If you are like me, you have a running list of a thousand things that you are going to do "someday." Someday you will organize the photos. Someday you will volunteer with that organization that's tugging at your heartstrings. Someday you will take painting lessons. Someday you will learn to play tennis. Someday you will go to lunch with your old friend. Someday you will sit down and enjoy a book and a cup of coffee. Someday you will travel. Most of the time you only think of these things in the back of your mind.
You will find every excuse in the book not to do those things. When you have more money. When your kids are older. When you have more time. When life slows down just a little. When you can convince your husband. When you graduate. After the baby. After the wedding. When you get more settled in your circumstances. Tomorrow. Next Week. Next Month. Next Year.
Friends, I am here to tell you that life never slows down. Ever. You will be busy until your very last day. There will be different seasons of life for you, and your definition of "busy" will change many times. For example, before I had children, I thought I was busy. I was a young professional, a darn good attorney who was serious about her legal career and gave 100% to it. I often worked late or on weekends to catch up on my hours or to finish a brief, and I was quite the social butterfly. I thought I was busy then. I felt busy. Then the addition of two tiny human beings for whom I am now responsible changed my definition of "busy."
Life never slows down for any of us. In fact, I challenge you to find a human being who doesn't tell you that she is busy. Crazy busy. Super busy. The one thing I can promise you is that life never slows down. If you are waiting for the perfect time to do something, it will never come.
You must enjoy life and do the things you desire to do now. You must find a way to find joy and fulfillment despite the challenges you perceive. Even when you are busy. Even when it might not make sense to your friends and family members. Even when it might be a bit of a stretch financially. Even when you keep finding excuses. The excuses are endless, but your days on this planet are not, my friend!
I want to share with you a huge decision I recently made and why I made it. I decided to say "yes" to international travel and to take action to make it happen. I'm going to be vulnerable with you and share some really personal information that is scary to share. The kind of information that the "shiny, happy bloggers" wouldn't dare share with you, lest the perfect life image they've created be tarnished. I'm sharing this because I hope it will inspire you to step up and make some big decisions and take action in your own life.
Why I Put Travel on the Backburner of Life
I have always wanted to travel. I think of myself as an adventurer even though I'm not a well-traveled person. When I was a child, I traveled with my parents to Germany to visit my Aunt, whose military husband was stationed there. My parents always took us on a family vacation each year, but we kept to the United States and cruise ship destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. As an adult, I've been to many major cities in the United States, but I have always had a deep longing to see the world. I mean all of it. Well, maybe not the super cold parts, but you get my point!
This year, I started to feel a little down about my lack of travel because it didn't match up with my intentions and what I wanted my life to include. I became really sad that, as a 39 year old attorney, I had barely traveled at all! I thought about some of the reasons for this.
Attorneys work a lot. Over the years, I worked a lot. That's a huge topic for another day, but attorneys don't vacation often. Why? Billable hours. For me, I didn't want to have to make up lost time. You're generally expected to bill your hours whether you take vacation days or not. When you are not in your office working, you are not billing time. When I worked full time, the idea of going on a real vacation only left me thinking about all of the weekend days I would have to work to make up the time. Now that I work part-time as an attorney and have flexible hours, my anxiety about missing work has dramatically reduced.
I have young children. When they were very tiny, I didn't want to leave my kids for very long, especially not long enough for international travel. Plus, when the kids got sick and couldn't go to school, guess who stayed home and took care of them? Me. And that was more time that I missed from my job. More billable hours missed, which meant less time available for travel. Now that my kids are a little older, I worry less about being gone because I know they are fine and are in good hands.
Travel isn't a priority for my husband. This one hurts. My hubby doesn't enjoy or crave travel like I do. He's more of a homebody. Because my spouse doesn't share my priorities with respect to how free time is spent and travel is planned and budgeted for, it is a challenge in our marriage. Every time I want to go on a trip, I feel like I have to "convince" my husband to come with me or to agree to the expense. Trying to convince someone to do something is exhausting, and I don't like to be a "nagging wife." Luckily, I have had a ton of girls trips to satisfy my travel cravings over the years. Still, I would be lying if I told you this didn't bother me. I see other couples enjoying travel together and I wish my husband and I could do the same. It hurts. I wish that my husband shared my passion for travel, but the truth is he doesn't. If I want to see the world, it is going to be up to me to make it happen.
Travel is expensive. Unless you're really good at planning in advance and finding deals, (which I am not), travel is a significant expense. I think I've always been afraid to spend real money on travel.
Decision Time--- Stating My Intention Out Loud
I decided that something had to change or I was going to become bitter. I was tired of talking about wanting to travel but then never traveling. I was tired of living out of alignment with my truth. You see, this travel thing isn't just on the surface. I want to do it, down to the core of my very being. I CRAVE IT. It is a part of who I am.
Stating your intentions out loud makes it more likely that you will follow through with something. It is much more powerful to say "I intend" than "I hope."
I called a meeting with my husband to tell him my intentions. I explained to him that travel was important to me and I described how I was feeling with respect to my lack of travel in light of my upcoming 40th Birthday. I lovingly explained to him that I understood that he did not share my love for and desire to see the world, but that I was going to travel with or without him. I explained that I wanted him to be with me, that I wished he would come with me, but that if he didn't want to, that I would find a girlfriend who would.
I committed to funding my travel with money I had saved prior to our marriage and with money I earn through my side business, so that the financial aspect of travel wouldn't interfere with our family finances. It was a hard discussion for me, but it had to be done. I am my own person after all and I am the only person responsible for my happiness.
Action Time--- Booking the Trip
It is easy to talk about doing something, but it can be so hard to take action. But, action is necessary for any plan to move forward. Words are blown away with the wind. I teach this in my business all day, every day, but it is still something I struggle with in my personal life.
Even after I stated my intentions, it took me a while to take action and book a trip. I researched. I found a friend who was willing to travel with me. I got busy and the planning got sidetracked. But, because I had stated my intentions out loud and with purpose and authority, I kept moving forward. I was not going to let my plan die on the vine.
I'm going PERU next month with my longtime friend and fellow attorney, Angela Hoover. We fly into Lima, then head to the Sacred Valley and Cusco, and on to hike Machu Picchu, the most important archeological site in Peru and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I will be sharing more about our trip in the days to come so stay tuned!
What are you Not Doing and When Will You Do It?
So, what are you putting off that you want to do? Do you have a dream or desire that isn't being fulfilled? Do you keep finding excuses instead of taking action? My advice? Tell a trusted friend about what you want to do, say it with authority and sincerity, and start taking baby steps toward making it happen! Not tomorrow.....TODAY!
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