Last year, a close friend said YES to a life adventure after two emotionally tough years. The grief from the loss of her longtime partner, combined with the collective world pandemic, had left her emotionally exhausted. She traveled to the East Coast to visit friends, and while there, one of her friends had just taken an assignment in LA. Right then, she offered to sublet her NYC apartment for a year. When my friend called me to discuss this decision, there was excitement and energy in her voice again.
She said YES! Then the work began. Preparations to move from her countryside home in Northern California to a small high-rise apartment in Upper Manhattan was daunting. She worked feverishly to get things cleared out, leased her home, and packed 4 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and a dog. I offered to fly back and help her in this new beginning. We’ve shared many beginnings and endings in our 30-plus years of friendship, and I didn’t want to this miss this beginning.
Here’s what I learned from her adventure and how it applies to our own jump starts in life.
- When a positive, life affirming, opportunity shows up, we need to say yes, and then figure out how to make it happen.
Once she felt this opportunity was right for her, she stepped out of her comfort zone. We all know that feeling of fear and uncertainty when faced with something new. Many of us stop there. She set to work to make a plan, her lists of all she had to do. This included getting her own home ready to lease, find a property manager, flights, and what to pack for a year. This lists were long, but step by step, one thing at a time, it all got done.
What do you need to do to make a big adventure happen? Make a list, however long you need to. This is the starting point. I’ve learned once things are down on paper, they feel less overwhelming than when they’re in my mind at 4 am!
- A big YES requires clearing out and letting go of old stuff, routines, and the familiar.
Routines offer rhythm and structure in our lives. They eliminate many everyday decisions. Routines can also limit us and how we show up to the world around us. Don’t let them. In new situations and places, you will find new ways to do things in different, and often better ways.
Our stuff—-we love it, discuss ways to declutter it, move it, dust it, and mostly wonder why we keep it? I’ve lived in my house for over 30 years. I do clear things out occasionally, but I have a closet I don’t think I’ve taken things down from the top shelf in at least 20 years. Clearly I don’t need it. I don’t even know what’s up there! When we’re posed with a new adventure—a year living somewhere or a move, we are forced to deal with it quickly. Or we can decide we don’t need as much and get rid of stuff now, so we’re ready when that next big adventure may arise.
Recognize that discomfort is just part of the process. Especially in the beginning. As the unfamiliar becomes more familiar, it gets easier. Every day, I could hear in my friend’s voice more confidence as she figured out things unique to city-living.
Discomfort and boredom can be a perfect nudge to get out to new places, learn new things and meet new people.
- Time, self-care practices and rest are all essential.
New adventures, whether vacations or major life changes may be stimulating, but they can be tiring as we make more decisions. So be sure to take time off, rest, and give yourself space in the day. My mom would call those days in between busy days, whether at home or when traveling, her “do nothing day”, when she relaxed, read, and took care of herself.
We all define self-care differently, but find a few things that replenish your spirit and nurture your body. Quiet walk, rest, massage, or an afternoon with a classic movie.
- Build fun between the “hard work” of the new journey or major life change.
In NYC, in between unpacking, sorting out some of the day to day necessities, we went to a Broadway play, walked through Central Park, and enjoyed several new restaurants.
- Ask for help.
Sure, you can do most of life by yourself. It’s essential to know when to ask for help. That is not a sign of weakness. It is knowing our limits. When I was asked to help, I was thrilled. We had a great time sharing the experience. Most of us are more than willing to help when we can. It lightens the load, adds laughter and creates memories.
Adventure is less about travel or change and more about how we choose to view what’s happening and how we respond. Hopefully, you’ll say yes when adventures come your way!