Life has a way of revealing tough realities whether or not we feel ready to face them. In this case, my brain feels something like a car screeching to a halt after driving down the highway at 100 miles per hour. It rounded a corner and suddenly came upon a stop sign, forced to take a break after ages of moving too fast.
Many of you know I had plans to see the world and check off as many bucket list items as I could this summer. Long story short, I’m sitting here in Nashville with a cup of coffee, a lot of ‘what ifs,’ and a newfound sense of freedom that comes from realizing my worth outside my own idealistic notion of achievement.
This is not something I couldn’t have seen coming. In honesty, my mind and body have been begging me to slow down for months now. As exciting and eye-opening as full-time travel can be, it can also be very hard on a person’s spirit without grounding practices to keep it in check. I completely lacked foundation this year, and it was bound to catch up to me at some point as I continued to run full speed ahead without ceasing.
Here we are, and here’s the truth I should have realized long ago: I had to stop. I have spent too much time constructing lofty plans under the guise of ‘living fully,’ of creating the impression that I am courageous and unbeatable and excellent at all things. The need to be constantly ‘doing’ is so deeply rooted in my psyche that I have trouble separating my idealistic persona from my reality. For someone who preaches the value of self-care and personal wellness, I am awful at putting this into practice in my own life. In this case, the only way to see the truth I’d been ignoring was to have it appear like a giant stop sign in front of my path.
Reality check: I am not superwoman and I am not a glossy social media profile. I am a person. A real, imperfect, complicated person. A person not nearly as strong or invincible as she would like to be perceived.
I am fearless, ambitious and bold, but I also have limits. And maybe the bravest thing I can do in this moment is muster the courage to say no. To face my fear of not ‘showing up’ and admit that I need a minute to breathe. For someone who has long taken selfish pride in her tendency to live life at a sprinter’s pace, this is a humbling reminder of my own inadequacy. It feels like a giant white surrender flag saying, “You cannot do it all, and believe it or not, this is okay.” Life was determined to teach a lesson despite my stubborn insistence not to listen.
In a way, this feels like my ‘Force Quit,’ the only action left to take when you’ve opened one too many programs and slowed down the system. Nothing works anymore and you’re stuck hitting Ctrl+Alt+Delete, at the risk of erasing unfinished tasks and losing part of your work. But the result is a brand new, blank screen with endless possibilities. It is ready to take on new projects because it has the space to function well. Regardless of how much clutter existed previously, as of today, the slate is clean.
I know that initiative is valuable, but so is focus. And routine. And stillness. And to be honest, I think my frenetic energy has kept me from concentrating on the things that really matter. So here I am, facing my weakness and taking back agency in my life. Maybe if I stop trying to do everything, I can go out and do a few things really, really well.
You are so much greater than the sum of your accomplishments. Believe this. I don’t know if I’m quite there, but I’m trying. And maybe, just maybe, this ‘Force Quit’ is my restart.