Travelling to London may not be a huge deal to most people, 15 years ago it was something I managed nearly every day. I’m not sure if my anxiety disorder has caused this fear or if it’s the aftermath of the pandemic and the returning to the outside world which has had an impact but it’s an experience that I wanted to share with you today.
In February this year I started a coaching course to obtain my ICF Accreditation, as part of this, the training provider kindly announced a summer party for us, to be held in London.
My reaction at first was that I’d not be able to attend, after all, I now live in Durham and it’s a 3-hour train ride for me to reach our capital city, but the more I thought about it the more I knew I wanted to attend. The opportunities to finally meet other coaches with who I’ve built a rapport over the last few months, to network and get to see people face to face, was a huge pull for me but the journey, the journey I dreaded!
I think back to the carefree person who I’d been in my early 20s, the girl who gave up her secure and well-paid job to travel the world working as a Scuba Diving Instructor. Where has that free-spirited side of me been hidden away?
So I booked the trip, could we afford for my husband to take the time off work? Probably not. Would I go to pieces on the train on the way down there? Several times! But would I thank myself for doing it? Yes!!
That’s how I found myself sat on this train listening to a genre of music that I’d left with the past version of myself, feeling liberated and fearless and very very excited for the days ahead. Simply boarding this train has woken my gipsy heart.
I’m very aware that next year I hit the big 4-0, a number that instead of dreading I’m embracing and have made a promise to myself that this next decade of my life is going to be MY decade, one where I put my needs and wants before anyone else and the decade where my dreams and aspirations become a priority.
We have this way of losing ourselves when we marry and have children, we become the version of ourselves that we feel that everyone else needs us to be. We lose our identity to become mum or wife or whatever other roles we slip into “settling” is what they call it and it intrigues me where that term came from. Do we “settle” when we make a life choice? Do we become settled into life and routine and then learn to fear change? or are we programmed to fit boxes that society has shaped for us?
One observation that I’ve made both in life and through my work is that many people, men and women alike seem to go through a period of feeling that “the grass may be greener on the other side” as they approach the milestone of being 40. They start to question their happiness and wonder if there is more that can be done to enrich their lives and bring more joy. I know I have, several times, and the way that I am freeing myself of this rut is to make conscious choices of my daily actions, asking myself “does this bring me joy?” before I agree to anything, before I go anywhere and even before I eat anything. Bringing joy into every day is an empowering way to feel overwhelming gratitude for this life that we have chosen for ourselves!