I apologize in advance, but this post is going to be a self indulgent, raw and rambling reflection about some significant decisions I have made recently. About totally shaking up my life in 2018, and marching bravely in the direction of my dreams. I am talking about jumping off the freaking metaphorical cliff, into glorious free fall…letting go of the precious “control” I seem to wrestle so desperately with.
This intuition to control every aspect of my personal sphere (and probably those adjacent to it too) has had its place, and created a reasonable measure of “success” for me, however so defined. At 38 years old I have climbed the corporate ladder in the hospitality industry to the position of General Manager with a well know and respected hotel brand, while getting a second education in Interior Design, and then subsequently taking on select interior design projects, and even opening a small lifestyle concept store simultaneously.
It has been a marvelous, balls to the wall 20 years…living, working and traveling all over Canada and the world, but the past 24 months or so have really put me through the meat grinder. Lately I find myself physically, mentally and spiritually stripped to the bone. Perhaps I burned my flame a little too brightly early in life? I have always lived as though my life was an hour glass that the sand was running through a bit too quickly, trying to wring every drop of living into any given day. Living in Toronto and going to college for design, I was working 40+ hours per week at a prominent hotel, while taking 6 – 8 courses per semester in school…sleep is for the weak, right? This punishing self imposed schedule has continued for the past 18 years.
Yes, I have achieved, experienced and seen many incredible things, but somehow the traditional trappings of “success” just aren’t enough. Further to that, my body is sending clear signals that it won’t put up with my shit anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows that 2017 was my “Annus Horribilis”, and a wake up call.
My reservoirs of strength and courage were already reaching drought levels going into the year. I had been commuting back and forth from Halifax to Regina approximately every 8 weeks for almost 2 years to spend as much time as possible with my dear, beloved Mom who was battling cancer. I wouldn’t have given up 1 second of those precious moments with Mom for anything in the world. She lost that courageous battle in her loving family’s arms in March 2017. It is a moment in time that has forever changed me. A moment filled with equal parts of love and sorrow, that has left a precious battle scar on my aching heart.
It is major life events like this that make you take a good hard look around you, and then in the mirror. To assess if you still like what you are surrounding yourself with, and more importantly the reflection looking back at you. Is it still in alignment with what you hold dear, what brings you joy, when you feel like your best authentic self? This temperature check made me realize that I have a lot of work to do.
Somewhere along the line, the focus has become skewed towards security, possessions, and spending far too many hours at work. When not at work, I am worrying about not being at work. My precious “down time” peppered with calls, texts and emails. Something about all of this seems so out of lockstep with how and when I feel my best. Travelling, soaring, free. Time spent with my family and friends, heavy with good food and drink. Quiet Sundays at home doing nothing in the yard. Lately I just can’t seem to turn things off to enjoy these moments.
Here is where the big change comes in. While on my trip to Europe last fall, I decided that it was the first time that I had truly felt carefree in ages. What bliss! It reminded me of the innocence of being a kid, the seemly endless days that stretched out ahead, to fill with whatever my imagination could conjure. I decided that everyone deserves a “redo” of childhood. You know, later in life…when we can actually appreciate and influence the experience. Some how “second childhood” just doesn’t have a ring to it, so we will call it “wildhood” instead. I am staking claim to my wildhood in 2018, and hope to chronicle those adventures in this blog.
To that end, I am leaving my job in February (I feel a little bit lightheaded just writing this), and going on a sabbatical to Europe to figure what the next chapter looks like. I am off to spend 6 weeks in Paris, then to Salzburg and Vienna, then 6 weeks in Spain, then to Dubrovnik to grab a small cruise to Split Croatia in early July. After that, who knows. I am letting go of my white knuckle stranglehold on control, and the cliff that is my career and security. Glorious free fall. Beautiful surrender. And who knows, perhaps I will find my best self again along the way?