We are now officially 6 months away from our tentative departure date of December 26, 2010. Its been a whirlwind past few months really committing ourselves to making the jump to this extended travel experience.
Its amazing how much can change in a matter of a few months, both in personal development and the development of travel plans.
After many years of hard work at our current job, Shaun finally got promoted to a management position. This was Shaun’s fifth attempt at this position in particular, and even though the timing of this promotion is quite ironic, we are grateful nonetheless.
We had been looking forward to this day for quite a while and when it had finally arrived, I started freaking out a little bit. Our most recent plan was to have me quit my current job to focus on my two passions: Photography and Over Yonderlust. Shaun would essentially be getting as much overtime as he wants along with juicy bonuses/profit sharing checks that come with being in a management position. I would be picking up small photography projects here and there, possibly pedicabbing to both get fit and supplement our income, and ultimately, focus on Over Yonderlust and our travel blog goals. While this is quite a jump, I thought I was ready to take it.
Why does it feel like I am taking a giant step back?
It was when I had a small panic attack that I had to take a step back to reevaluate a few things. My entire life I had been told that success should be my existence. I should succeed in school (I would get grounded if I didn’t get As), I should succeed in college (worked 40 hours and still had a 3.4 GPA), and I should succeed in my career. The latter one is where I had a few problems. I had, essentially, gotten every job, every school, every class… well, everything, I had ever wanted in my entire life by working my ass off. Naturally, I thought this is how the world works. In America, if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want, right? WRONG.
What I didn’t take into consideration was office politics. Sure, while you can be the overachiever (like I am), have perfect attendance, always do more than metrics designate, take on projects, train people, coach people, write curriculum, etc., in the end, it ultimately does not matter unless you have a person in upper management ready to pull strings for you.
This drove me insane.
As I saw terribly underqualified people being promoted, I was devastated that I was left in my position. So when Shaun made his promotion, I felt guilty. I am so proud of him. But why do I feel like a failure?
This is when I realized that work had become my life. This is not a philoshophy I had wanted to carry around with me. I know that I have bigger and better things that I should and need to do. Photography, the blog, referreeing Texas Rollerderby – these are all things that truly make me happy.
A while ago, I had written a post about A Case of the Doubts” in which I went over a few things that I needed to work on and learn before and during our travels.
I’ve decided to add one more.
5.) Letting Go
I need to work on myself and adapt to change. I need to remember that I am not my job, that I want to be an artist and a travel photographer. Most of all, I need to remember my goals and go for them. I never intended on staying at my job forever – how did I become so attached?
While “Letting Go” is technically number 5 on my list, I’m putting it at the forefront of things I need to do and work on. It is also here where I define what success is. There shouldn’t be preconceived notions on what a successful life is. Looking at my life currently, I have an amazing marriage, a “successful” blog, and a hopeful photography career. I really have nothing to complain about, and in my own terms, I would consider myself successful in life. I may not own a house, a new car, or fancy things, but I have freedom to travel and get the best education there is – experience.
While we are working on changing our lives and allow the world in and its experiences, I need to let go of my old life. This includes old habits, old thoughts, my old cynical, pessimistic self. While I am looking forward to our upcoming trip, I will be more excited about embracing a new lease on life. This is the backbone of our trip. We are putting ourselves in unfamiliar territory to grow. I feel like a sapling. When I come back, I want to be a full, wise, strong tree.