Last week I wrote about the steps I’ve recently taken to make my dream of travelling the world a reality. With that post in mind, I feel it would be remiss of me not to talk about how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling this week about those plans and what I need to do to execute them.
In case you haven’t read my last few posts, I recently handed my notice in at work to leave my job in March to travel around the world indefinitely. March might seem like a long way off to most people but what I need to do between now and then feels monumental to me.
On Monday night I read a post by Anthony Middleton over at ManVsClock called It’s Okay Not to Be Okay and the fact that it resonated with me so strongly should probably have served as a sign that perhaps I too, was not feeling okay. Yesterday at work, I was horrified to suddenly and for no real reason find myself fighting back tears in the middle of a meeting.
A wake up call
Whenever I find myself getting upset for no obvious reason, I’ve learnt to step back from the situation and ask myself what the deal is. Someone once told me about a method for this called HALT. This involves asking yourself whether or not you are having a reaction to something because you are feeling either: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Locked in the toilets at work I asked myself just that. The answer was that I wasn’t hungry or angry but I was feeling very tired and a little bit lonely. I’m tired because I’ve not been sleeping very well as I have so much on my mind. I sometimes lie awake thinking about what I’ll do with everything I own and worrying about how often I’ll get to speak to my family and friends while I’m away.
Lonely was a little harder to define but I think I’m feeling lonely because in a couple of months I’m leaving behind everyone I know and love to travel solo. The travelling solo doesn’t worry me, because I’ve done it before and I know how easy it is to meet people and make friends but leaving behind the people who matter to me most has definitely been playing on my mind.
The signs were there
What surprised me most about my emotions yesterday is how unexpected they were. In retrospect, I can now see that I had been feeling a little less excitable and positive than normal and over the last week had even cancelled catching up with my closest friend two days in a row, which is a classic sign that something is not quite right.
It now feels pretty obvious to me that I had been feeling a bit wobbly and acknowledging the amount of change I’m going through right now has helped me understand why that is.
Another sign that I missed was people’s use of the word brave. A couple of people have responded to my news by telling me that they think what I’m doing is really brave. I couldn’t really understand what they meant until this week.
I now see that it is brave to follow my dreams even when it feels hard to do so. I guess I couldn’t see that before because none of it had felt particularly difficult until now.
The importance of acceptance
Describing how overwhelmed I was feeling yesterday to a couple of people, provoked suggestions of what I could do to make things easier on myself. One person suggested that If I’m finding it hard to face getting rid of my stuff then I should just put it into storage and be done with it and another friend made generous offers to help with the task of sorting through all of my belongings.
But what I quickly came to realize about this whole situation was the importance of acceptance. Trying to make the next few months easier, wasn’t going to cut it. Sorting through a lifetimes worth of belongings and either selling them or giving them away is going to be hard and I wholeheartedly accept that. Leaving behind family and friends to travel the world solo is also going to be hard and I wholeheartedly accept that too.
But I can do hard and the reason I can is because what I get at the end of this journey is a dream come true. I know that once my belongings have been sold or given away that I’ll barely give them a second thought. I know that even though I’ll be thousands of miles away from the people I love, modern technology means I can have regular video contact with all of them and I know that travelling the world solo will be the most amazing and rewarding experience of my life.
The two sides
I totally believe that there are two sides to every coin. I’ve always believed that we can’t experience true joy unless we’ve known real sadness and I now believe that my dreams won’t come true without some sweat, tears and courage.
So I accept it all, the highs and lows, the easy and difficult and the rewards and sacrifices. I also accept that how I’m feeling is temporary and that I’ll be just fine. I know that in fact I’ll be much more than fine but for now, as Anthony quite rightly said ‘it’s okay not to be okay.’
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