A couple of weeks ago I dropped my husband off at work, and had planned to go to the gym on the way home. I had a whole list of things I wanted to get done that morning and had about 30 minutes for the gym.
As I was driving I was coming to a turn in the road that would lead to a local park/ trail. At the last-minute I thought, ‘You know what? Today is a beautiful day! I’ll go for a 30 minute walk instead of the gym’. I took the last minute turn and got excited about venturing out on the little walking trail I’d been on a few times.
I was excited, thinking, this is just what I needed, a little time in nature, what a great idea, me!
I decided to enter the trail from a different direction than the other few times that I had been there.
I was walking along, patting myself on the back for my great idea, kind of enjoying my surroundings, but mostly in my head, working through stuff, planning my day, letting my brain wander.
At one point about 10 minutes in, I did think, ‘hmm, I don’t remember this part of the walk from last time’, but I just ignored it and chalked it up to the changing seasons, not paying attention, etc.
It didn’t take me long after that to realize that I had somehow missed the turn off for the other trail – the 30 minute trail – and I was on the ATV trail.
I had a choice to make, turn around and walk back… or keep going and see where the trail took me. I kept going.
I had my cell phone, a walking stick (that I picked up, because, coyotes), comfy shoes, the trail was pretty well-marked so I just kept going.
Once I made the decision to stay the course, I started to pay more attention to my surroundings, I let myself get out of my head for a while, and I felt another surge of excitement to be on an adventure (I had a vague idea where the trail would take me based on the trail markers, but it was a fairly large area).
After about an hour of walking I started to get a little antsy, thinking about the day’s schedule that I’d have to rearrange, wondering when the trail would end, it started to be a little less fun.
I realized what I was doing, and shook it off, went back to appreciating how beautiful the walk was. It was sunny and warm, but not too warm, there was just a little breeze to keep the bugs away. All in all, a perfect day for a walk.
Another 30 minutes or so passed and I started getting a little antsy again, started worrying about when I’d get out of there, had I taken the right path the few times when there were choices? Had I made a stupid decision? I should have just turned around when I had the chance, who knew how much longer I’d be walking and I had crap I needed to get done… and my shoes were a little less comfortable, and it was getting pretty warm out…
It was at this point that I yelled at myself (Do you guys do that too? Am I alone in this?)
I *may* have even said it out loud (I talk to myself a lot… that’s normal right? hahaha… ha?)
But I said “knock it off! This is exactly what you wanted! You were excited to be in nature, you’re in nature! Stop complaining!”
I finished the rest of the lecture in my head… cause I realized it was weird to be talking to myself while I walked alone in the woods.
Anyway, the rest of my internal lecture went something like this “You made the choice to go for a walk, so it’s not the walk you had planned, it’s taking a bit longer than you planned, so what? It’s a perfect day, you’re doing something that you love, just enjoy it and stop wishing for it to be over and complaining. This is what you came here for.”
That’s when I had an epiphany.
I literally stopped in my tracks.
I stopped walking. I just stood there.
Taking that walk was the perfect analogy for my experience since I left my full-time job.
I’m on a new path, I’m not sure where it’s going, there are lots of times when I question what the heck I was thinking, or if I’ll ever get to where I want to be – I’m so focused on goals and outcomes but my goals seem soooo far away sometimes.
I mean, this walk was essentially a gift from the universe to lead me to that realization that just like the walk was the whole point of the adventure, not the destination, the work I’m putting in now is the whole point of my new career adventure, not the final result. NOW is when I’m learning and growing if it was all just handed to me, it wouldn’t mean as much – I have to enjoy the journey.
The best part is, after I had that realization, I came across the most beautiful part of my walk – it was totally worth it.
I enjoyed those last 30ish minutes SO MUCH because I was present, I was enjoying the walk, the process, the journey. And I’ve taken that lesson into my work life – don’t get me wrong, I’m still setting goals, but I’m just taking time to enjoy the process of achieving them.
Small victories my friends, small victories.
Until next time. xo