As a kidlet, I was definitely a ‘better safe than sorry’ kind of kid. Change was an unnecessary side product of life, and one that I strived to avoid at all costs. Change was scary, unsettling, disarming and often led to challenges that I just wasn’t willing to face. As a teenager, changes were bad. Body changes, skin changes, changes within friendship circles, changes between the subtle ways we interacted with boys, change in environments – change was fraught with fear and a sense of total inadequacy and inability to handle these curveballs. So, like so many of us, I built a safe little nest and refused to leave. A ship safe and sturdy in harbor, but totally missing the point of why ships were built.
Fast forward to today – a mamasita in her late twenties whose fears have shifted from being born of ‘change’ to instead arising mostly during extended periods of ‘sameness’. Where the mundane and repetitious have become the new breeding ground for itchy feet and yearning; when once they evoked calm and content. So, what do you do if the only place you are comfortable is actually outside of your comfort zone? When the time for consistency and maybe even ‘settling’ is fast approaching, yet in the same way you once flipped your lid if your mum put ham, cheese and tomato in your toastie instead of your usual ham and cheese, the concept of remaining safe and contained is paralyzing. How do you find that happy middle ground and ensure that you stay true to the undeniable pull and tug of your heart, keeping your head in the clouds, but feet on the ground?
1 // Honour those stirrings. You have those pulls and pushes for a reason – ignoring them will likely make them just come banging on your door a little louder next time. The thing about the whole ‘where you’re meant to be’ saga is that, ultimately, you can’t outrun your fate or path, it will catch up with you. The intended path will always be the EXACT one that you find yourself on, but it’s within your capacity to shift gears and change course as you feel pulled to. If you don’t like hippie little pep talks, then switch off your computer and go for a walk, because I’m-a get my positivity junkie on. You, in your absolute entirety, are so fucking unique. The way you think and behave, what you crave, your innate strengths and your weaknesses, the way you look, the way you connect, the way you speak – all of it is a TOTALLY unique amalgamation. You might overlap with others in your values or interests or physicalities, but ain’t no one doing you like you. So don’t live someone else’s life. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice but you’re also taking up someone else’s spot. Move aside and just do you.
2 // Embrace fear and flutters. You know that near adrenalin soaked panic that you sometimes get before throwing yourself in the deep end? It’s that sensation that engulfs you right before you submit that application, get on stage, head to that first date, tell the truth – that whole body response to fear. The sweats, shakes, internal butterflies, racing mind, fluttering heart. Well, I’m probably going to fast become your least favourite person because I’m going to suggest something radical – just sit with it and learn to see it as a positive experience. Here’s why. The process usually goes… we are moments away from something ‘big’. We start to detect these changes in our body and right away attach a label to our experience. We conclude that we feel ‘sick’ or ‘scared’ or ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘terrified’, but is that actually accurate or have we just attributed these physical symptoms to whatever internal experience we’ve been taught to? Recently I practiced this little exercise – total wracked with the physical sensations of nerves, I gave myself a little pep talk and just kind of checked in with what my body was saying. ‘Eff me, my heart’s pounding a little’ or ‘my stomach feels super flippin’ tense’ and made a mental note that these symptoms were a sign that something worth getting excited over was around the corner. We typically experience these feelings right before something significant, and instead of tarring them with the ‘bad’ or ‘uncomfortable’ brush, we just need to treat them a little more like a compass. Their presence tells us a lot about what’s ahead. Use this frenetic energy as momentum and try to covert it to excitement rather than fear. And, if all this wuu wuu talk wasn’t persuasive, adrenalin burns calories, so … you and your rig can thank me later.
3 // For just one day, change everything. It’s so easy to get stuck on autopilot and do the whole Monday to Friday monotonous loop. I’m-a challenge you to put aside just one day to throw your schedule into total disarray. Normally get up at 6:30am? Get up at 5:30am. Normally drive down Bleaker to get to work? Drive down Lockler. Smash out a gym sesh every evening? Find a climbing gym and go with a mate. Sleep on the same side of the bed? Change it. Sex in the bedroom? Move that show over to the kitchen*. Brush your teeth with your right hand? Pop that brush in your left. For just 24 hours, consciously and mindfully choose to do the opposite or an alternative of the erryday samesies. Why? Because you will likely uncover a few things. Firstly – that change isn’t nearly as scary as it wants us to think it is. It’s like the arrogant, chauvinistic macho guy with the really small willy, it puts on a big show to distract us from the truth. Secondly – it evokes a greater sense of presence. Things that you’d usually do without thinking suddenly become entirely new experiences when we are forced to execute them in a different way. Thirdly – it helps us to realise just how much control we have over so many aspects of our lives. We are in the driver’s seat at every single turn and speed bump, and we are easily able to maneuver and modify the ride to make it a little more enjoyable. Don’t ever discount the autonomy and power you have over your own life.
Blessings and so much welcomed discomfort x
*Disclaimer – I hold no responsibility for your freaky naughty culinary nookie. Be safe. Kitchen accessories AWAY.