Finding my Life – Part 1

Imagine being really really good at something, but not wanting to do it.

Imagine putting 10 years of your life into something and then just walking away.

Imagine going from freedom to structure.

Yup, that kind of sums up what I’m going through.

In February, when I went to Peru and sat in silence and tranquility at the top of Machu Picchu, I felt like I had found myself. My true self. The self that really wanted to be balanced and happy and whole. I came home from an amazing life changing trip wanting sooooo badly to change, but ending up in most of the same old ways I was in before I left. The difference was, I was now very aware of those same old ways. I came home yearning for a more simple life. I hadn’t been shocked to see the poverty and simpleness of life in Peru, I was shocked to see the complication and selfishness in my own.

I began talking about change. I came home with one of the biggest realizations of my life … that I had WAY more than what I needed and I had it for the wrong reasons. I came home feeling guilty because I have so much. A condo, a new vehicle, lots of clothes and shoes, a refrigerator full of food, some of which I don’t use and end up throwing away. I have heat and access to good medical care.

I have, I have, I have.

And, don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have! However, I’m also frustrated because I have too much.

It was then that I realized how materialistic my life had become and that I have so many things for the wrong reasons. And, overall, in the grand scheme of things I am not a very materialistic person … so some of you out there, well, Wow. I have a brand new vehicle, which I love. I bought it because I could afford it and I needed to cart around my photography equipment more easily. Good reasons at the time. But, when I came home, it made me sick to think of this huge brand new, incredibly expensive vehicle that I didn’t NEED. I wanted it for good reasons, but now all of a sudden I looked at it differently and not only regretted my purchase, but felt almost shameful for the waste of money when I really truly just didn’t care about it.

I had spent many thousands of dollars on something that I didn’t care about.

BIG realization!

Why did I do that? I did it because this is what our society does. I did it because I could, there was a reasonable need for it and now I’ve realized that I really don’t give a damn about a new vehicle.

Life looked a little different coming home. Wait … a lot different.

I looked at the clothes in my closet and realized that even though I have a lot less than many women out there, I still had four times as many clothes as most people Peru. I decided that wearing the same shirt twice before washing it would be a good plan. After all, I just spent three weeks traveling with only a few pairs of pants and shirts. Why couldn’t I do that at home too?

All of these thoughts of guilt and confusion led to me being angry with myself and the biggest realization of all.

I was working my ass off, running my own business, doing all kinds of things that I didn’t like so that I could have lots of money to pay for stuff that I didn’t want. But, I was successful (financially and in the eyes of my customers)!

WOW! Does that make sense or what? *sarcasm*

So, after this huge realization, I decided that things needed to change. I started thinking about how to change my business to only do the things that I loved. If I was going to work hard, I should do so at something I loved, right? As I started to move forward and formulate thoughts on how my business was going to change I realized that I had still missed my own point. I didn’t want to work so hard. I didn’t want to have lots of money just so I could spend it on things I didn’t need. I wanted to find balance. I wanted to live a good, happy life.

Switch gears … rather than thinking about how to change my business to fit my life, I needed to figure out my life! Life is what we are here to live, right?

I didn’t do all of this thinking on my own … business coaches, counsellors, friends, family … everyone heard bits and pieces of all of these different things at one time or another between February and June of this year. I can remember telling friends that I was contemplating if I wanted to continue to run my business. At that time, I really couldn’t see myself doing anything else, but I also knew that something big had to change. I remember talking about needing time for myself (as in not being in a relationship). This was a new concept for me. And, I came up with the idea that I might like to be a travel writer, so I needed to do some research. Maybe there was a way to continue photography and combine it with travel writing … maybe.

I got to a point in April where I just couldn’t take it any more. I was a hamster on a wheel, running in circles. I was taking in more and more work … some I liked, some I didn’t. I was piling on the hours of work all to make money so that I could pay for that car that I didn’t really want … I knew that I wanted to change things, but the wheel didn’t seem to have a stop button. I couldn’t seem to get out of the cycle.

It was then that I realized, in order for me to figure out my life, I had to get out of my life. There was no way for me to stay here, work from home and take time out to change things. My brain could not separate business and pleasure. A weekend away wouldn’t be enough time to sort out my life. A week away would only leave me wondering what work had to be done when I got back. The only way I felt that I could make significant change in my life was to remove myself from my current life in order to get a new perspective. I could see what I was doing wrong but I was too busy trying to keep up to find time to change it. Because, let’s face it, one of the biggest fears out there is change. And, one of the biggest fears surrounding change is that it takes a lot of hard work, time and effort. If change was easy, we’d all jump on board. Change, my friends, is not easy. Even when we are open to it and want it … sometimes we can’t find time to allow it to happen.

So, just where do you start to look for a new perspective on life? How do you find the time to change? How do you jump off that hamster wheel?

Let me share with you some of the things that I did … Finding my life – Part 2 – This is MY journey.

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