Of Course I’m Excited, But…
It’s hard to believe the day is nearly here! We’ve spent months preparing…researching visas, flights, accommodations, submitting forms, and making sure we’re prepared to leave home and travel the world for the better part of a year. As we get closer to the date, I get asked more and more whether I’m excited. To be honest, I never quite know how to respond. Yes, excitement is in there (amongst the barrage of other feelings taking place) but to just say, “yes, I am excited”, feels hollow because my experience leading up to this massive life event has been so complex.
If you know me at all, you should not be surprised to know that I am a planner. I plan my vacations in detail, I plan my life in detail. Seriously, my day planner is not just packed to the max, it’s effing colour coded. I have one highlighter for appointments, one for due dates; shit, I even colour code my to do list so I know what needs to be done today and what is just there as a reminder to get it done soon! I plan in this way because it makes life feel less chaotic; I plan in this way because it helps me to settle the anxiety that I struggle so much with by making me feel like I am in control. But this level of planning also often leads to me feel like I am “going through the motions” in life. When my schedule is full, I always know where I have to be and what I have to do next, but I don’t give myself the opportunity to slow down and check-in with what would fuel my soul in that moment.
Flying overseas with a one-way ticket and having only the first few weeks of our trip fully figured out is in total opposition to my tendency to plan my whole life and it is scary as hell!! Thinking of what may go wrong makes me long for that feeling of control and as our departure date draws nearer I get progressively more worried that I have overlooked something major. My imagination keeps coming up with the wort-case scenario of what could go wrong and uses it as fuel for my anxiety. In these moments, I am endlessly grateful for my yoga practice.
Through the months and weeks leading up to this trip, I have repeatedly called upon a phrase I’ve heard from a teacher of mine, “fear is excitement without breath” (quote originally from Robert Heller). When I give myself the time and space to take a moment of silence and stillness, when I close my eyes and breathe while feeling into my heart, YES, I am overwhelmingly excited!! If I can focus on the amazing experiences Mark and I are going to have this year, my anxiety and worries slowly fall away and I cannot wait to learn, grow and experience life to its fullest with the love of my life!
Despite all the fear, anxiety, and stress I’ve worked my way through in the months leading up to this trip, the truth is that more than anything I feel a pervasive sense of peace. In my heart, I know this experience is exactly the one that I should be having at this point in my life. When I think of everything in my life that’s led me here (all the challenges, the ambition, the joy, the heartbreak, the doubt, the uncertainty, the disappointment), I cannot imagine doing anything else with the next year of my life. I know this year is going to bring experiences that will challenge me physically, emotionally, and spiritually; experiences that will challenge my beliefs of myself, others, and the world; experiences that will challenge our relationship. I also know that I am ready and open to growing and learning from the challenges to come. Letting go of my old familiar crutch of planning my life is only the first challenge of many this year. I am so grateful that I’ve found the courage in my heart to lean into the discomfort, to breathe through my anxiety, and to disavow my previously held beliefs about who I am and what my life should look like.
Of course I’m excited, but my feelings run so much deeper than that!