri Hatcher wrote Burnt Toast a decade ago, I have similarly liked her theory of showing no fear to children, of trying things and thereby teaching children characteristics like courage and risk-taking. I can see I’m not alone in this mindset.
So, from all of these little reflections and messages I absorbed over the past couple of months, a new dawn emerged. My guiding light, my newest mantra.