Not training for a fall marathon has given me a wealth of previously non-existent free time.
But I’m totally taking advantage of it. (And not in the good way.) I feel like I’m basically wasting the gift of time.
I’ve gotten antsy. When I’m not working (which is mainly computer work) or exercising, I’ve found myself doing a lot of personal email checking, Instagram-stalking and TV-watching. I get wrapped up in videos from Marie Forleo and Ramit Sethi, which are such awesome learning experiences, but at the end of the day I’m consuming all this content and taking no action.
SO MUCH CONTENT.
Hence why I feel less productive when I have too much time.
I feel no sense of urgency because “I’ll get to it later.” Needless to say, I’ve been feeling stuck in a rut lately. Stuck in my daily routine. With the NYC Marathon on the back burner until next year (I hope I hope I hope next year) I don’t feel like I’ve legitimately been working toward any personal goals.
Why the sudden freak out? I recently had one of those “What am I DOING with my life?!” moments. I remember the exact moment. I went hiking a few weeks ago and as I was standing on the top of the tiny mountain, I felt so invigorated and inspired. In that moment, I wanted to do EVERYTHING. I felt impulsive. I wanted to jump out of a plane (which is notable because I’m terrified of roller coasters. And plummeting to the ground in general.) I wanted to explore the world. I felt so empowered. I went home and immediately wrote a bucket list, which ambitiously included climbing Mt. Everest, until I read “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer and saw the movie Everest and decided I’d definitely not make it down alive. No freaking way. I mean, I get car sick. Let’s not even talk about what altitude sickness (and ice and avalanches and giant holes in the ground that suck you up forever) could do to me.
What’s a girl to do?
It probably has to do with my 30th birthday coming and going. I’m prone to life crises. (<–I just googled “what’s the plural of crisis” and smarty pants Brendan over here was like DUH, CRISES.) I for sureeee had a quarter-life crisis. I’m confident I’ll have a huge mid-life crisis. Milestones that shine a light on the passage of time always provoke anxiety in me. (But also get my butt into gear!) A reminder that our precious lives speed right along and we need to LIVE THEM and that, as John Mayer sang, “in half the time I’ll be twice my age”. (YEAH I love John Mayer WHAT OF IT.)
Two months into my 30th year, I’ve found myself reflecting on the person I’ve become and what I’ve learned over the past 5 years.
I’ve learned to be selfish in a positive way. (Making time to take care of myself, recognizing true friends, doing what makes me happy.)
I know what “confidence” means. I have moments of confidence and humbling moments that bury me in humility, but I’ve found the moments of confidence occur much more often than they used to. At least when I compare my life now to being an insecure 25-year-old who was totally unsure about where she wanted her life to go. At 30, I’ve found it easy to believe in myself…for most things. I think I have a much better idea of who I am and care much less about what other people say or think of me. I’m confident in my decisions. Deep in my heart I do feel like I can accomplish anything if I’m determined. A quote I read recently that resonated with me:
I’ve also learned to recognize excuses. I can remember career-based conversations with my dad in which he’d say “what about XYZ” and I’d say “no, I’d need to go to grad school or it’s too much work or I don’t have the experience, blah blah blah”. And he’d gently encourage me and I’d brush it off. SORRY DAD. I’m apologizing now for not being a better listener and for thinking I knew better. I’m finally learning my lesson: it takes hard work, but it can be done. We must acknowledge that everyone starts somewhere; everyone is a beginner at some point. No one starts off knowing everything.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
A friend was recently telling me a story about a really tough decision she had to make in a short amount of time. Essentially, should she stay and make a choice that was comfortable and easy, or take a risk and do something that was scary but had the potential to be life-changing?
She dramatically and awesomely told herself “they don’t make movies about the people who stay!” and went for it. She had an incredible, life-affirming experience she’ll talk about forever.
My version of “staying” right now is continuing to feel like I’m wasting time. Continuing to feel like I’m not working toward anything that fulfills me. Honestly, I feel pretty great with life in general. I’m just ready for my next challenge.
So, now our wedding is over and I’ve settled into marriage, 30, and my job (as Creative Director for a pair of yoga studios). I’m wondering what’s next. I’m ready to stop tolerating mediocrity. I’m ready to stop wasting my life away while scrolling through Instagram. I feel like I have the energy and motivation inside me to do something great, whether it be for myself or for one person or lots of people. I just don’t know what it is. I’m anxious to find out. But 30-year-old me knows that when the lightbulb flickers on, I’ll be ready.
What lessons have you learned in the past 5 years?