When I first began to think about and plan this journey, it dawned on me that one of the biggest things that was holding me back from feeling happy and at peace, was me. Or rather, it was my drive to achieve. I wanted to be successful, I wanted to travel the world and I wanted people to be jealous of my life. A big part of that was my old goals of trying to do all these spectacular and amazing things. I wanted to travel everywhere and I should spend all my free time doing these amazing Renaissance type things and living an amazing Renaissance life. I don’t know who I was kidding. But here, back in reality, where I have to work for a living and can’t spend hours learning new languages and the fact that I wasn’t making progress was only turning me into a frustrated mess. I wanted to do it all. I wanted to be an amazing wife, hold down my full-time job which I would be simply brilliant at and speak 5 languages, be well read, well travelled, and well – just everything I thought was amazing. Even trying to do all that would mean absolutely no real down time – no rest or recuperation of the mind and soul.
Another part of that lifelong project was the restrictions in placed on me. I could only go to the places on the list of places and only do the things on the list. As I mentioned previously, there was absolutely no room for growth or change. While reading this article (yes, from the ridiculous facebook memes), about letting go of goals to be happier, something finally clicked in me. I need to let go of only going to places on the ‘grand list of places’ and does it really matter if I never learn more than the smattering of Swedish I have right now? Well, does it? Probably not, unless I am going to live in Sweden.
I remembered a trip that we had taken to Inverness in 2010. I had become frustrated when we had not booked anywhere and it was about two weeks before the time my husband had booked off work. I was in school at the time. I finally told my husband – let’s go to Inverness. We can book only the Loch Ness tour up front, I can drive up and we’ll just go see what was there. It was the best holiday we ever took. We would kind of just chat through the next day over supper and we ended up visiting Loch Ness, Culloden, Cawdor Castle and Fort George, just to name a few. It was a great holiday because we just did what we wanted. I realised that maybe I want to be high brow culture, but a bit of relaxing works wonders and not being so ‘driven’ on my holidays actually made me enjoy them more.
So why on earth, after a major upset, would I drive myself hard? I think the answer was because my dad did always think he would have time. But things still began to click, and I realised that maybe what actually needed to happen was that I made time to do the things I wanted. If I didn’t make time, it wasn’t my priority. But, the most important thing is that I make time to do things I enjoyed, not just working constantly to survive. But I had spent so much time in the last few years anxious that everything would fall apart, anxious that I wouldn’t get it all done, anxious that my life wouldn’t be this amazing spectacular extravaganza that the most important thing I could do for myself now, was just get reacquainted with me. Okay, I need to make time for fun, but what do I find fun these days? And this brought me to the idea of this project.