Can you be OK with yourself but still strive for improvement? I don’t think there’s much of a contradiction in that: to think that you’re good enough right now but want to be even better tomorrow. But the most important thing to remember is to compare yourself only to yourself and work towards an improved version of you.
For the past few years I’ve challenged myself to do something that both excited but also terrified me to keep learning and growing.
In 2014, I summitted Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The experience was amazing ~ if you would like to see more about this, I’ve written multiple posts (Under Menu ~ Go to Places – Africa – Tanzania). The biggest lessons that I learned were: learning to accept help from others, learning to let go of control, and listening to myself/my body.
The next year, 2015, was the most tumultuous year of my life. I made my most incredibly difficult choice (for more on that, here’s my post about that decision). Afterwards, I decided to embark on my first ever solo trip ~ a months long, multi-country South American adventure. What I learned was that being brave wasn’t about being fearless but taking action in spite of my fears. I learned to really trust myself completely/listen to my instincts and that helped me be completely open to the world and the universe. And the best thing that I discovered was that travel was so much more than the journey and the destinations and that all the connections/people were what made it amazing for me.
In 2016, I continued on with my solo adventures ~ this time through Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. For me, a really big milestone was getting certified in diving as I’m not completely comfortable in the ocean. I traveled to some incredible places including some locales that a lot of people would consider dangerous but I learned that I didn’t want my life to be about things I wished I had done but instead about being proud of taking chances and living life to the fullest. I don’t want to underplay the fact that there are people that want to do harm out in the world but they are vastly outnumbered by those that want to do good ~ this is something that I’ve seen in my travels and in my life back home (and working in banking/hospitality definitely gave me some major experience with the good/bad in people). And then I did something truly terrifying/exciting when I decided to come back home and start my life anew. I wanted to see if I was really okay with my choices from the previous year ~ how would being single/unemployed/changed feel like back home and also to see if I was really happy/content. What I learned was that it’s never too late to rewrite your story ~ that we are self-fulfilling prophecies in many ways ~ and yes, I was/am happy/content/postitive.
This year as a birthday present to myself I decided I would take a solo road trip. Okay something to note, I’m a terrible road trip companion as I get extremely sleepy in the car even as a driver. So to say this was a huge undertaking for me is a bit of an understatement but I knew that this would be another important milestone for me. I have learned to enjoy the journey as much as the destinations (both with flying and driving)…going through incredibly beautiful landscapes also helps. I’m planning an in depth post about this trip soon but some cool stats until then: 2 states + 4 national parks (and 2 other cool sites) visited, 5 nights, 6 days, 62.5 miles hiked, and 2.135 miles driven! It was proven again that I am so lucky in many ways: case in point I only slept a couple hours on the drive to see the sun rise at the Grand Canyon (11 hours driven ~ almost 700 miles after work) and avoided 3 accidents with wildlife (all on the way in) including a very scary/weird encounter with bison! Luckily I really don’t need much sleep and still function really well. But the adrenaline that was pumping through my body afterwards definitely kept me up! And so I’m still wrestling with the notions of making your own luck vs being lucky…maybe it’s like all the other things in life ~ no true dichotomy ~ both things can be true. But I am also ever so grateful for it all…
All these things/events/decisions over the years have challenged me ~ made me re-examine assumptions, beliefs, fears and helped shaped who I am today. I’ve learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable ~ and with change. And to be okay with the idea that I and life are imperfect but can be improved…really one of the things that I still struggle with more than you would know. I have always been a complete perfectionist and can be extremely critical. So I’ve started posting on my Instagram story more pictures of me personally because I’ve been trying to be better about really accepting myself. That it’s not about the before or after but that the process and the progress pic of who I am at this time is okay. So the cover photo of me is a big deal because it’s a pretty accurate picture of who I am. Yes I am healthy and do work out (though I wish I was more consistent) but I’m aware that I’m also pretty blessed with decent genes because I also love to eat and will never say no to ice cream…or dessert in general or pizza or okay most foods…yes I could be skinnier and/or have more defined abs but I’ve chosen a balanced life that works for me. So I’m really okay with me right now (and trying not to obsess over my flaws and especially trying not to compare myself to others) ~ but believe that each day is another step to becoming the best I can be. Always striving by my motto: be brave, be strong, be confident to live and love the life that I am meant to ~ with no regrets. So here’s to another trip around the sun living a most beautiful life in this incredibly beautiful world 🍾🥂 with love and light always, Rosemary